Thoughts on the Already, But Not Yet

There is a discussion happening in Christian circles regarding the kingdom of God as being Already, but Not Yet.  Interestingly enough, I have never really given this concept any conscious thought, until now.  I hope to share this with you to maybe help you come to an understanding of what the kingdom of God is all about, and hopefully give you some encouragement in your journey.
Though this post is not meant to be exhaustive, I hope it brings some understanding to the concepts.  To me, it seems the nature of the already, not yet nature of the kingdom of God can be described in the terms of past, present, and future:

Past: God’s grace has been provided for us through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  This is known in Wesleyan circles as God’s Prevenient Grace.  Such grace is the grace that goes before us, before we are even thought of in order to bring us to salvation.  I think of the Scripture passage in Romans 5:8 where Paul speaks of the death of Christ for our sins while we were unaware of our sin.  This is what gives us our choice to either accept or reject God’s gift of grace and forgiveness. 

Present: In the present, we are living in a fallen world as a result of our sinful nature (Rom 5:15-21).  Through the acceptance of God’s grace, we come into right relationship with him, though we still are quite capable of sin in our lives.  During this present age of the already, not yet, we encounter pain, sorrow, hurt, trials and tribulations.  At the same time, we are given “glimpses” of what has occurred for us in the past through the redeeming love of Christ, and we are able to glance at what the future holds for us as we peek through the thin curtain of this world and God’s transcendent reality present in our lives.  Some examples of this might include miraculous healings, which happen on occasion.  I believe these healings to be indicators, or even “samplings” of God’s eternal power and a peek into what life will be like in God’s eternal presence.  When healings do not take place, we are reminded that we are still in the “not yet”, and that we are to continue praying for God to reveal himself to us.  Of course, this does not answer the question as to why things don’t always happen the way we believe they should.  This is a question I will be asking the Almighty when I enter into eternal grace.

Future: The “not yet” nature of the Kingdom of God is what Christians anticipate in the life after.  Unfortunately, some have made the future life the “goal” or “focus” of their ministry, which I believe takes away from what the real focus of our ministry should be, which is to live a holy life here and now in preparation for the future.  But, this anticipation is experienced because of the glimpses we are given throughout our brief earthly existence.  In Scripture, we are also given glimpses of what that future reality may look like.  Revelation 21:4 is a vision of that future reality where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more suffering, no more sin.  In the future, we will have ultimate healing as we will be constantly in the presence of Almighty God, basking in his glory.  This is why for Christians, death can be seen as healing (which we will discuss in a later post), and even victory as it is the moment when one is brought into complete wholeness by God’s grace.

Now I am sure that I have not hit every nuance that could be discussed about this concept, but I hope it brings a new perspective and hope to you today.  One of the biggest revelations for me has been to recognize that God is outside space and time as we know it, and he can even transcend (go back and forth) as he pleases, redeeming those prior to the cross and those in existence post-cross through the redemptive power of the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus.

I welcome your comments and discussion!

Grace and Peace,
        Aaron

Comments

  1. God is the almighty and He can do anything because he is very powerful. All our decisions and ideas must be made thinking of his name. Great post!

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