Between Already and Not Yet

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If you’ve been paying close attention to these posts, first of all you have my thanks. But secondly, you may have noticed a bit of a theme developing this month.

The theme is that we as followers of Jesus live in this incredibly awkward tension of the already and the not yet. We are already redeemed, but we are not yet in heaven. We are already purchased, but we are not yet with our maker. We are already in the kingdom of God, but we are not yet seeing its fruit in a daily way. We are already the people of God, but we do not yet act like it. What an odd place to be?

The way I see it, there are two approaches. There’s the cynical approach, which focuses on the things that we are not yet. We are not yet holy, and so why bother being good? We are not yet in heaven, so why bother praising God? We are not yet our fully realized selves, but we’ve got plenty of time. Looking around, reading the newspaper or even just having a friend or two will tell you that this is a popular strategy. I just think it’s an insufficient strategy. It will always leave you exactly where you are.

The other approach is to view the not yet pieces of ourselves as aspirations, and to hold on to them in hope. We are not yet the people God has created us to be, which only means that every day is an opportunity to grow into that person more and more. We do not yet see the fruits of our redemption, which means that every breath we take is a second chance. We are not yet living in the realized Kingdom of God, which means that we have an opportunity to build it each and every day.

We are the people of the already and the not yet. Is that a cynical thing for you, or does that bring you hope? And if you would like it to bring hope, what kind of people would you surround yourself with to be reminded of hope every day? Who would push you on? Who would encourage you? Who would challenge you?

That sounds like a job for the church, does it not?

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