soul and spirit and being able to discern what is in the heart of man. (Heb. 4:12, NW) No other word in existence can do that. None but the living Word of God has the power thus to discern and judge. Jesus spoke the word of his heavenly Father and said: “He that disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word which I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48, NW) The apostle Paul looked forward to the great “last day” of judgment in which we are now living, and, while giving immediate counsel to the congregation at Corinth, he also spoke prophetically, saying: “Hence do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring the secret things of darkness to light and make the counsels of the hearts manifest, and then each one will have his praise come to him from God.”—1 Cor. 4:5, NW.
20. Comment on the “dividing of the soul and spirit.”
20 In connection with this power of judgment of God’s Word, we recall that it “pierces even to the dividing of the soul and spirit.” (Heb. 4:12, NW) The soul and the spirit are not synonymous. The living creature is the soul, but his spirit is his motivating force. It moves him. A man may have a good spirit or a bad spirit. Sometimes we say: “I can’t be there in person, but I’ll be there in spirit,” and that is a proper expression, justified by the Scriptures. For instance, Paul stated to the Colossians: “For though I am absent in the flesh, all the same I am with you in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding your good order and the firmness of your faith toward Christ.” (Col. 2:5, NW) So searching and piercing is the Word of God in the lives of his people that it distinguishes and even enables each one to distinguish between that which he actually does, which can be seen by other persons as well, and the spirit in which he does it, that is, his motive, his moving force. Self-examination in the light of God’s Word enables us to determine whether we are doing what we do because of love for God.
21. Why and how must we serve Jehovah, and what enables us to do so?
21 So powerful is Jehovah’s Word that it enables us to serve God persistently, consistently and faithfully, enduring year after year, progressing in the truth, maintaining joy and happiness, and this regardless of what any other creature does or seems to do, whether he is in the organization of God’s people or outside the New World society. We must serve Jehovah God because of our personal relationship to him, and must live our own lives properly in harmony with God’s Word and let other people live their lives, bearing before God their own responsibility for their course of action. (Gal. 6:5, NW) We can fool other men. Men can fool us. If we refuse to permit God’s Word to penetrate us and search us out, discerning between our soul and spirit, we may accomplish self-deception, but we do not change God’s Word and its judgment, nor Jehovah himself nor Christ Jesus, his appointed Judge. Because it declares Jehovah’s judgments, which are sure, God’s Word has the power to burn and to break, as he states: “Is not my word like fire? saith Jehovah; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29, AS) We must never draw back from his glorious service.
Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than mine enemies; for they are ever with me. . . . I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might observe thy word.—Ps. 119:97-101, AS.
Power for Life and Service
“With the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.”—Rom. 10:10, NW.
1. Apply to the Bible Jesus’ formula for longevity.
“THE word of God is alive.” (Heb. 4:12, NW) Those who conform to it follow a way that destines them for life if it is continued in in faithfulness to the termination of their earthly Christian careers. Jesus stated this basic formula for longevity: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3, NW) Jesus spoke very forceful truths concerning the receiving of life through him, identifying himself as the bread from heaven, saying: “He that feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:58, NW) Not receiving these words into good and honest hearts, not getting the sense of them, “many of his disciples, when they heard this, said: ‘This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?’” Jesus did not back down, but stated something even more impressive, saying, “Does this stumble you? What, therefore, if you behold the Son of man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all. The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” (John 6:60-64, NW) Many of the disciples turned from him then, leaving him, and Jesus asked his twelve close associates if they wanted to go also. Simon Peter made the proper reply, showing that he had received Jesus’ words into a good and honest heart and that he had really gotten their sense: “Master, Whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.”—John 6:68, NW.
2. Cite operations of God’s word toward the bringing of life to its adherents.
2 As certainly as the word of God enabled Christians to be brought forth as God’s sons, just so certain is it that adherence thereto enables them to receive life as a gift through Christ Jesus from God, in whom they have abiding faith and whom they serve. “Because he willed it, he brought us forth by the word of truth, for us to be a certain firstfruits of his creatures.” (Jas. 1:18, NW) “We are not the kind that shrink back to destruction, but the kind that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.” (Heb. 10:39, NW) Did not Jehovah’s word preserve alive his servants through the Flood and Israel from Egypt, establishing prophetic shadows?—1 Pet. 3:20, 21; 1 Cor. 10:11, NW.
3. What living hope of life is in the living Word?
3 The present lives of all men are uncertain, and the present lives of Christians are subject to uncertainties too. As servants of God our daily existence is joyful, filled with happiness and with appreciation to Jehovah for his undeserved kindness. We must observe that the lasting life for all Christians is in the future and the lasting life for the majority is upon this earth after Armageddon. In the meantime we have hopes of being carried through Armageddon, and if that is not our lot, nevertheless, through our faithfulness and Jehovah’s loving power, we have hopes of participating