enlightened

Posted: September 19th, 2011 | Filed under: God | 22 Comments »

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”?

Sight (Vines)

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.

In summary…

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?

enl


22 Comments »


22 Comments on “enlightened”

  1. 1 AprilDel said at 11:34 am on September 19th, 2011:

    this is only a test. 😉 I'll be back a bit later… I think I'll do a cartwheel across the living room floor after figuring out some technical glitches!

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 11:41 am on September 19th, 2011:

    It worked! 🙂

  3. 3 Michelle said at 12:40 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    The church and family in which I grew up taught this scripture to mean we can lose our salvation…we can fall away…that there is no longer an offering for those who have "turned their back" on the gospel. I tend to go to that explanation by default and then must rethink what I've learned. To be "enlightened"…to see…to have sight…does it mean to recognize or experience? That's usually my first question. However, either way the truth is still that those whom He has called cannot be separated from Him. So…it must not be about anything I do, or do not do, but about Him. If I choose to go back to "salvation by works" rather than "salvation by grace", then I have NOT accepted the gift Jesus gave through His death and resurrection.

    My recent post Her True Colors Shining Through

  4. 4 serenawoods said at 1:10 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    Michelle,

    I love your thoughts.

    I want to point out something interesting in what you learned at the church you grew up in. You said,

    "…that there is no longer an offering for those who have "turned their back" on the gospel."

    The words are correct, but the meaning taught is not. First, as you already said, 'those whom He has called cannot be separated from Him." So it is impossible by God's decree. However, still, to "turn your back on the Gospel" you have to know what the 'Gospel' is. It is grace, only through Jesus, for sinners. So, to turn your back on that is to believe that grace is not for sinners, that it must be earned. Grace is treated as a reward instead of a free gift. Not believing that is 'turning your back on the Gospel'. Believing it is salvation. The question is, can you suddenly not believe what you believe? That is the logic. 'Turning back' is 'shrinking away.'

    As for the 'recognize' or 'experience' I would say that it's whatever 'know' is. "I see it, therefore I know it."

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  5. 5 Michelle said at 6:37 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    "to "turn your back on the Gospel" you have to know what the 'Gospel' is. It is grace, only through Jesus, for sinners. So, to turn your back on that is to believe that grace is not for sinners, that it must be earned. Grace is treated as a reward instead of a free gift."

    Amen. Ours was a works-based theology, although no one would ever admit it. It took many years to get past that teaching, since we relied more upon tradition and experience, than the Word. It's good to dig deep and learn what the words actually mean.

    So glad you're doing this study. 🙂
    My recent post Her True Colors Shining Through

  6. 6 Michelle said at 12:40 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    And here's the rest…

    Do I have a hard time accepting grace? I used to, until it was all that was left. When I knew I had NOTHING…no good thing…in which to rely…my own "goodness" had been exposed as a lie…I had come to the end of myself, then I truly saw grace for what it was. I talked about it before, but had no idea how much I needed it for I thought I was doing a fairly good job being a "super-Christian." Thank the Lord He showed me how desperate I was (I am) for Him.

    My recent post Her True Colors Shining Through

  7. 7 Eileen said at 12:53 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    I like this sentence, "accepting the truth changes you." When I first became a believer, I had no idea the crucial role that the Spirit plays in a believers walk. We are given the Spirit of Truth. But, we have to consciously choose to tap into this power. And, like you said, it's decision to daily die to self and our sinful natures. I look at it this way. I gave my life to God one day…but we have to decide to turn over our will to Him every moment of every day.

  8. 8 serenawoods said at 1:15 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    Eileen, when I think of 'dying to self' I see it as a faith thing. I don't struggle with trying not to sin every day, but there are plenty of days where I struggle with feeling like damaged goods. I have to remind myself that Jesus died to give me another chance at life and I am living it. My lack of faith steals the life He died to provide and my common sense tells me that I have no right. However, I have to die to those thoughts. I have to die to them because I can't change them. Trying to change them is engaging in the attack of the 'accuser' as though I can explain my way out of my guilt. I cannot, so I trust that Jesus is who He says He is and that what He did was for me. I turn my back on the whole thing and trust that Jesus is enough to explain the likes of me.

    I really appreciate your thoughts. 🙂

  9. 9 Eileen said at 3:03 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    Thanks, Serena, I agree with your definition of dying to self. It 's surrendering to Him who we have placed our faith in. I don't struggle with trying not to sin every day either. I used struggle with the damaged good thing too. I think where my struggle would be nowadays and where I have to be on my guard is me wanting to take control back into my own hands. And, I completely agree, when we lack faith we miss out on the abundant life He offers us because of the work He already did. Sin has lost it's power. I think we often lack the faith to live like this is really true!

  10. 10 AprilDel said at 3:23 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    Eileen, I love that. Love especially "Sin has lost it's power. …we often lack the faith to live like this is really true.

  11. 11 Dawn R. Justice Phenix said at 4:42 pm on September 22nd, 2011:

    I really like this response, and relate to it. For so long circumstances seemed to be agreeing with the accusing thoughts I lived with constantly. Then one day I realized God's grace and recognized the voice of the accuser.

  12. 12 Heather said at 1:41 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    For me, the parallel of God as my Father, and me His child, reminds me I could never be too far gone. Once becoming a mother I know this to be fact. No matter what your child has done or not done, they will always be yours. Would God change His status after a "major sin" or a child walking away? NEVER! That would be conditional.

  13. 13 AprilDel said at 2:06 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    after reading Heb. 6:4-6 I camped out in Hebrews for a while and these following verses also struck me- (Hebrews 6:19) God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence …This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.

    I have to admit when I read verse 4 I think, "huh?" I haven't studied scripture in a long time. I did grow up to believe that my sin seperates me from God's love. Do I have a hard time accepting grace? yes. I. do. whew… can I also add one in there? " Do you have a hard time admitting that you have a hard time accepting grace?" yes. I. do that, too.

    mmm.. good food for thought. I'll be re-reading this and checking back. Thanks for this, Serena.

  14. 14 AprilDel said at 5:41 am on September 20th, 2011:

    you know, this study makes me want to… 1. study the bible and ask God my questions that I feel could get me funny stares (even though I know no question is a stupid question…). and 2. rethink what I've always been "taught, told, took for as truth" that may have been communicated wrong.

  15. 15 serenawoods said at 8:37 am on September 20th, 2011:

    Well, nobody can see you, so feel free to ask away. 🙂

  16. 16 AprilDel said at 9:45 am on September 20th, 2011:

    I hear all of the time variations of this- "Your sin seperates you from God" (I don't think I've ever heard that it "seperates you from God's love" which I've then taken to mean we need, as believers to be in constant confession to stay close to God. Sometimes, though I end up feeling choked out by a legalistic "trying" trying not to sin, or obsessing over what I need to confess in order to stay close to God.

  17. 17 Stephen_T said at 10:37 am on September 20th, 2011:

    As a first male voice here, please extend grace for any perceived gruffness. My directness is meant to encourage, but this morning in particular, I'm a less confident with the words that are coming to mind. But I will risk it. When you refer to your sin, I'm assuming you mean cancelled sin. (Praise God!).

    "Sin is not canceled by lawful living."
    –Martin Luther

    "Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want."
    –Martin Luther

  18. 18 serenawoods said at 10:50 am on September 20th, 2011:

    I always love your words. Thanks for bringing them here.

  19. 19 AprilDel said at 11:10 am on September 20th, 2011:

    gotcha! the song "Embracing Accusations" by Shane and Shane comes to mind. It says "The Father of lies… I hear him say "Cursed are the ones who can't abide".

  20. 20 AprilDel said at 11:12 am on September 20th, 2011:

    so from the statement "Your sin seperates you (even cancelled sin)" If I am "feeling" far from God it is because I am focusing on my sin, not Him.

  21. 21 @4gilbert said at 7:32 am on September 20th, 2011:

    "If you have been ‘enlightened’, what is it that made it all click for you?"

    It's been a long, frustrating process. Something didn't ring true about the legalism in which I was raised. I tried to be a "good girl," but I failed miserably. I've spent the last year learning about grace. Then, about a month ago, it finally all clicked. I read a book, Forbidden Grace by Andre van der Merwe, that made the lightbulb switch "on." After reading that book, I can finally read the Bible and understand it in context, not having to pull out verses to make them mean what I was always taught. I finally understand that God is good, God is for me, God loves me no matter what I do or don't do…and because of that, I love Him more than I ever have. I see myself as valuable to God, and I now see others as valuable to Him as well. It's been a life-changing lesson for me! Grace is truly transforming!

  22. 22 serenawoods said at 8:38 am on September 20th, 2011:

    I love that. 🙂


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