This is the first in a series of word studies that I am doing to try to reveal the best explanation of a specific scripture.
I have included a few of the cross-reference scriptures to help understand the word in Biblical context. The scriptures and interpretation are found by reading every scripture where the word is used and by following the cross-references from the original scripture.
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. - Hebrews 6:4-6
What is “enlightened”?
What are we supposed to be seeing?
No longer will there be anything accursed…-Revelation 22:3 (the curse was because of Adam’s sin Gen 3:17)
In the same way that Adam changed everything for the human race, Jesus changed everything for the human race. Jesus reversed what Adam started.
We know this is true, that we are living in a redeemed world, because:
…there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. -Zechariah 17:11
This plan was carried out when Jesus came:
In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ’The LORD is our righteousness.’ - Jeremiah 23:6
He is still ‘our righteousness’ so it is still ‘His days’.
We are supposed to be aware that Jesus changed everything for the human race. If He hadn’t, then we would still be waiting on our Savior. With this in mind, we no longer have to conduct ourselves as though we are one misstep away from ruining everything. He is ‘our righteousness’. What Jesus did steals the power from our failures and sets us free to be innocent by His grace.
Jesus reversed Adam’s sin. Sin no longer has the power.
It’s a hard road for those with weak faith. Even the strong in faith need to die to their ‘selves’ regularly to get this. Paul said that he died to himself daily. What that means is that we literally have to keep the finished work of Jesus active in our minds in order to counteract the way the rest of the world works. In everything else we do, we have to compete and earn our way. In the rest of the world, hardly anybody gets things handed to them. After enough time of trying to perfect your spiritual journey, it gets tiring to never feel like you’re good enough. You have to remember than you never will be. It might take huge stumble to get you to accept that. It did for me.
What you need is assurance that Jesus actually did what He set out to do. Scriptures prove it.
For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” - 1 Corinthians 15:27
Absolutely nothing is out of God’s control, jurisdiction, or purpose. Nothing upsets His plans, nothing has the power to knock Him off track. Sin is included in that. It no longer has power. It exists, but is always used for God’s purpose. God’s purpose is for you to know Him. Sin cannot separate you from His love. You can see it as the thing that kicks you out or the thing that reveals your need for Jesus. It’s your choice. You can accept it or reject it, but you can’t change the truth. Accepting the truth changes you.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. … And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. - John 1:12-13, 16-17
You are not a child of God because of your family, you are not a child of God because you want to be, and you are not a child of God because someone else wants you to be. You are a child of God because He chose you. He says you are, so you are. That is grace. ‘Grace upon grace.’ Jesus wiped out all of the proof that you are not good enough. Accepting that is your salvation.
The same is true in reverse:
You are not rejected by God because of your family, you are not rejected by God because you rejected Him, you are not rejected by God because someone else rejects you. You are not rejected by God because God chose you. The law wipes out proof that you are good enough. Rejecting that enslaves you.
When you can ‘see’, or when you have been ‘enlightened’, you know that you cannot ever be ‘good enough’. You have ‘the right’ to be a child of God because of the grace of Jesus. ‘Grace upon grace.’
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? …but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” – Hebrews 10:29, 38
Not believing earns a worse punishment than those in Moses day received for not obeying the Law. Their punishment was ‘death without mercy’. I have no idea what punishment would be ‘worse’. If you live your life as though what Jesus did were not enough, thereby going back to the Law, you ‘outrage the Spirit of grace’. It is your faith in the finished work of Jesus that sets you right. Your failures are not what displease God. Your inability to accept His gift is what displeases God.
Grace, when taught correctly, seems too good to be true. It sounds too easy. People will hear it, think it should be harder, and shrink away from the simplicity.
It’s not supposed to be hard. The only thing hard about it is letting go of your wealth of good intent and strength in personal ability. This is great news for those who are wrecked with their failures. It’s challenging to those who just want that little extra to top them off.
We’re supposed to be seeing that we live in a new existence that was created when Jesus came. We are not in the same existence that became a curse when Adam sinned. Everything is subject to God’s control and nothing is unusable for Him. His view of us is through the vision of His Son. Rejecting this is evidence that somewhere within you, you feel like you can do good enough to not need to rely on the gift of grace from Jesus. That outrages the spirit of grace. God would not have sent His Son if there were any way you could do it on your own. No act is greater worship than to relax your white knuckled grip and let Him take the weight off of your shoulders. Relief is what enlightenment feels like. Hope is what happens next. Worship is just natural.
Below are some suggestions for discussions:
- Do you have a hard time accepting grace?
- What difference would it make in your life if you were to believe that Jesus reversed Adam’s sin? (Would it make you see yourself differently? Would it make you see others differently?)
- What are the implications if this is all true?
- If you have been ‘enlightened’, what is it that made it all click for you?