We now continue with our examination of Heb 6:4-6 to determine to whom it applies. In our last post we took a look at the opening part of Verse 4, viz.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten…”
Upon investigation we established two facts, one that only those who have been justified by faith, constituted righteous and holy in the sight of God could receive true enlightenment, (knowledge of the truth), and two it appears most certain from a further examination of the scriptures that these individuals were mature Christians, i.e. those of “full age”, (not necessarily in physical age but rather in spiritual age), thus they were not mere babes in Christ, but those who had grown to a certain degree in the graces and knowledge of our Lord Jesus and had received full enlightenment, i.e. an accurate and correct understanding of the Word of God, not only knowledge of the “first principles of doctrine”, the milk of the word, but also having partaken of the meat of the word, a knowledge of the “deep things of God”, solid food.
Let us now continue with our texts.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten and who have tasted the heavenly gift and who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit…”
What is this “heavenly gift” and who has tasted of it, and who are they who have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit?
The “heavenly gift” is the gift of life, a gift of which none shall see unless first they accept (believe) in the sacrifice and subsequent justification, which comes only through the precious blood of Christ. (John 3:36; Acts13:39) But to have truly “tasted” of this gift implies more than merely having a superficial belief, a knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice, etc., no it implies much more than this, it implies that one has experienced through faith the blessed results of that sacrifice, the realization that one’s sins have been forgiven, and that communion and fellowship with God has been restored, the atonement, or as we like to say, the at-one-ment.
The conditions mentioned in our texts above quoted are all more or less intertwined. That is to say, the one who has been made a partaker of the heavenly gift of justification is sanctified (set apart), begotten of the Holy Spirit; for only in that way can he receive God’s evidence respecting his justification.
No one will ever be justified by merely believing that Jesus lived or that Jesus died either in this age or the age to come. At present during the Gospel age the only way in which one can come to the point of true justification (a full reckoned justification) is to have the merit of Christ imputed to himself, how is this accomplished? At present there is but one way in which this may be accomplished, and that is to enter upon the “narrow way” or the way of sacrifice. In the next age conditions will be different, a different way will be opened, instead of the narrow way a highway will be opened,
“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but is shall be for [the redeemed]: the wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err [therein]. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up thereon; they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk [there]: and the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa 35: 8-10)
However at present during this Gospel age anyone having done all in his power–having turned from sin, having believed in Jesus as the Redeemer, and having presented his body a living sacrifice, i.e. taking up his cross and following in the footsteps of Jesus (Matt 16:24; Rom 12:1)–will receive the imputation of Jesus’ merit in order to make up his shortcomings, to cover his blemishes, in order that the Heavenly Father may be able to accept the sacrifice: for no imperfect thing can be placed upon the altar of the Lord. It requires the merit of Christ to make good what is lacking in the one who presents himself in sacrifice; and only those who thus believe and present their bodies in sacrifice are the recipients of Christ’s merit by imputation; and only such are begotten of the Holy Spirit. God’s arrangement is that no one can be justified unless he has first made a full consecration of himself (a full surrender of ones will, i.e. denying one’s self), this after having first professed faith and turned from sin.
Christ would not impute His merit to any except such as make this full consecration; and the Father would not accept by begetting with the Holy Spirit any others than those who have done so.
Thus it should be apparent that those who have tasted of the heavenly gift, the gift of justification and life, and who have subsequently received the evidence of this justification through the begetting of the Holy Spirit could only be those true followers who have been joined to the body, the body of Christ, the true Church, having no will (mind) of their own, but rather that of their Lord’s (1 Cor 2:16; Phil 2:5).
Thus far we have established that those once enlighten, are definitely those who had been previously made righteous, cleansed by the blood, thus (at one time) true followers of the Lord, for the scriptures clearly state, “truth (light, enlightenment) is sown for the righteous” (Psa 97:11), and none could be made righteous who had not been first justified from all things. We also determined that these would of necessity have been mature Christians, i.e. those of “full age” (Heb 5:14), as the implication of the texts tends to imply full enlightenment, growth in the graces and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Note: full enlightenment does not imply all knowledge; we are not to erroneously assume that those who have received full enlightenment understand everything. Presently we see only “in part”, and only that which is presently due to be understood. Now although I believe all knowledge presently due with respects to the Divine Plan has been given to the Church I don’t believe any one member possesses all this knowledge. Complete knowledge, complete understanding has never been given to any one brother, but rather it has pleased the Lord to spread it amongst the brethren (that is amongst those who apply themselves to the study of it) so that in turn we might all develop a dependence a reliance upon one another, that “the whole body might be joined and knitted together by that which every joint supplies, according to the effective working (of the holy spirit, the spirit of truth), by which every member contributes its share…” Eph 4:16.
Continuing on in our study we likewise had determined that these same enlightened ones had tasted the heavenly gift (the gift of life) that they had experienced a personal communion and fellowship with God, with the full acknowledgement that their sins had been forgiven, this based upon the imputed righteousness of Christ’ sacrifice, and that they had been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, as an evidence not only of their justification, but also that they had passed over the first death (Adamic death), and had been begotten again to a new nature.
Let us now continue with our texts, beginning at Verse 5,
“And who have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come…”
What is the “good” word of God, and what does this imply?
What does it mean to have tasted of the powers of the age to come?
What is “good”? The dictionary describes that which is good as being “that which is desired or approved of” But what does it imply to you? The average person might say that which is “good” implies the opposite of that which is “bad”, and naturally as all will agree there exist different levels of that which is good and that which is bad, i.e. good, better, best, and bad, worse, and worst.
Yes, this from man’s perspective, but does God recognizes these adjectives? That is, does He possess a gray scale? We think not, we believe that with God that which he has declared “good” implies that it is perfect, (pure and truthful), and likewise that which is bad is imperfect, (corrupted, false).
“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment (just): a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deut 32:4)
Thus we conclude that when it states that these had tasted (partaken or received of) the good word of God, that this implied that they had received THE TRUTH, unvarnished by man’s errors, the perfect word of God, just as He intends that all men shall eventually receive in the coming age, when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth even as the waters cover the sea, (Isa 11:9; Hab 2:14) for God has stated that he will have all men come to “an accurate knowledge” or “unto an exact knowledge” of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4, Rotherham Version)
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11), now it (should be) manifest to all that this knowledge has not yet come to all men yet, but God’s word insures that it will, “in due time”.
Continuing on with our texts, it states not only that these had tasted of the good word of God, but also that they had tasted of the powers of the age to come. What does it mean to have tasted of the powers of the age to come?
To have tasted of the powers of the age to come implies that one has received, in advance from the Lord, through the imparting of the Holy Spirit, the knowledge and the instruction, which shall eventually be made known or available to all in the next age. At present only those truly consecrated followers or disciples within the “School of Christ” are given the privilege of this divine knowledge and instruction, both the world and the church nominal at present are still left in darkness.
We will continued with our next post.