32. WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE?

WHY DO SOME Christians never miss an occasion for Bible study and worship while others have great difficulty in attending? Sometimes the difference is in their early training or the example of parents. With some it is simply a matter of spiritual-mindedness or interest in heavenly things. And those who study the human mind say that a few will be busy to fill a subconscious need to be imposed on.

Scripture gives such a beautiful explanation for true service, though, in Hebrews 6:4,5. There the writer speaks of those who “were once enlightened.” These people have seen the light! How incongruous for one of them to turn back to darkness.

They have also “tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost.” The joy and relaxation that comes from a knowledge that God has accepted you in spite of your sins and weaknesses and all your shortcomings — because Jesus took your place and gave you His life and His perfect record-this joy is beyond words. And the love “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 5:8) gives the child of God a taste of heaven even now! How strange that any who have seen envy, spite, malice and unkindness replaced by love, joy, longsuffering and kindness-how strange that any of these would prefer the former way of life.

The people here described have “tasted the good word of God.” The Phillips translation says “who have known the wholesome nourishment of the Word of God.” It is not surprising that one would reject or tune out empty teaching, destructive teaching, human teaching or sick teaching. On the other hand the “healthy nourishment of the Word of God” is a tonic to the soul and a vitamin to the spirit. True soundness means being spiritually healthy. And a healthy person should be the happiest person in the world! God’s word brings this vibrant health. It is unfortunate that many supposed Christians neglect it and disregard it.

The verse continues, “and the powers of the world to come.” Other versions have “the spiritual energies of the age to come,” “the spiritual resources of the eternal world,” or “the mighty powers of the world to come.” By His resurrection Christ brought into existence the New Age. The Christian, by baptism “into Christ” comes into this “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). “Old things are passing away; all things are become new” to the man who is a “new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17). What sin had destroyed, Christ now restores.

No, we do not have it all yet. We look forward in hope to the day when Christ returns to complete the New Age. Then we will have a new and immortal body. Then God will be “all in all.” Then even death will be no more. Satan will be destroyed. Sin will be gone. There will be no more sickness, pain, temptation or conflicts. Such a hope creates patience and inspires holiness.

The writer of Hebrews says, however, that even here and now we can have a great taste of what is yet to come. The same power which raised Christ from the dead is ours if we truly believe (Ephesians 1:19-21). Our God is able

to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). The Holy Spirit produces good fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22,23). We can live according to God’s righteous will-not by our own strength, but by Christ who enables us-by Christ who, in fact , lives in us (Galatians 2:20). ‘Me same Father who calls on us to “work out” our salvation has promised to “work in” us both to desire and to do His will (Philippians 2:12.113).

Here is how God calls us to worship and gather around His word. Such enticements! Such good gifts! Light … a heavenly calling … the Holy Spirit … the good Word of God … the power of the age to come — all these are mine and yours in Jesus Christ.