You ever have someone share the word of God with you or read a scripture and feel a quickening in your heart like—Wow, that is for me, that is important, I want to write that on my bathroom mirror so that I see it every morning!
If you love the Lord and his word than no doubt you have had that happen. That would be, after all, what got you saved in the first place—you heard or read the word of God and the Father just seemed to be calling your name as the words cut straight to your heart and you surrendered to him and entrusted your soul and your heart to him.
But, sadly, there are those who when they hear the word of God, they too are moved—moved with anger and fear because they do not want to let go, they do not want to face truth, they refuse to give up complete control of their hearts and their lives.
They are cut to the heart by the word, but they refuse to let Jesus come into what is now a wound where the heart was opened up to expose the rot within, so they just keep bleeding until they finally bleed out and wake up one day in outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The indignant group that Stephen faces in Acts 7 is apparently practicing the gnashing part early.
Acts 7:54 reads: When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.
This phrase actually originates from the the term “cut to the quick”? The quick in old English, is the living essence of a person. That which animates. —to quicken—bring to life.
The Greek used here that is translated variously as full of rage or cut to the heart literally translates as “cut to the quick.” Quick meaning life. It was used in the older Bible translations as a way to differentiate between the living and the dead.
Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 1 Peter 4:5 KJV
And really, that is what it all comes down to—how and by whom we shall be judged in the end. Do we believe there will be a day of reckoning, when the quick and the dead must give an answer to their Creator? Or is this life all there is and no one has any right to judge us and we shall never answer for what we did with what our spirits testified to us was truth?
Stephen was making the point just before he was martyred that Jesus was that judge, and that only through faith in him would we survive that day of reckoning. Why people would reject him and the mercy he offers is a question that has many answers, but the bottom line is this—
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. John 3:18-20
This is the Apostles John’s perfect summation of why evil men hate the truth of Jesus Christ. Why they vehemently, irrationally, and violently, hate and must stop truth at all costs. Because their ways are evil, they are addicted to that evil, and the light exposes their deeds as evil.
And the only way those who are entrapped by the evil they embrace can have any peace of mind whatsoever is to deny that their ways are evil. They cannot continue in that denial if the truth of God’s word keeps shining the light of truth on them. So they must destroy it.
The truth cuts to the heart, cuts to the chase and cuts to the quick because it is indeed sharper than any two edged sword.
When the word cuts to the heart, what it finds in that heart determines the reaction. It is life to those who are being saved and death to those who are perishing. The perishing are cut to the quick without the resolve of repentance.
I found this definition of the phrase cut to the quick—
“To cut to the quick means to injure someone emotionally, to hurt someone with words or an action. To cut someone to the quick means to deeply distress them.”
Really, it is to touch someplace very deep. And that is power.
We wield the sword of power.
The Sword of Power
Cut to the heart, cut to the quick, cut to the chase—The word of God is sharper than a two edged sword. And it is ours if we choose to use it.
We have little concept of the power we really have. Wielded by our tongues. It can build or destroy, kill or heal. If we are speaking the words of God, the results are up to Him, but if we refuse to wield it, the blood of those who perish for the lack of truth is on our heads.
Stephen wielded that sword and he was welcomed into the arms of the king as a returning conquering prince. Keep your sword sharp and free of rust–you will never, ever regret it.
Kingdoms have risen and fallen based on the quality of the steel in their swords. Our sword was forged in heaven and tempered in the blood of Christ.
He who holds the sword rules. In folklore, from the Legend of King Arthur to the Lord of the rings, to countless other stories, the one who holds the sword of power rules over all and has the power to conquer those who refuse that rule. That power ultimately belongs to Jesus, but as fellow heirs with Christ, we wield the sword as well.
Keep speaking words of truth!