His Word Laboring in His People

by Frank Jones


“It is sobering to see Jeremiah struggling with resentment and anger at what the word of the Lord is doing to him; we see the same struggle with Ezekiel. … Resistance to the divine Word continues to be an experienced reality, even for those who have been transformed by it. The Word of God does not finish its work until ‘death is swallowed up in victory’, and so hearing the Word in the words will be a moral matter even for regenerate listeners. Knowledge and obedience can therefore never be separated, for there emerges ‘the beginning of true understanding when we reverently embrace what it pleases God there to witness of himself. But not only faith, perfect and in every way complete, but all right knowledge of God is born in obedience.’

To be a good reader of the Bible as the Word of God therefore means being determined oneself by the Word at every point. To be a ‘people of the book’ will not suffice; we are called to be people of the Word, determined in all our words and deeds by our Lord, Jesus Christ. And it is as the gathered people of God, drawn by his Word into a divine union of mutual self-giving, that we principally experience what it means to have his words written on our heart (sg.). Where Scripture is carefully read and obediently heard, where it is joyously sung, prayed, studied and proclaimed, there God makes himself present in the living and transforming person of his Word, and there he fashions a forgiven people into the words by which his Word will speak ... ." (Shead, Andrew. A Mouth Full of Fire: the Word of God in the words of Jeremiah, 290.)