I get the “Not Yet.”
I believe in the “Not Yet.”
I think you can’t argue against the “Not Yet.”
I need some more “Already,” already.
If you’ve paid your dues in the pews you’ve heard this mentioned. It’s the biblical revelation that we live in the “Already, Not Yet.” Simply put, it’s the time between Jesus’ first and second coming. The era between his resurrection and his promised return. It’s the over lap of ages before the final new creation where heaven and earth quite literally collide (Revelation 21). If you want to impress your Christian friends just call it inaugurated eschatology. It’s all over the New Testament letters when you start looking for it. David Briones lists just a few. According to the bible Christians are:
Already adopted in Christ (Romans 8:15), but not yet adopted (Romans 8:23);
Already redeemed in Christ (Ephesians 1:7), but not yet redeemed (Ephesians 4:30);
Already sanctified in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2), but not yet sanctified (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24);
Already saved in Christ (Ephesians 2:8), but not yet saved (Romans 5:9);
Already raised with Christ (Ephesians 2:6), but not yet raised (1 Corinthians 15:52).
The Old Testament appeared to point to one eschatological event in the appearance of the Messiah. But Christ quickly made it clear that his ministry would come in two stages. His first coming marks the beginning of the end, the last days. His second coming marks the end. The great eschatological moment has happened- Jesus rose from the dead. Resurrection is our new reality. We have the present blessings of resurrection, including, but most certainly not limited to the forgiveness of sin, the defeat of death, and the filling of the Holy Spirit. And these are the signs, or seal, of the promised fulfillment of new creation in Jesus’ return and judgement. Actually, Jesus tells this about the “already” in John 5:24, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” According to Jesus the “already” is so real that we have, in a sense, bypassed judgement and already entered into eternal life. Wow. Really, wow!
But back to my confession- I get the “not yet.”
Not yet are we free from sin.
Not yet are we free from death.
Not yet are we free from guilt and shame.
Not yet is our world free from disease and hunger.
Not yet are we free from war.
Not yet are we reconciled to our fellow image bearers.
Not yet are we standing face to face with our Lord.
Not yet has Jesus returned.
Come, Lord Jesus, come. Seriously. For what it’s worth I really mean it. I’m ready to stand before you in judgement because I’m planning on standing IN you in judgement.
So how about some more of the already, already!
Already some answers to prayers for loved ones.
Already some healing.
Already some addicts being set free.
Already some broken hearts being mended.
Already some desperate people finding joy.
And since I’m asking, already some justice.
Already some wins over corruption.
Already some racial reconciliation.
Already some civility in politics.
Already some peace in the midst of war.
Already enemies becoming allies.
I’ll get even more personal and confessional.
I could use some already signs that I’m on the right path.
Already breakthroughs in my inner world.
Already some victory for the church.
Already some new converts to the faith instead of people falling away.
I could get into some biblical explanations and reasons for the “not yet.” It’s easy to craft a theological explanation for the not yet. And it can sound super spiritual to say I already have more than enough already- I already have my salvation, my hope, my family, my blessings. Yes and amen, I am already grateful for so much already. But God, some more of the already would be really great right about now.
More punch to my prayers.
More power in my worship.
More joy in my giving.
More wisdom in my work.
More favor in what I’m trying to do for the kingdom.
More signs and wonders.
More super-natural, Spirit-filled, undeniable God-things.
That’s my hope, and my prayer as we come out of Easter and into new creation-
I’m tired of the not yet. I’m ready for the already.
So give me a heart with faith and eyes to see and ears to hear and mouth to speak and hands to serve and feet to go. I know there are promises that are not yet. But I’m ready for every promise that is already.