Tag Archives: the Christian life
Hebrews 6 is a challenging chapter. Several of my friends and I are reading through this chapter each day this week (our Bible study is described here) and then, on Sunday, we will write each other a brief email highlighting something we got out of the chapter before we move on to Hebrews 7.
I want us to focus this morning not on the possibility of one losing his or her salvation, but on the benefits of being in the family of God. Here are the verses I’m thinking about:
There is much here, but I want to list and briefly discuss each of the five benefits of salvation highlighted here by the author of Hebrews. The text speaks of
THOSE WHO HAVE —
1. ONCE BEEN ENLIGHTENED
2. TASTED THE HEAVENLY GIFT
3. SHARED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
4. TASTED THE GOODNESS OF THE WORD OF GOD
5. TASTED THE POWERS OF THE COMING AGE
Although I don’t believe the Bible teaches that a genuine believers can lose his salvation, these expressions sure sound like true salvation, don’t they? If this is not a description of a born-again person, it certainly seems to be true of one incredibly close to the family of God.
Let’s think about each of these descriptions for a few moments. This person has —
1. “once been enlightened”– Would you describe your coming to Christ with those words? You’ve been “enlightened”? God, by His grace, opened your eyes and you saw your sin and His holiness and you fled to the Lord Jesus for forgiveness? Light broke into your soul and you saw the truth!
2. “tasted the heavenly gift” — How fascinating that the writer uses the sense of taste to describe one’s salvation. What is the “gift” to which he refers? The gift of salvation? Forgiveness of sins? A place in God’s family? And notice please that this gift is “the heavenly gift.” We don’t earn it; it is not of this earth. It is direct from heaven to us through the Incarnate Son of God.
3. “shared in the Holy Spirit” — As some of you know, I’ve been working on a book on the Spirit of God and how we can and should develop a “relationship” with Him. What do we “share” in the Holy Spirit? We share our bond in the Lord Jesus. We share God’s purpose in reaching the world for Christ. We share in the gifts the Spirit gives to build up Christ’s Body, the Church. The unbeliever does not have the Holy Spirit, is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, cannot have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. And consequently has nothing to share.
4. “tasted the goodness of the Word of God” — This is the writer’s second reference to tasting. How fascinating! We “taste” the goodness of God’s Word. We are challenged in Psalm 34:8 to “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” If we are feasting on God’s Word, we are tasting of its goodness, its relevance, its incredible practicality in our lives.
5. “tasted the powers of the coming age” — This is the writer’s third reference to tasting. I really don’t know what is meant here, to be quite honest. Perhaps it is the idea that God’s power breaks into our present age through miracles and the conviction of the Holy Spirit in changing lives, through the powerful preaching of God’s Word, etc. Are such truths a foretaste of what heaven will be like? Your thoughts on this point?
Conclusion: Again, my purpose in this post is not to argue if a genuine child of God can get lost. I want us to concentrate on and thank God for the five benefits we have in presently knowing Christ. And why would anyone give those up?
Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.
Let us continue our study of several verses in chapter six:
God’s Co-Workers! (2 Cor. 6:1-2)
1. The Incredible Privilege (v. 1)
We are God’s co-workers! He doesn’t need us! But He has invited us in. And we get to work with Him!
2. The Critical Message (v. 1)
“We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” What does that mean to “receive God’s grace in vain“? God’s grace not only saves us, it teaches us how to live (see Titus 2:11-15 for a full explanation of God’s teaching grace). Our lives are not to be content with just being saved from His wrath. We are to press on to godliness and conformity to Christ!
3. The Crucial Present (v. 2)
“Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” This sure sounds like a gospel appeal, doesn’t it? Were there unsaved in Paul’s Corinthian audience? Of course. But perhaps he is referring to more than soul-salvation. He is challenging these believers to a life of response to the God who “heard” them and “helped” them.
Today’s Challenge: If you are in full-time professional ministry, take time to thank the Lord for your partnership — with HIM! If you are not in vocational Christian ministry, thank Him for the work you are enabled to do for the kingdom — by His grace and strength!
We continue picking out major themes in this great NT epistle of Galatians. I’m using these posts to guide my study as I prepare to teach the book to students at Word of Life Korea in June.
The law, though good, only serves to show us our sin and to bring death! But we then receive LIFE through the Son. We are crucified with Christ; our old life is over. We now have Christ living in us (v. 20).
But this is not a passive life. Paul says, “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God . . .” (v. 20). The idea that Christ lives His life (again) through me has led some believers to a kind of passive, Quaker-like existence. No! We are to actively add qualities to our faith (see 2 Pe. 1), to pursue godliness, to now live in the body (v. 20).
Trying to live one’s life by keeping the law means that one is setting aside the grace of God. If that is how righteousness could be gained, then Christ died for nothing (v. 21)! No one will be justified by keeping the law — not even the Apostle Peter!
This morning let’s take a couple of notes on chapter three.
Twice we are told to “set [our] minds” in chapter three (vv. 1-2). We are then commanded to execute, put to death, the sins which belong to our earthly nature (v. 5). We are to “rid” ourselves of such things as anger, rage, malice, etc. (vv. 8ff).
We are then told to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, etc., and to bear with and forgive one another (vv. 12-14).
We are to let Christ’s peace rule in our hearts, to be thankful, to admonish one another, and to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (vv. 15-17).
Specific instructions are given to wives, husbands, children, fathers, and slaves (vv. 18-25).
Wow! God’s Word is as specific as what I think, how I treat others, how I look at everything I do!
Anything here you need to work on?
Don’t you hate it when you find out about hidden fees, the small print, warranties that don’t cover exactly what you needed covered? Here’s a great commercial from Ally Bank:
It makes me wonder — Do we hide aspects of the Christian faith from those we are trying to win to Jesus?
Here are five questions that occur to me that might be areas that we HIDE from unbelievers:
We might not make it clear that trusting Jesus as Savior means giving up one’s efforts to save oneself.
We might hide the fact — or fail to model it ourselves — that we are now no longer our own authority. The Bible, the Word of God, is our final authority.
We might not emphasize enough that we are now SLAVES of Christ — and we are to live to do His bidding!
We might fail to explain that this fallen world is not our home. We look forward to the New Heavens and Earth.
We might cover over the fact that we are the aroma of Christ to those who believe, but the stench of death to those who don’t (2 Cor. 2:14-17)!
1 I lift up my eyes to you,
to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he shows us his mercy.
3 Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us,
for we have endured no end of contempt.
4 We have endured no end
of ridicule from the arrogant,
of contempt from the proud.
“If we were brought to trial for the crimes we committed against ourselves, few would escape the gallows.” (Paul Eldridge) The following short video shows this point:
Let’s try a brief experiment. If you are a long-time reader of this blog, would you consider posting a short comment today? What’s one way that you hurt yourself in your Christian life?