I recently completed teaching an online class on the Letter to the Hebrews. For a few weeks I am sharing thoughts that came from this study.
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance..."(Hebrews 6:4-6).
Within this passage is a most positive message that we often overlook because it includes some troubling and disturbing words that we wrestle with. While there is no doubt that the author means this as sober warning to readers who may have been in danger of leaving Jesus, he sets up his comments by reminding them of what we have because we have Jesus, and these are powerful thoughts that need our attention.
First, we have been enlightened. We have come out of our own dark ages. The light has dawned. We have been given sight so that we see things as they are. We no longer have to stumble and fumble in search of what is right.
Second, we have tasted the heavenly gift. In view of the other things that follow this one, it seems most likely he is referring to the grace of God that brings about our salvation. We have experienced God’s forgiveness. The burden of failure and guilt has been lifted. What a gift!
Third, we have shared in the Holy Spirit. God is not just with us, he is in us. Is this hard to believe? Nevertheless, it is true. The Spirit works in us and through us.
Fourth, we have tasted the goodness of the word of God. We have found it to be dependable and trustworthy. It revives the soul.
Finally, we have experienced the powers of the coming age. That age has broken into our age. The Kingdom has arrived. We have the seen the power of giving, serving, forgiving and loving. The baptized life is the crucified life, and the crucified life is the resurrected life!
We followers of Jesus are a blessed people. We continue to be transformed by claiming what we have.