21 SEPTEMBER 365 Days with Calvin

Tasting the Heavenly Gift

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come … Hebrews 6:4–5

suggested further reading: Jeremiah 15:16–21

We must note in passing the names by which this verse signals knowledge of the gospel. The writer calls it enlightened; hence people are blind until Christ, the light of the world, enlightens them. It is a tasting of the heavenly gift, intimating that the things which Christ confers on us are above nature and the world, yet may be tasted by faith. We are partakers of the Holy Ghost for he distributes to those he wills all the light and knowledge that we can have. Without him no one can say that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3), for he opens the eyes of our minds and reveals to us the secret things of God.

Knowing the gospel is a tasting of the good word of God, by which he means that the will of God is therein revealed, not in any common way, but in such a way as sweetly delights us. In short, this title points out the difference between the law and the gospel; for the law offers nothing but severity and condemnation, whereas the gospel is a sweet testimony of God’s love and fatherly kindness toward us.

Lastly, he calls it a tasting of the powers of the world to come, by which he intimates that we are admitted by faith into the kingdom of heaven so that we see in spirit that blessed immortality which is hid from our senses.

Let us then know that the gospel cannot be rightly known in any other way than by the illumination of the Spirit. Thus, in being thus drawn away from the world, we are raised up to heaven, and in knowing the goodness of God, we rely on his Word.

for meditation: The author of Hebrews speaks of spiritual tasting—tasting “of the heavenly gift,” tasting of “the good word of God,” and tasting of “the powers of the world to come.” Have you experienced these spiritual tastes? Can you say with Jeremiah that you did “eat” God’s Word spiritually, by faith and in truth, and, without falling away, found it to be “the joy and rejoicing” of your heart (15:16)?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 283). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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