Notice how the writer of Hebrews describes average followers of Jesus. He describes them as people who have…
…been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age…Hebrews 6:4-5
So here is what the writer of Hebrews expects from the average believer:
- They’ve been enlightened. They think differently now. They have set their minds on things above. They have experienced a renewal of the mind.
- They’ve tasted the heavenly gift. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God, and salvation. In other words, they have the Holy Spirit and have experienced salvation.
- They’ve shared in or have partaken in the Holy Spirit. So, beyond just having the Holy Spirit, they’ve partnered with the Spirit. They are actively engaging with the Spirit and with the gifts of the Spirit.
- They’ve tasted the goodness of the word of God. They are convinced that God is good and that God’s word is good. They have been regularly and profoundly impacted by the word of God. They trust the word of God.
- They’ve tasted the powers of the coming age. The New Testament envisions two ages: 1) “this age” (the one we are in now, human history as we know it) and 2) “the age to come” (the point at which eternity begins, there is a new heaven and new earth, God dwells with humanity and Jesus brings the fullness of the Kingdom of God). Through the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit we get to experience powers that exist in the coming age, but we get to experience them right now! This is part of what it means for the Spirit to be a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. This is the power Jesus told His disciples to wait for in Jerusalem (Luke 24:49).
As we look at this list, is this what the average believer looks like today? Is this what the American church is full of? If not, we need a new standard!