God is invisible, and we can only imagine him to be like someone we know. The Bible presents him like a loving father, a gentle shepherd, a careful gardener, a ruler, a judge, but a more contemporary image of God is that of a skilled surgeon. His scalpel is his word, “which is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The need to operate with precision arises when a diseased part of the body is to be removed while keeping the neighbouring healthy organs untouched. A two-edged sword can cut on either side, and it is easy to use it when there is limited space for such a manoeuvre. Soul and spirit are as closely intertwined as joints and marrow, but God can penetrate the narrow spaces between them. Moreover, unlike a neurosurgeon who can operate only on the cells and tissues of the brain, God can operate on the human mind as well and remove the unhealthy thoughts and intents within it.
A skilled surgeon is one who completes his surgery successfully. He does not leave it midway or give up on the patient. He ensures that the patient will recover and live a healthy life afterwards. So it is with God. He completes what he begins. Hear what he says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Revelation, the book about the end times, associates the two-edged sword with Jesus himself. (Revelation 1:16, 2:12) Jesus will judge humanity with his word. He will separate the sheep from the goats, the fruitful from the barren, the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad. (Matthew 3:10, 3:12, 25:32, 25:46) It will be done with surgical precision, there will be no error of judgement.