Read Hebrews 6:4-5. What were believers given in Christ while they were faithful to Him?
To have been “enlightened” means to have experienced conversion (Hebrews 10:32). It refers to those who have turned from the “darkness” of the power of Satan to the “light” of God (Acts 26:17-18, ). It implies deliverance from sin (Ephesians 5:11) and ignorance (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, ).
The verbal form here suggests that this enlightening is an act of God achieved through Jesus, “the brightness of His glory” (Hebrews 1:3, NKJV).
To “have tasted the heavenly gift” and “have become partakers of the Holy Spirit” (NKJV) are synonymous expressions. The “gift” of God may refer to His grace (Romans 5:15) or to the Holy Spirit, through which God imparts that grace (Acts 2:38). Those who have “tasted” the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39, 1 Corinthians 12:13) have experienced the “grace” of God, which includes the power to fulfill His will (Galatians 5:22-23, ).
To taste “the goodness of the word of God” (Hebrews 6:5, ESV) is to experience personally the truth of the gospel (1 Peter 2:2-3). “The powers of the age to come” refers to the miracles God will perform for believers in the future: resurrection (John 5:28-29, ), transformation of our bodies, and eternal life. Believers, however, are beginning to “taste” them in the present. They have experienced a spiritual resurrection (Colossians 2:12-13), a renewed mind (Romans 12:2), and eternal life in Christ (John 5:24).
Paul probably has in mind the wilderness generation, who experienced the grace of God and His salvation. The wilderness generation was “enlightened” by the pillar of fire (Nehemiah 9:12, Nehemiah 9:19; Psalm 105:39), enjoyed the heavenly gift of manna (Exodus 16:15), experienced the Holy Spirit (Nehemiah 9:20), tasted the “good word of God” (Joshua 21:45), and “the powers of the age to come” in the “wonders and signs” performed in their deliverance from Egypt (Acts 7:36). Paul suggests, however, that just as the wilderness generation apostatized from God, despite those evidences (Numbers 14:1-35), the audience of Hebrews was in danger of doing the same, despite all the evidences of God’s favor that they had enjoyed.
|What has been your own experience of the things that these verses in Hebrews have talked about? For instance, how have you experienced the enlightening that the text refers to?|