Terry Denis tells a story about a college professor, an atheist, who gave a lecture denying the existence of God. He cited book after book, scholar after scholar and a variety of “evidences” to prove there’s no God.
As the professor concluded, a man stood up eating an apple and asked: “This apple that I’m eating, tell me, is it sweet or is it sour?”
Incredulously the professor replied, “How should I know? I’ve not tasted that apple.”
To this, the man responded, “I know there is God. I have tasted Him.”
This week we’re reading the book of Hebrews written to a second generation of Jewish Christians who had “tasted the goodness of God’s Word,” to encourage them not to neglect the great salvation.
There’s much in today’s reading that’s blog-worthy. But consider these three simple, but important admonitions.
An Appeal to Spiritual Progress (Heb 6:1-3)
Following the author’s arguments concerning the superiority of Christ and the Christian religion he exhorts. “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection.”
God doesn’t want us to stagnate spiritually. He desires for us to grow. To improve. To move forward. The word “perfection” means maturity.
Just like a baby grows from infancy to adolescence to adulthood, so must those who’ve been “born again” by God’s Word grow spiritually. It’s said that Oliver Cromwell had a motto written inside his Bible in Latin when translated read, “He who ceases to be better ceases to be good.” Or as Max De Pree put it, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
A Warning of Possible Apostasy (Heb. 6:4-6)
However, those who had “tasted of the heavenly gift” needed to be careful not “to fall away.” Apostasy is possible, contrary to the teaching of many in the religious world today.
Those who were once “enlightened” and enjoyed divine association, are in grave danger when they return to “the weak and worthless elements of the world.” One can reach a state where it is “impossible..to renew them again to repentance.” Not impossible on God’s part. Because He’s always willing and ready to forgive. But impossible from a human standpoint.
When we reject Christ, we renounce all hope. When we repudiate the cross and shame the name of God’s son, we’ve reached a depth of sin that can only be compared to those who shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Pastors and preachers have witnessed those who began a gradual spiritual descent, who neglected their salvation finally fall headlong into the putridity of immoral practices. And ultimately become either infidels or outright atheists.
Be careful. Don’t lose your taste for God’s Word. Savor your spiritual communion with the Lord. Don’t whet your appetite for carnal cravings.
An Assurance of the Christian’s Hope (Heb. 6:9-20)
The Hebrew writer confidently believed better things about them. When you allow God to be on your side, find support from fellow Christians and sincerely engage yourself in Christian ministry, good things happen.
Building on the right foundation provides the basis for Christian growth. A focused faith, devoted diligence, and persistent patience are necessary elements for us to progress spiritually.
We’re living in turbulent times. But as the late Paul Harvey once observed, “In times like these it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.”
So, when the winds of opposition howl, the waves of doubt rise, and the storms of temptation surround you, trust your anchor. Stay calm. Remain confident. And keep your eyes focused on God’s unfailing promises.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman