Your Taste Buds

by Frank Jamerson

The word taste is used in many different ways. It may refer to sampling (I'll taste your dessert), preference (that house fits my taste), ability to recognize (she has a taste for men's clothes), or to experience (he had a taste of freedom). The context in which it is used often determines its exact meaning. The Bible uses the word in at least three ways.


First, it refers to sampling. "And when they come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink" (Matthew 27:33-34). When Jesus turned the water into wine, the master of the feast "tasted the water that was made wine" (John 2:9). When stores give a sample of something they are selling, that is just a taste.


Second, it is used to mean eating. Jesus told about a man giving a great supper, but those invited began to make excuses for not attending. The master said, "For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper" (Luke 14:24). He said they would not be allowed to participate in the feast. The word is translated as "eaten" in Acts 20:11. After Eutychus was raised from the dead, Paul returned to the house, ate (tasted), and talked until daybreak.


Third, the word is used in the sense of experiencing. The writer of Hebrews said, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9). Christ did not take just a sample, He experienced death fully. In the sixth chapter, the writer said, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6). This passage clearly shows that a person can taste (experience) salvation and then fall away. The passage says those who do that cannot be renewed to repentance. Later, he said "if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26). Those who experience salvation in Christ and then willfully turn away are classified with those who murdered the Son of God. As long as a person has that attitude toward Christ, he cannot be renewed to repentance. Christ is not going to die again, and God will offer no other sacrifice to change that person's mind. He can be led to repent only by returning to the sacrifice that he willfully turned away from.

Those who obeyed the gospel were told to desire the spiritual milk "if you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (I Peter 2:3). Those who have tasted the joy of salvation should eat willingly and greedily of the word of God, not just sample it! The Psalmist said, "How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth" (Psalms 119:103).

How are your taste buds?

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