“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted of the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him [Jesus] to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessings of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” (Hebrews 6:4-8)
This begins a six-part teaching series on the above verse. It is a fairly extensive verse, so I shall go into it in some detail. The purpose of the teaching series is to motivate you to good works, primarily based on the last two verses, which says that if we produce a crop useful (for the Lord, as it can be interpreted), then we will receive the blessing of God. However, if we don’t, then we will be cursed.
Individuals who claim that it means one thing or another have often confused the above passage of Scripture throughout the years. First, I am confident and fully convinced that the writer to the Hebrews is referring to Christians in this passage. This will be fairly extensive, but I would like to discuss five, I believe, convincing reasons why this passage must necessarily be dealing with born-again, Spirit-filled, Christians. And, I believe, once these five reasons have been discussed, they will form one giant “proof-positive” reason why the passage can only be referring to real, believing, Christians. Once we are convinced, I believe it will also help us greatly to understand what this passage is getting at. In other words, I believe it will motivate us (Christians) to good works! Let us examine them now.
Notice that at the beginning of this passage, the author refers to those who have “once been enlightened” (Hebrews 6:4a). Enlightenment is a seemingly strange or difficult word – one, which is hard sometimes for Christians to use. The religious/historic figure “Buddha” has been often considered to be the “enlightened one” by many. However, Christians should not refrain from using the word “enlightenment” or “enlightened,” for these words are used in the Scriptures themselves, as we see in this passage. In fact, according to the Scriptures, it is we, the children of God – the chosen ones of God – who are the true “enlightened ones.”
Concerning enlightenment, you might also use the word “illumined”. Both of these words have to do with teaching, and imparting knowledge to a person. Enlightenment comes from receiving something – knowledge – from another person. If God enlightens you, you are a fortunate person, indeed. Spiritual enlightenment comes from at least two sources, and really, when you come right down to it, only from one source. The reason I say two sources, is that we become enlightened when we read the Word of God (the Bible).
The Psalmist wrote, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105). It gave him direction. However, the same Psalmist really couldn’t understand the Word he was reading unless God Himself “illumined,” or “enlightened,” him. “I am your servant,” he said. “Give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” (Psalm 119:125). And here, we have a very important teaching. Enlightenment really doesn’t come from anything tangible, or that which you can lay your hands on, or that which you can see. It comes from God Himself. He is the source of our enlightenment. So if you have God in your life, you have your Source of enlightenment right there. If He is not in your life, then you are only fooling yourself. You cannot gain enlightenment except from Him. That is why Jesus said to His disciples, just prior to His departure from this earth, the following, exceptionally important, words:
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now hear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (John 16:12-15).
This, indeed, is a stunning passage of Scripture. It is complete, in that it tells us exactly Who our Source of enlightenment is. His Name is The Holy Spirit. “He will guide you into all truth,” Jesus said. (John 16:13). “He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:14). Enlightenment is, therefore, bringing us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, as we read in Scripture. (John 14:6). And the purpose of it, as Jesus has just said, is to bring glory to Jesus. You know that a person is truly enlightened by God when their life brings glory to the Name of Jesus Christ. A person who denies that Jesus is the Christ, or denies that Jesus is who He said He is, is not enlightened, but only deceiving themselves. The enlightened person brings glory to Jesus, just as He said. Consequently, I am convinced that the author of the letter to the Hebrews is referring to Christians, in making his statement about “those who have once been enlightened” (Hebrews 6:4a).
Would you consider yourself to be an “enlightened” one? If so, is your life beginning to produce a crop “useful” to the Lord, as is quite readily alluded to here (verse 7)? Tomorrow, we will move on to part II of this teaching series, as we move on to discussing those “who have tasted the heavenly gift” (verse 4). You won’t want to miss it!