“Those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age…” (Hebrews 6:4-5, HCSB).
I’ve lifted this phrase out of its context for a reason. The context of the verses is, of course, the apostasy of believers in Christ (actual or figurative, depending upon your theological perspective) .
While it is beyond the scope of this meditation to defend one side or the other in this long-standing theological debate over a doctrine of apostasy, in the process of pointing out the effects of unfaithfulness, the Hebrews writer provides a wonderful description of the way of life of the faithful follower of Christ.
In these two verses the Hebrews writer names several characteristics of a faithful follower of Christ. The faithful follower knows God’s will, has received God’s forgiveness and grace, has received the indwelling Holy Spirit, has been transformed by God’s Word, and has experienced the powers of the coming age working in his or her life.
I want to drill down to the last item on this list of characteristics of faithful followers of Christ, “tasted… the powers of the coming age,” for this meditation.
The Hebrews writer declares that living faithfully for Christ in the present requires you to be focused on the future. In other words, God has given us a way to live for the future through our lives in the present!
When God came to earth as the Man, Jesus Christ, the future age broke into this present age! It’s like a heavenly invasion occurred!
Jesus talked a lot about eternity when He walked the earth, but He talked about it as a present reality. Jesus called eternity and its link to the present reality the “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus taught that this Kingdom has come. The Kingdom of God has entered into this present age and is at work in this world to bring about its future consummation.
Although this world of human beings has not completely submitted to the rule and reign of God, one day in the future God’s Kingdom will reign supreme on this earth. While the rule and reign of God has entered into the present age largely unseen, it is nevertheless actively at work occupying the human race.
We “taste the powers of the coming age” by the working of the Holy Spirit in us, individually and collectively, to transform our present life into eternal life. When you start living by the powers of the coming age, you begin to realize that what you do today and everyday in this world, in this life, in this body, is preparing you for eternal life.
When heaven invades earth, the present becomes imprinted with the future–the sick are healed, the hungry are filled, the broken-hearted find fulfillment, the impoverished are enriched, the disenfranchised are empowered, and the dead live forever!
When God’s Kingdom breaks into this world, human hearts are transformed, sinners are made righteous!
When God’s Kingdom invades and pervades our lives, we become part of this heavenly invasion and we get a taste of heaven here on earth.
So, let the power of the age to come empower you in this present age to tell others that there has been a heavenly invasion of Planet Earth!
“Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you'” (Luke 10:9, NLT).
- Celestial Citizenship – Philippians 1:27 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)