Understanding the Crucial Reality of the Already but Not Yet

From a recent interview with Tom Schreiner about his new book, The king in His Beauty. Why is understanding the tension of the “already but not yet” so crucial to rightly understanding the Bible? How might grasping this practically help a Christian struggling with sin? If we don’t understand the already but not yet, then we simply won’t and can’t understand the Scriptures. For example, when the kingdom comes in Jesus’ ministry, the dead are raised, demons are cast out, and the sick are healed. Satan’s kingdom is overthrown! The Gospel writers clarify that victory over sin and Satan are due to Christ’s death and resurrection. But what does this mean for us today if the kingdom has come? After all, sickness is rampant, death seems to reign over all, and Satan is alive and well. The answer is the already but not yet. The kingdom has arrived in Jesus and, among other things, the gift of the Spirit demonstrates

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Inaugurated eschatology: What it is and why it matters

Tony Reinke posts a portion of an interview published in 2008 in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology with professor Dr. C. Everett Berry. The excerpt, Tony suggests, has two particular strengths; first, it explains the basic contours of inaugurated eschatology quite well, and, second, it explains how this inaugurated eschatology should shape our thinking and daily Christian living: SBJT: How can the theological construct of inaugurated eschatology help us in forming a biblical understanding of Christian sanctification? C. Everett Berry: The term inauguration essentially refers to an act of ceremonial observance whereby a given party officially inducts another newly designated party into a special position of authority. Note also that this practice typically alludes to a significant transition wherein the subject being inaugurated represents a new phase of leadership or service. And it is here where insight has proven helpful to evangelicals as they attempt to conceptualize the theological flow of the biblical storyline and delineate the hermeneutical symmetry between Old Testament promise and

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Already Not Yet: belonging to the new era

Contrary to Jewish expectation, the Messiah has accomplished the work of redemption, the Spirit has been poured out, yet evil has not been eradicated, the general resurrection is still future, and the final state of God’s kingdom has not been established. In other words, the new era has begun–has been inaugurated–but it has not yet replaced the old era. Both ages exist simultaneously; and this means that ‘history,’ in the sense of temporal sequence, is not ultimately determinative in Paul’s salvation-historical scheme. Thus, the ‘change of aeons,’ while occurring historically at the cross, becomes real for the individual only at the point of faith. The ‘change of aeons’ that took place in Christ is experienced only ‘in Christ.’ Therefore, the person who lives after Christ’s death and resurrection and who has not appropriated the benefits of those events by faith lives in the old era yet: enslaved to sin, in the flesh, doomed to eternal death. On the other hand,

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Broken or Triumphant?

This is excellent from Dane Ortlund: “He has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”  –Hosea 6:1 Are Christians to be broken or triumphant? Both. But—let’s be clear what we mean. Are Christians to be broken? If by broken we mean downcast, long-faced, perpetually discouraged, hand-wringing, abject, ever grieving over sins—no. If by broken we mean contrite, low before the Lord, poignantly aware of personal weakness, self-divesting, able to laugh at ourselves, of sober judgment, sensitive to the depths of sin within us—yes. Are Christians to be triumphant? If by triumphant we mean self-assured, superficial, obtuse to personal weakness, beyond correction, self-confident, quick to diagnose others’ weaknesses and our strengths, showy, triumphalistic—no. If by triumphant we mean confident of God’s unconquerable purposes in the world through faltering disciples, bold with a boldness that accords with the outrageous promises of the Bible, quietly abandoning ourselves to God in light of

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“Awful and awesome at the same time”

I love this quote posted by Jimmy Davies: “To be like Jesus means that we must enter the complexity of both dignity and depravity.  We are made in the image of God–glorious.  We have taken on Adam and Eve’s hiding and blaming–ruin.  We are glorious ruins, bent glory. And it shows up in every moment of our existence until we one day see Jesus as he is and become pure as he is pure . . . To grow character, we must not deny or hide from the reality of our unique dignity.  We are made in the image of God, and we are uniquely woven with awesome beauty.  We may be remarkably handsome or bright, possess great musical ability or a hysterical sense of humor.  We may possess remarkable abilities to encourage other or to read the nuances of relationships.  Whatever marks us with glory, we are meant to prize it and use it for the sake of others. To grow

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Two mistakes in thinking about the redeemed life

Another example of the importance of understanding the Already, but Not Yet: Cornelis Plantinga Jr., Beyond Doubt (p. 89): People tend to make two mistakes when they think about the redeemed life. The first is to underestimate the sin that remains in us; it’s still there and it can still hurt us. The second is to underestimate the strength of God’s grace; God is determined to make us new. As a result, all Christians need to say two things. We admit that we are redeemed sinners. But we also say boldly and joyously that we are redeemed sinners. (HT: Justin Taylor)

Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and the Not Yet

Just ordered my copy! . New covenant believers live between “the already” and “not yet,” a point in redemptive history between the partial and complete fulfillment of God’s promises. This means they are exiles and pilgrims in the divinely ordained overlap of the ages. As Rev. Jason J. Stellman argues in his book Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and the Not Yet, this biblical motif shapes the identity of Christians at every turn and affects their every activity in both the sacred and secular realms. Stellman explores the Christian pilgrimage with deep biblical insight, humor, and relevance to our contemporary context, revealing how Christians are to think of themselves and their role this side of heaven. Retail $18.00 | Ligonier’s Price $14.40 Hardcover 6.25 x 9.25 | 193 Pages ISBN 1-56769-119-6 | Released August 2009 Order for $14.40 Table of Contents and Sample Chapter High-Res Image: Front Cover | Back Cover (HT: Ligonier Ministries)

Living for the Future

by Sinclair B. Ferguson Posted by Chris Larson at Ligonier Blog. (Quoted in John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology, p. 40-41) It is commonplace today in Reformed theology to recognize that the Christian lives “between the times” — already we are in Christ, but a yet more glorious future awaits us in the final consummation. There is, therefore, a “not yet” about our present Christian experience. Calvin well understood this, and he never dissolved the tension between the “already” and the “not yet.” But he also stressed the importance for the present of a life-focus on the future. Calvin sought, personally, to develop a balance of contempt for the present life with a deep gratitude for the blessings of God and a love and longing for the heavenly kingdom. The sense that the Lord would come and issue His final assessment on all and bring His elect to glory was a dominant motif for him. This, the

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These Last Days

Kim Riddlebarger writes the following in A Case for Amillennialism. It is clear throughout the New Testament that the “last days” commenced with the coming of Christ and his triumphant resurrection(Acts 2.17; Heb 1.2). These last days are also the time of salvation (2 Cor 6.2), for with the coming christ, the new creation began. The old had gone, and the new had come (2 Cor 5.17). Paul said that certain blessings of “the age to come,” including reconciliation, were won for us by Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection (Rom 4.25; 1 Cor 15.20-28). Paul spoke of these blessings as the present possession of those in union with Christ, for they no longer belong to “the old,” that is, this present evil age. And yet it is equally true that these blessings are not fully realized until the consummation, when creation itself is finally released from bondage (Rom 8.18-25) and when the earthly at last puts on the

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Carson on the Kingdom

This months issue of Evangelicals Now carries an excellent article by DA Carson on the dangers to avoid when seeking to understand the nature of the Kingdom of God. He lists 6 common errors, including a failure to appreciate the tension of the Already Not Yet of Kingdom come and coming. You can read the whole essay here. I reproduce this point for obvious reasons! Already, but not yet Indeed, that is the third arena where errors about the kingdom are not uncommon: tensions between the biblical descriptions of inaugurated eschatology (the kingdom has come) and futurist eschatology (the kingdom comes at the end). On the one hand, Jesus tells certain parables of the kingdom in order to get across that the expected ‘big bang’ is not yet. For instance (if I may use the formula much loved by the rabbis when they told their parables, and used by Jesus himself), it is the case with the kingdom as with

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