Video Transcript: Already But Not Yet

Today we're going to focus on a particular theme in Romans eight. And throughout the New  Testament, the idea of already and not yet, that may sound a little bit strange, but you'll find  out what it means as we go on. Some of the hardest things in life, when we're thinking  through the Christian faith, as well as living it, is, how do we set our expectations? What  should we really be looking for in this life? We have some hard questions. When it comes to  the kingdom of God and the reign of God. Is it true that God is already reigning on the earth?  Or is he not yet reigning? Has Satan already been defeated? Is there victory over Satan  already now? Or is that victory, something that's only going to come at some point in the  future? When it comes to resurrection, we sing on Easter Christ the Lord has risen today. But,  what does that mean for us? Are we risen? There are certain passages in the Bible that talk  about being raised with Christ. But we know that we still have a lot of funerals that we go to.  And we know that somehow, the final resurrection is something we're looking forward to what can we expect from resurrection in this life? And then there's the church. The church is the  glorious bride of Christ, the place of fellowship, that horrible mess that you can hardly put up  with? What in the world is the church? Is it this beautiful, splendid thing that is amazing? Or is it this kinda yucky thing that you can do just as well without and just worship God on your  own? What about your own status? Can you have peace with God and complete assurance  that you belong to Him and that Jesus has saved you? Or is that something that you'll only  find out on Judgement Day? There are some strands of church teaching, that have said that  you're presuming if you say that, you know, you're already saved, that you're already right  with God, you really can't know that for sure, until the final day. So how much assurance? How certain? Are we sure how much can we be sure of our status? While we're living in this life?  There's a question of holiness. Some Christians have said that you can become completely  and perfectly holy in this life, because God promises the great work of His Holy Spirit. And he  speaks of his tremendous transformation. And so already in this life, a person can enjoy entire sanctification be made completely holy. And some other Christians say, The heart is deceitful  above all things, and desperately wicked, and even Christians are rotters throughout their life. So what can we expect when it comes to holiness? How about prayer? That's one that I have  struggled with often? How much can we really expect from prayer in this life? Should we be  able to pray with such confidence that we know we are going to get what we request? Or  should we mumble a few requests to God and say, If it be thy will, and get on with our day,  not really expecting too much? Because praying, after all, can be very disappointing. If you  ask and ask passionately and confidently, and you don't get what you want. So then do you  just adjust expectations. On healing? You know, that may be one that may be a subset of  prayer in some cases, but how much healing? Can we expect in this life? If you struggle with  mental illness, or with certain kinds of depression? Should you expect that really all of that  should never bug you again? If you've got a serious illness? Should you expect that if you  pray in the proper manner, that illness will be taken away? And you will be completely  restored again? Or once again? Should you kind of expect the opposite when it comes to  healing and say, Well, I'm gonna go to my doctor, maybe and I'll take good care of my body  as well as I can. But that's not all you can expect in this whole area of healing. How about  guidance. How clear is God's guidance? Should we take each step through our life only when  we have a pretty firm and clear leading from God on that particular matter? Or should we wait until we get that clear leading or should we go through life making as sensible a choices as  we can and hope that God will bless those choices or is that true somewhere else? there, but  what can you really expect from guidance in this life? And how much can you expect to  encounter God? According to the scriptures, we're going to see God face to face when Christ  comes again. But how much can we experience and know him now? How much of the reality  of God enters into our experience? How much should we see, because if something's not  going to be given in this life, you really shouldn't waste too much of your time, and disappoint too many of your expectations, looking for what you already know will not be granted until  the proper time. These are the kinds of questions that come up when it comes to this matter  of timing, and understanding what era we're living in, and how much or how little, we ought  to be expecting. Now, these are questions that I have wrestled with very much in my own life, because I've wanted to know God better. I've wanted to see more healing happen through the

miraculous power of God, I've wanted to see tremendous advances in holiness. I've wanted to live by God's guidance, I've wanted to see the church to be pure and splendid. And so as you  go through life, as a Christian, if you're not wrestling with these things at all, ever, then I start  

to wonder whether you've been trying to live the Christian life, whether you've ever heard  some of those magnificent promises of the New Testament. And one having heard them ever  been disappointed when you didn't see them carried out to the degree that you were hoping  they would be? These are some of the things both at a at a doctrinal level, you know, different strands of Christianity have argued over entire sanctification, or over how much assurance  you can have, or over whether God is already reigning. Now, whether Jesus is already reigning during the 1000 years now, you know, these are some of the theological questions that come  up. But the personal questions and kind of thinking through and understanding how to walk  the Christian life, in the time between the first coming of Jesus, and the second coming every  day you wake up, these can be pressing questions for your Christian life. And so we want to  focus again, on a few verses from Romans that, that capture a lot of the New Testament  teaching, we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth  right up to the present time. And we all understand that pregnancy is different from what is  ordinarily labeled a disease, even though it has some things in common with it involves  nausea, and not feeling very good. It involves bodily changes that are not always comfortable  to undergo, the swelling can even resemble the growth of a large tumor, the excruciating pain at the end of it and yet, you know that a pregnancy is somehow something much more  wonderful than your ordinary garden variety, nasty illness, because of what it produces  something marvelous and miraculous. And when it comes to pregnancy, we also have to think about another dimension of it. When does life begin? Well, at one level, we say, well, of  course, it begins. When the pregnancy begins, it begins unseen, and almost unnoticed for a  while. And yet we still date birthdays, from the time the child emerges from the womb. So  there's something about saying, well, the baby's there, but the baby's not here yet. You know, we almost think of it that way. And someone who is very pregnant and thinks it's really hard  that way. So we have this picture from the Bible that says the creation is kind of like a  pregnancy, with all the discomforts and difficulties that go with it. And with some of that  ambiguity are two different ways of thinking, the baby's not yet here, and yet the baby is  here. So what do we make of that in the meantime, so the creation is groaning in these veins  of childbirth. And then it says, Not only so but we ourselves. We have the first fruits of the  Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our  bodies. So here you have the picture, not so much of pregnancy, although the groaning image is still carried over, but of first fruit, the first part of the crop, which tells you that a lot more  crop is still coming in. And the Holy Spirit, whom God has given us, is that first fruits of that  crop, and we're looking for it says to the redemption of our bodies, even though Romans is  already said that you devote your bodies to the Lord, and that your body died with Christ and  is raised with Christ. In one sense, it says we've been adopted. And now it says we eagerly  await our adoption. So there's something about it that's already adopted. And yet, there's an  adoption, a public adoption, still to come. And closely related to them, to the idea of First  Fruits is a repeated image in the Bible of the Holy Spirit as the down payment, or the earnest  payment, the first payment of a lot more to come. And in a down payment, you give a large  amount, initially when you buy a house, but then more and more keeps getting paid. And  when the Holy Spirit is given, God gives the Holy Spirit, God anointed us sealed us and gave  the downpayment of the Spirit in our hearts, as the Bible says. But then there is still more to  be given. In the future, the very image of a downpayment tells you that something's already  given. And there's more that's coming. So first fruit says, already, and there's more.  downpayment says already, and there's more. Pregnancy says already, and there's more. And so this is a image that runs throughout the Bible. And it helps us also in thinking through, but  also in living out the reality of the Christian life and the reality of the Holy Spirit. In the big  picture, Jesus has come in is first coming, He came to earth, He taught, he did his amazing  miracles, He died for sin, He rose from the dead. And in that first coming of Jesus, something  new entered the world, the new age of God's blessing, and reign, and the giving of the Holy  Spirit in a degree that had never been given, at the same time, the deathblow to an old age. 

The New Testament speaks of two world ages or eons. And that first world age is the one of  sin and death and fallenness. And with the first coming of Jesus, a new age has broken in. And that new age, that coming world age is here, but more of it is still to come when Jesus comes  again. So you have the two World ages, but they are not totally separate. In time, the first  world age runs up to the coming of Jesus, but then it kind of muddles along and staggers  along until the Second Coming of Jesus so that first world age doesn't have near its power.  And its same reality that it had until the coming of Christ, but it's still hanging around. And  with the coming of Christ, that new age has entered into time, but it's still awaiting certain  things that are to come. And in the meantime, you live in the overlap of two different world  ages. And in that overlap, you neither conform to this world or eon and not be conformed to  the that old fading away world age. And the Bible speaks of the overlapping time between  those ages, as the last time or the last days. It's usually an interpretive error to think of the  last days as the decade or the five years or the couple of decades, right before Jesus comes  again, in the New Testament, the last days, or the last times are almost always described as  the entire era, between the two comings of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in the in this period  between those two comings, there is always an already a big already of Christ's coming and a  big not yet that he has not yet come again. And so we'll see how that works out in various  dimensions of Christian reality and belief as well as in the way we live the Christian life. We'll  see how it works out in the realm of understanding kingdom, of victory over Satan, of  resurrection of church of our status as Christians of our holiness and sanctification. Prayer  healing, guidance and encounter with God we'll see what the Bible says about the already of  that. And the not yet in each of those areas. When it comes to the kingdom. What does the  Bible say? Well, Jesus says, If I drive out demons by the finger of God, which he was doing,  then the kingdom of God has come to you. Jesus said, The kingdom of God is within you. It's  here, it's in you. It's come. I'm here. The Kingdom has already come. And he teaches us to  pray Thy Kingdom Come Why would you pray Thy kingdom come, if it's already come in its  completeness. It hasn't. And Jesus when he gave the Last Supper said, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. Well, there's an until the kingdom of God hasn't come after all, which isn't, you might say, Has it come or hasn't it? And this is a classic  example of already, and not yet, already, the kingdom of God has broken in, and his reign has claimed his own territory, the Earth is rightfully his, and already he's bringing his reign to bear on it. But the Earth has not yielded its full submission, and its full allegiance to him. And so  there's another sense in which the Kingdom hasn't yet fully come to Earth. And so even as we say that God's kingdom has come in the person of Jesus, we pray Thy kingdom come, and  that Jesus will come again. How about victory over Satan? Jesus states very clearly, that he  defeats Satan, he defeated Satan in the temptations in the wilderness. He defeated Satan  when he expelled demons. And when his apostles went out, and others were spreading the  Good News, Jesus said, When they came back, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. And the Apostle Paul writing in Colossians, says that something tremendous happened at the  cross. Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them,  triumphing over them by the cross. Jesus defeated the devil on the cross, the demons and the prince of demons have been defeated. Jesus said, just before he died, now, the prince of this  world is driven out victory over Satan. And when you read in the epistles, you read the  Apostle Paul saying such things as Satan hindered us. At the end of Romans, he said, The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, is why I thought he already did that. I thought  he already fell. And that victory over Satan had already been won. The apostle Peter warns,  the devil goes around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. So there's already  victory, and there's not yet victory. One of the most common illustrations of this, I think,  originally, originating with New Testament theologian, Oscar Cullmann, was what happened in Europe, in World War Two, he compared it to D-Day. And the day, D-Day was when the allied  forces invaded Normandy. And once they won that victory, Hitler was, you know, at least in  hindsight, Hitler was finished when they, when they won that and got the armies established  on the beach at Normandy, and began to move, it was only a matter of time. But that was the decisive blow, and Hitler was not going to win. But if you had been a soldier on the ground, in  Europe, you would not have said, Boy, this is it's sure nice to enjoy victory, life has gotten 

really easy, the nastiest and most brutal offenses of the war, the Battle of the Bulge came  after Hitler was already defeated, basically, but he was still around, and he still had a lot of  troops, and could still do a lot of damage. So the Battle of the Bulge is a terrible counter  offensive, in which many, many people died. So you have victory at D Day at Normandy. And  yet, the real victory doesn't come until the absolute destruction of the German army and the  death of Hitler. And in a similar way, in the book of Revelation, it speaks of Satan being  defeated. But then it says, you know, that, that we should sing for joy over his defeat. And it  says, But woe to the earth, because he's been cast down to you, and he knows that his time is short. So the nastiness of the devil during this present age is not a sign that he is winning, but that he has already lost. But in another sense, he has not yet been totally wiped out. He's  been limited severely, and wounded terribly, but God has not yet finished him off. And so  there's an already to victory, and a not yet to victory. And we should never give in and say oh, Satan is winning, and the demons are too dominant. I just can't resist anymore. But we should not be naive and think that the battle is over. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Because your battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, the  powers of this dark world. And so we need to be ready to battle because we are victorious,  and we're not yet victorious, and we need to carry on in that victory. How about resurrection?  Well, obviously Jesus has been raised from the dead, and He has won victory. The Bible says  just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too, may live a  new life. So it's not just true that Jesus has been raised in his resurrection, we're linked to him, God raised Him up, raised us up with Christ, in the heavenly realms, in Christ. Jesus says the  Bible. And so there's this repeated emphasis that in the resurrection of Christ, new life has  come into the world and into the lives of God's people, because we're in union with Christ.  Already, were raised with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. And  not yet. We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons the redemption of our bodies, our bodies  aren't yet glorified, and raised. And the Bible says Christ was raised until he puts all his  enemies under His feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed, is death itself. So we know from  our own experience, that death still has a kind of power, because people still die. And if we  take just one side of the equation, then we make the mistake that some people in Corinth did. Yeah but you know, Christ has been raised, we're raised with Him, we can already now live in  perfect health and all is good. And the apostles said there are some people who say that the  resurrection has already happened. That's not true. The resurrection, the general resurrection  of all people has not happened. And yet Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruit of those who are going to be raised. So resurrection and understanding what its role is, if you  just say, Well, I'm going to go with an either or you're going to miss the fullness of what the  Bible teaches the already aspect of resurrection, but also the not yet, when it comes to the  church. The church is a marvel. And the church is a muddle. The Bible says his intent, God's  intent was that now through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known  to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. You can't say much about the church  higher than that, that God decided that now through the church, he's going to show off to the  angels and to all the powers, how smart he is. The church is God's display of how brilliant he  is. And of course, the head of the church, Jesus Christ is a perfectly display of that. But the  way God brings different peoples together, the way he transforms people in the body of the  church it's a wonderful and glorious thing. And if that's the only thing you gather from the  Bible, you will be savagely shocked and disappointed, because there is a not yet. There is also the church in its current condition, which is not yet the perfect bride of Christ, the apostle,  just to take one example, writes to the Galatians, I am astonished that you're turning to a  different gospel. And he's writing a lot of things in his epistles to different churches, which  indicates those churches had a long way to go. If you read Jesus' letters to the seven churches early in the book of Revelation, he has some pretty strong words of rebuke, as well as words  of encouragement and praise for them, because the church is not yet what he's called it and  designed it to be. And if you're going to relate to the church at all, you need to relate in both  of these ways. You need to know the glory of the Body of Christ. And you shouldn't go around  acting shocked when you find out that it's not quite as glorious as it's going to be. You need to be able to live with the disappointments of the not yet and still understand the glory, and let 

the church still be a treasure to you as it is to God. Our status? Well, our status is we're right  with God. Since we've been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord  Jesus Christ, through whom we've gained access into this grace in which we now stand and  we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We have this peace with God already. And yet,  there's a not yet to it as well. By faith we eagerly await through the Spirit, the righteousness  for which we hope, the righteousness from God has already been revealed. It's been given to  people when we're justified, and we're waiting for the righteousness for which we hope. The  Apostle says at the very end of his life, when he's sitting in a dungeon awaiting execution,  there is in store for me, the crown of righteousness, he's been declared righteous, long time  ago by that point, and yet he's looking forward to the crown of righteousness. Already we can  know what God's verdict on us is. We can already know our status as justified at peace with  God, children of God, but yet that's it Not quite as clear to us sometimes and certainly not as  clear to the world as when Christ comes again, and declares his verdict of not guilty over each person who belongs to Jesus Christ. So there's the already of rejoicing that you're right with  God. And there is a longing, that that declaration will be made public, to remove all doubt  about it from anybody else, as well as sometimes from your own heart, when the doubts  creep in, and we need to be able to live with some of the not yet elements of not yet being  crowned with righteousness, and yet knowing that we have peace with God. When it comes to holiness, well, we died to sin, you've been set free from sin, and become slaves to  righteousness. With language like that, you can see why some people said, perfection is  possible in this life, because the Bible uses such strong words about the liberation that we  have from sin. And the fact that we can't go on sinning if God's seed lives in us. And then you  have the not yet statements, I have the desire to do what's right, but not the ability to carry it out. The flesh and the spirit are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you  want. So on this matter of holiness, something tremendous has happened that sets us free  from the grip and power of sin. And yet, there's a not yet I want to be better. But I can't seem  to do it all the time. Sometimes not even much of the time, but there's but, there's this inner  conflict that continues. And part of the Christian life is realizing both of these things. When  you say to yourself, well, you know, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately  wicked, and people are always just going to be sinners and sinners and sinners. There is a  tremendous danger in taking that kind of approach. And entirely, you might say, an entirely  not yet approach, say, Well, we're just gonna keep on sinning. And hopefully Jesus will show  up and then we'll get forgiven and go to heaven. This is not the full teaching of the Bible at  all. If you're all focused on the not yet. What about the tremendous liberation that can already happen? Now, the progress that you can make in the Christian life? It's one thing to say, Well,  the Bible does not teach that progress leads to absolute perfection in this life. But does the  Bible teach that doesn't lead anywhere? Does the Bible teach that there's no change, that  you're not set free from the grip of sin, that the power of the one who was in you is not  greater than power, the one who's in the world, that is very, very far from the truth. So it  would be a mistake to say that you can become perfect and entirely sanctified in this life. But  it is also a dreadful mistake, just live entirely in the not yet. And underestimate the power of  the Holy Spirit as the down payment. It's one thing to say the full payment hasn't been made.  It's quite another thing to say nothing's been given. So we need to understand that in this  realm of holiness much has been given. But not yet everything in prayer is tremendous  statements. I take this one, but there are others similar to it, whatever you ask for in prayer,  believes that you have received it and it will be yours. tremendous promise of sometimes it's  qualified a bit by the other. Statement and say, if you ask anything in my name, or according  to God's will, then you'll have it. And so these kinds of promises have led to many books on  prayer. And many teachings on prayer, that say that if you can, by whatever method, the  book recommends, have the full confidence that your prayer is going to be answered, then it  will be. And there is this whole teaching of prayer entirely set in the all readiness, of prayer.  But those kinds of approaches to prayer, neglect, the very clear, not yet, that's also here. We  do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken  groans. and He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit so that we don't know  how to pray. But the Holy Spirit is somehow sending up unspoken prayers to God and the 

Father knows what we need. And that seems to be quite different from the name it claim it or  you just speak it boldly because you know what God's going to do. So you pray for it, and you  know, it's going to be given. And once again, we need to be careful not to go entirely in one  direction or the other, even though it's pretty uncomfortable at times to live in the tension  between the two. But that's the only place to live. To realize that there are these tremendous  promises of what can already happen through prayer and to also realize There is not yet there is a muddledness, where we don't always know God's will, we don't always know and have the boldness to ask in Christ's name because we don't know we can attach Christ's name to that  request. So prayer has this already, and not yet dimension to it. Prayers of healing or  expectations of miracles. When you read the gospels, when you read the book of Acts, as  we're doing now, Jesus healed all the sick. And when you read about the apostles, there are  tremendous things happening, crowds gathered, and all of them were healed Acts 5:16, all of  them were healed. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. And these tremendous  miracles of healing are something that has already happened. They're not things you say,  well, that's only going to happen when Jesus comes again, these things happened the first  time he came. These things happened through his apostles, and many of his early followers.  So we cannot just say, well, that's something way off. In the future, these things have  happened. But there was a not yet as well. Paul did many mighty miracles. And when Timothy had chronic stomach problems, what did Paul do? Did he say, The Lord Jesus heals you,  Timothy and liberates you to go on with your ministry. He said Well maybe you better watch  the water a little bit and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent  illnesses? Or when Paul is talking about some other things have been happening as well, I left  Trophimus sick in Miletus well, how the world can you leave Trophimus, your fellow worker sick and Miletus, when all you got to do is say be healed? You know, that's pretty simple. But we  have this mix going on in the New Testament. And once again, it is a mistake to dive into one  side or the other just because either of those polls is more comfortable. Intellectually, it's  more comfortable and a little easier to live there. You say, Well, if you just have enough faith,  it's going to happen. And then if somebody doesn't have it happen, you say you must not  have no faith. That, you know, that's a pretty easy position. Intellectually, it's very  devastating to those to whom say it. But you know, it's one way to do it. And the opposite is  to keep expectations low. healings don't happen anymore. There's been an entire teaching of  cessationism, where God doesn't give the same supernatural gifts that he used to give, or do  the same supernatural miracles that he used to do in the era of Christ and the apostles. And  that, again, is a very intellectually settled way of doing things, and maybe easy ways to live  with it as well. If you don't expect much, you're never disappointed. If you never expect  healings and then they don't happen, well, at least you didn't get your hopes up. And I believe the way to live is still in the tension. To believe that yes, God can and still does do mighty  miracles. And not all the time. And that only when Christ comes again, will the great miracle  of full resurrection, bring complete healing to all and everybody. And in the meantime, some  of us are going to live with illnesses that we wish were gone, and they don't leave. And even  when that happens, do you say and I'm turning that into a theology, I have not been healed,  several other people whom I love have not been healed. I believe healings stopped in the area of the era of the apostles. Well, you really shouldn't draw too great conclusions based on your  own experience, because sometimes your own experience could mislead you. The Lord might  have great miracles in store for you too, and you dismiss the possibility too quickly. So when it comes to healing, you've got to live in this tension that God does mighty things. And he  doesn't do them always. Or every time that we ask for them. When it comes to guidance,  well, overall, we have the mind of Christ says the apostle when you have the Holy Spirit. God  gives you this mind of Christ. And He promised to lead you and guide you throughout your  life. And sometimes there's very specific particular guidance. The Apostle was prevented by  the Holy Spirit from going to one place, then he was prevented and he knew it was from the  Holy Spirit from going to the next place. And then he had a vision of a man of Macedonia in  the night standing and begging him come over to Macedonia and help us and right away he  knew this is the Holy Spirit. This is God's guidance, and we're off to Macedonia. Already clear  guidance in this life through the Holy Spirit. And not yet because he writes to the Corinthians 

that he had some plan that he was going to go Macedonia, he thought, I'll stop in Corinth on  the way and even sent them a message that he was planning to stop on the way he didn't  make it. Because I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia when I planned this Did I do  it lightly? No, it wasn't like he just it's I planned on it. Couldn't do it. What would happen to  the Divine guidance? Sometimes God tells you exactly what's coming next and what to do  next. And sometimes he doesn't. And you make your plans. And some of those plans come  true. And some of them don't. And so whenever you make your plans and planning is a good  thing, you say, well, if it's the Lord's will, we're going to do this or that. And once again, you  can do it, you can live in either of those poles if you want to. And you say, I'm always going to wait to do anything until I have a strong and clear prompting or direct word from God. Or you  can say, God doesn't give, he never send signals like that anymore. He never gives the kind  of guidance that he gave to the apostle Paul, that was the time of the apostles, you need to  update a little bit. You know, St. Patrick had a dream, where the Irish voices were saying,  come to Ireland and the great missionary went to Ireland, and helped convert the island. So  let's not just say, well, we read about the stuff in the Bible never happens anymore. Well, it  can happen. So be open to the possibility the very clear and specific guidance in your life  from the Holy Spirit. And don't put every decision on hold until that kind of guidance comes  because there is an already and a not yet to the clarity of the guidance that God gives. And  on this final, and maybe the most important one and and to me, how much can I expect to  know God or experience God in this life? God made his light shine in our hearts to give us the  light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Christ. What a tremendous statement, he  sent his light into our hearts, and we can see God's glory in the face of Christ already. And this very same apostle writing to the very same church can say, now we see but a poor reflection  as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully even  as I am fully known. Which is it? Do you see the glory of God in the face of Christ? Or do you  see a poor reflection as in a mirror, and mirrors were not clear back in those days, they were  like polished metal. So which is it? Well, again, it's both there is an already to which God has  revealed himself more clearly than then people prior to the time of Christ and the giving the  Holy Spirit could ever have known him. And we don't know him nearly as well, as we're going  to. And once again, we need to be able to live in that tension to delight in the light that he's  already given, but not to settle. Just because we're not going to see everything till we see Him face to face does not mean we're not going to see any more in this life, or experience  anymore, or draw closer to Him, or grow a greater in love for him and experience of His love  for us. So when we live in, in between the already in the not yet we need healthy realism. First of all, treasure what's already been given in the first coming of Christ, so much has been  given forgiveness of sins, life everlasting already coming into our lives now, the giving of the  Holy Spirit, and all these other blessings that we realized through God's new covenant. And  since the first coming of Jesus. And at the same time, while we treasure what's already been  given, we have to accept that during these last days, this overlap of the two ages, there's a  mixture of Kingdom glory, with a fallen fading world, there is the glory and there is the  suffering, and they're both here. Another thing about healthy realism is don't be too quick to  give up on others, or to give up on yourself due to faults and failures. Because we have not  yet arrived, we are not yet in glory. And all has not yet been made perfect. And that's true of  me. It's true of every one of you. And so we're not perfectly healthy, we're not perfectly free  from sin. And we need to deal with each other very graciously, and with a great deal of  acceptance in the meantime, because we can recognize what God's already doing in  somebody while realizing that there's a not yet and sometimes a pretty big ugly not yet going on. That's true of me That's true of you. And so in all of that we should expect and groan, as  the Apostle says groan for Jesus to return and bring heaven to earth fully because until the  redemption of our bodies until he comes again. There's that that not yet is pretty big. And so  we need to long for that. In the meantime, the apostle gives us the guidance to what to do,  keep seeking more each day, keep pressing on. The Apostle says I want to know Christ and  the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing his sufferings becoming like him in  his death. And so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead, He says that's what  I'm aiming for. That's what I'm pushing for. That's what I straining toward every day of my life.

And then he adds not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made  perfect. But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I  do not consider myself yet to have attained it. But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind  and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize, for which  God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. That's how you live in the tension between  already and not yet, you say something has begun and something wonderful in all these  dimensions in my life, the kingdom is here, but it's not fully here. Well, I'm going to do what I  can to help show God's reign in one dimension of this world where God has given me an area  of authority. In dealing with Satan, I'm going to claim victory there is somebody greater than  me than the one who was in the world. And I know he's ticked off, I know, he's going around  like a roaring lion. I know that he's really mad that his time is short, but I'm going to battle  him with all I've got, and I'm not just going to say he's stronger than I am. When it comes to  resurrection, yeah, I, my body's not gonna be made perfect until then. But in the meantime,  I'm going to take good care of my body, and I'm going to offer it as a living sacrifice to God,  and I'm going to live in the light of His resurrection. I'm going to love the church with all of its  faults, because it is also the display of God's wisdom, I'm going to enjoy peace with God, and  enjoy being adopted as His child, even though the public adoption hasn't yet been announced to the whole world. I'm going to strain forward for holiness, and more holiness, I know I'm  going to fall far short in this life. But I can be a lot closer than I am now. And so by God's  grace, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm going to pursue holiness. I'm going to pray. And I'm  going to pray daringly, I'm going to pray for some things, that if I'm just going to go by a not  yet, I wouldn't even dare to ask for. So, I'm going to ask God to help me grow in prayer, to  discern more clearly what he wants to give, and then to be bold in asking for it. When it  comes to healing, I'm going to be able to live with God's will, if he chooses to say no, when I  asked him to remove a thorn from my life, but I'm not going to assume ahead of time that  he's not going to grant any mighty prayers for healing, I'm going to ask, and I'm going to ask  boldly on my own behalf and on behalf of others, I'm going to be open to the guidance of God, I'm not going to insist that every decision I make and every step I take be guided by an  audible message from God. But I am going to seek His guidance. And I'm going to be open to  the possibility that he's going to sometimes give me guidance that I would not have gotten  had I not sought it, and guidance that I would not have chosen if it had just been left to me  thinking through the situation. And when it comes to an encounter with God, I can thank God  for the ways in which I've already experienced him and come to know Him. But I am not going to settle. I'm going to be like Moses and say, show me your glory. And God says, well, there's  some things I can't show you. But here's what I'll do. And he shows him more than Moses had  ever seen before. And so when it comes to your encounter with God, don't settle for less than  he's willing to give. You're not going to you're it's always going to be through a glass darkly.  Remember, the apostle Paul was seeing through a glass darkly, when he'd already been to  Heaven and back. So that he believed that after he had been to Heaven and back, he was  seeing through a glass darkly. We are likely to be seeing a little more darkly than that yet. But the point is, even if you've come to know God in amazing ways, there's so much of God to  know that no matter how well the better people come to know God, those who have known  him the best seem to talk like they know him the least. It's kind of like these great master  geniuses of physics. You know, you get a high school sophomore, they think they know all  there is to know about physics. And then you get the great physicists in the world who think  they don't hardly know anything for sure. Because they know just how amazing and  astounding the world they're studying is. And so it is in our walk with God, the better you've  come to know and the more you could say, wow, I've got a long, long way to go. So in your  personal life, keep pressing on towards the goal and do so with this confidence. The Bible  says hope does not disappoint us. This expectation is hope because God has poured out His  love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he's given us you've got the Holy Spirit. That's  your tremendous comfort in this hope we were saved. Hope that's seen well, that's no hope at all, who hopes when he's already got? But if you hope for what you do not yet have you wait  for it patiently. So you have the Holy Spirit with you in this hope and in this expectation, and  you have these promises He will keep you strong to the end in that gap between already and 

not yet he will keep you strong all the way to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who began a good work, in you will carry it on to completion until  the day of Christ Jesus. And in the meantime, don't try to get too comfortable. Don't try to  settle into can't expect very much. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. And don't get into already  already already. Where you think everything is going to go just the way you expect and hope  because you've looked only at the already dimensions of what the Bible says Be willing to  even be torn. Be willing to be, you don't groan unless there's something uncomfortable going  on. And the groaning of Romans eight is the living between the already and the not yet be  willing to put up with a little groaning and a little tension, because that great tension is pulling you closer and closer to the day when you see him face to face. Dear Lord, we thank you for  your great work begun on this earth in Christ and launched and accomplished in such  wonderful ways. We praise You for the finished work of Christ and the already initiated work of the Holy Spirit. And we look forward to that day Lord Jesus when you come again, when the  Holy Spirit in all its fullness just overflows us and fills us with the reality of God and we pray  for that day. We pray Lord that in as we struggle, sometimes with puzzlement and questions,  trying to think things through and maybe even harder to live things through in this time  between the times in these last days, between the already and the not yet we We pray, Lord,  that you'll give us strength by your Spirit each day that we may live and rejoice in you for  Jesus sake. Amen.

Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2022, 6:55 AM