Tasting the Powers of the Coming Age: Some Practical Applications Part 1
Some Practical Applications (Part 1)
A Christian: Taster of Heaven
Ephesians 1 says that a person who believes the Good News of Jesus becomes a sharer of the Holy Spirit. There are numerous other places (Galatians 3, etc.) where the assumption is made that if you have really given your life to Jesus, you are now automatically, by definition, sharing the Good things of the Holy Spirit. That’s the gift. That’s the deposit that guarantees the inheritance. In Hebrews 6 we find a whole list of some very basic descriptions of a Christian. “...who have once 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 (like newborn babes, every Christian craves the pure spiritual milk of the word) and the powers of the coming age...” They have tasted the goodness of the Word of God, and they have tasted the power of the age to come. That expression is listed amongst a whole list of expressions that are just very basic, common descriptive words of a Christian. A Christian is a person who has tasted the word of God and found it to be good. A person that is a Christian is a person who is enlightened. Jesus said that His church would be built out of people who have a revelation that flesh and blood did not reveal to them, but the Father from heaven revealed. So, obviously, a Christian, a person who is part of Jesus’ church, is someone who is enlightened, and who has come to share in the Holy Spirit because they believe God. They love God; they love the Word of God; they have the Holy Spirit living inside of them, and they have tasted the powers of the coming age. Tasting the powers of the coming age is just one of many things that describes what a Christian is experiencing.
So, the assumption is that when this expression is used in the Bible, it is used to describe the common experience of every believer. That’s the assumption the Hebrews writer makes: tasting the powers of the coming age is for every believer. It’s just as common as sharing in the Holy Spirit. And anyone who doesn’t share in the Holy Spirit, it says in Romans 8, isn’t even part of Him. Sharing in the Holy Spirit, loving God, loving the Word of God, tasting the powers of the coming age—these are just basic, fundamental things that the Hebrews writer assumed they would understand and experience.
A Gift: Entrance Into the Eternal
Titus 1 talks about the eternal life, and “before there was time, God created....” When you think of eternal life you normally think of salvation—a person who is saved receives the gift of eternal life. “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall receive everlasting life.” You normally think of eternal life as being salvation. But there is a broader way to look at that. A person who is saved (who is washed in the blood of Jesus) receives a gift of entrance into the eternal realm—seated with Christ in heavenly realms. It’s an invitation into the Real world where everything is eternal. “Everything that can be shaken will be shaken.” “What is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.” Eternal Life. The Unseen. You are being invited into the unseen world that is eternal when you receive eternal life. Now, something inside of you always was and always will be, and now you can relate to the unseen realm.
I was thinking about the video In Remembrance when Judas was reflecting about why he made the choice he did. He said, “This is the only world I know. I want something I can touch, something I can taste. This is the only reality I know, the only world I can prove and grab onto.” You can see what happens when you decide to live for the seen world. You begin to invest your priorities in what can be seen and touched and tasted. You want to hedge your bet on the seen world with your comfort, reputation, friendships in the world, possessions, man-pleasing, and making sure everyone likes you. We certainly don’t want to rock any boats too much. We don’t want to lose our jobs because we stand for something, so we milk toast our convictions; we water life down. That’s what Judas did. That’s how Judas ended up hanging himself and spending eternity in the abyss—because he chose to live in the seen realm.
A Choice: Priorities
Eternal life is to choose to live in what can’t be seen. What is seen is temporary; what is unseen is eternal—whoever believes in Him shall receive eternal life. The process of salvation itself is to live in the unseen world with a priority system that reflects the fact that we know this is temporary. This seen world is a mirage, a shadow. This is not where my allegiance is going. It’s not where my heart is going, and it’s not where my loyalties are. I fear nothing here. I embrace nothing here. I’m obsessed with nothing here. I use the things in the seen realm, but I’m not used by them, as Paul said. He went through this list to the Corinthians saying, “We are here, but so what?” They are only tools, temporary tools. We have possessions, but we will not be possessed by them. They will not influence our decisions, decide what we say, decide what we do, or decide who we will confront or challenge. The seen realm won’t decide anything about our decisions because what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal. Whoever believes in Him shall receive and live in the eternal, the unseen, and that’s where his priority system is.
All of this is really as basic as salvation itself. It’s a different priority system because it is based on the real and not the temporal. It’s based on the reality and not the shadow. It’s a fool who tries to eat a shadow. It’s a fool who tries to buy a shadow; it’s a fool who falls in love with a shadow. It’s a fool who decides to befriend a shadow and have a relationship with a shadow. You are just not going to do that if you are wise, if you understand what all this really is. Your priority system is not going to be in any way controlled by, or influenced by, whether or not your boss is mad at you because you decided to stand for something. You’re not going to be controlled by whether or not you have to say something to a co-worker, or someone in line at the grocery store, or at a restaurant, or at a religious facility or etc. Those things are just not issues because there is nothing of this realm that is going to control or influence our decisions. What is seen is temporary; what is unseen is eternal. And the gift of God is eternal life. That’s where we live now, and those are the choices we make. Our choices are reflected not by the shadows that control everyone who lives in the “Matrix,” but by the reality of what’s really true: who Jesus really is, and what He really stands for.