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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Tasting or Drinking?
Date Posted: December 27, 2020

I have often thought about, and discussed, Hebrews 6 with many others of my Christian siblings. But, I'll skip over Hebrews 6 for the moment and share with you my thoughts on James 5:19-20. It is more of getting to the point by going through the back door. You know… back door friendship with the Scriptures, so to speak.

I have understood James to be talking about the physical life here on earth. Here's why: Straying from the truth means exactly that... to wander away from it and to a greater degree, to sin. To bring a brother back to the truth is to save his breath of life (Psuche translated soul) from Thanatos literally meaning death of the body which means life on earth is ended. And literally keeps more sins from being committed by that brother. For me, this is a greater example of the "sin unto death" that John talks about in 1 John 5:16. When a believer starts walking in deadly sin, that believer will be called home so as not to embarrass the Father any longer and there is no prayer for that kind of sin.

As for Revelation 2 & 3, I understand these to be Jesus' Blessings and Consequences. To "endure to the end" and to be "over comers" is not meant to mean that we can quit enduring or quit overcoming because God has promised us that we shall never be tempted beyond what we can take. 1 Corinthians 10:13. But perhaps I misunderstood your reference to Revelation 2 & 3?

How do I understand Hebrews 6?

Since Jesus said something in parallel in John 10:28-29. Nothing can snatch us from His hand nor from the Father's hand. Double emphasis. Extreme statement of fact. God stated emphatically that no one can undo His work. Isaiah 43:13 "...What my hand holds, none can snatch away; what I do, none can undo."

For me, this is so emphatic that I cannot even consider a reversal of God's work in making a new creature. I must look for the meaning of verses other than loss of salvation because God is all powerful and because God never breaks His word.

Also. Jesus tells the woman at the well that if she drinks the living water, she will never be thirsty. John declares in 1 John 4:13 that our proof is that we dwell in Him and He dwells in us; He has imparted His Spirit to us. There is a threefold testimony: the water, the blood and the Spirit. All three are in agreement and is divine testimony which is stronger than human testimony and the person that believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his own heart. 1 John 5:7-9. The Holy Spirit is God's Seal upon us and in heaven only one person was found worthy to take the scroll and to break the seals and that is Jesus. Therefore, how could He break His own promise and deny Himself? Paul tells us that He cannot deny Himself and He will always remain faithful even if we are faithless. 2 Timothy 2:13. We were caterpillars made into butterflies and a butterfly can never become a caterpillar again. (2 Corinthians 5:17 & Galatians 6:15). It must be a mother and lay an egg, but it can never be what it once was.

Therefore I must look at Hebrews 6 in light of these other verses.

Remember when the disciples complained to Jesus about the man that was casting out demons in the name of Christ but was not of us? And Jesus said, "He who is not against us is for us." This man was literally partaking of the Holy Spirit's power by invoking Jesus' name to cast out those demons even though he did not have the saving faith of the disciples and he had not been breathed upon by Jesus.

There were many who followed Jesus and who heard the Gospel and who were like the seeds sown on hard ground and in the thorns and briars. Some did not understand it at all and others heard and received it with joy but the cares of the world choked and stunted their growth. These did not have the saving faith of the seed that was sown on good soil. There were 5000 men who were fed by Jesus and chased after Him around the lake. Jesus looked at them and told them they were in love with the fact He had fed them, not in love with Him. They had tasted of the heavenly gift but had not bought it...they did not buy into what Jesus was teaching (John 6). These were enlightened by Jesus' teaching. But even Balaam's eyes were opened and still he went down into utter darkness. Jesus told them that day that the only work God required of them was to "believe in the One whom He has sent", but they could not "stomach" the fact that Jesus is the Bread of Heaven and that "he who... eats ... of Me shall continuously dwell in Me and I dwell in him."

These followers of Jesus had been 1. enlightened; 2. tasted the heavenly gifts; 3. partakers of the Holy Spirit--the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; 4. tasted the good word of God; 5. tasted the powers of the world to come. And they fell away in John 6, never again to come to repentance.

There is a great deal more to being a believer than in the 5 things above. Two of which are as important as eternal life and that is being Justified and being Sanctified. There are numerous accounts and admonishing from Paul, Peter, John concerning sin but none concerning true believers sinning causing loss of salvation because true believers may fall frequently and terribly but not fall out of the hand of God. That is impossible per God's own breathed promise. And besides, he never says these folks are true believers, he dances around but never plainly says true believers can submerge in apostasy.

Being a partaker of the Holy Spirit is a far cry from being indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

Tasting the word of God is a far cry from being renewed and washed in the word of God.

Tasting the power of worlds to come is a far cry from being saved from the wrath of God.

There are many who sit in the pews of churches that think they are saved, but in truth are not possessors of Jesus. These are the ones who are tasting of what a true relationship with Jesus might be like, yet are not buying into or fully committing their life to serving the one true God. It will be a rude awakening for them when the Great Snatch happens.

The good ground drinks in the rain that God pours out on to it. The good ground bears much fruit 30,60, or 100 fold but the bad ground bears nothing but briars and thorns. Yet the rain pours onto both good and bad ground. This is how I understand Hebrews 6:4-6

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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