27/06/17 - Pastor Young
This week, Pastor Tim used a phrase that may have been somewhat unfamiliar to some of us: "already, but not yet".
Picture a Venn diagram, with the first circle as the time of sin and death that we have known. The second circle is the age of Jesus's complete reign. Neither circle fully represents the time that we are living in -- we are in the overlapping part of the diagram, because we know that Jesus has come, and has defeated sin and death, and yet we continue to battle with sin.
This middle part then is where we live, and it is what is meant by "already, but not yet". If you've ever struggled with sin, and yet you knew that you were a follower of Christ, this should give clarity as to why the battle still rages within. We are made new, and yet the old is still being put to death within us, and our minds are continuing to be renewed.
The reality of Christ's rule is already true, but not yet fully realised. It is as though a herald of the new kingdom has come to deliver the good news, but the news hasn't reached everyone (and even every part of our hearts!). There are still battles with the spiritual realm, and opposition from those that refuse to believe the good news. We still struggle with our own flesh, although our spirits are willing.
What does this mean for us, as those that are living between the two ages?
There is a need in the present age to respond. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a divided nation about "the fierce urgency of now" to remind them of the folly of procrastination in making a decision. Sitting on the fence in that time was to be complicit in a decision -- a decision for war. And like then, fence-sitting exists only in our minds, while in reality, it is akin to betrayal.
Jesus spoke repeatedly of the kingdom of God, and demonstrated His own identity as our Saviour and King. If we are to be a part of this kingdom which has begun, but has not yet been fully realised, we must bow our knees and proclaim allegiance to this King. He has freed us from our previous bonds to sin and death -- the characteristics of the age that was, and still is until the completion of the coming of the kingdom. He has called us to join Him, and we must respond.
If we have already responded by saying yes to Jesus, we must obey our King. Faith is accompanied by obedience, and a demonstration of this obedience is in battling the sin that still exists, and continues to wage war against us. Although we are citizens of this new kingdom, until its fully realised form, we are still engaged in skirmishes in this present age. You have seen it before in the day-to-day struggles to battle against your own flesh in order to follow Christ, and in the spiritual opposition of our enemy the devil.
Take up arms, then, and battle in order to no longer be divided within. Slay your flesh in order to die to yourself and destroy hypocrisy. Cling to your faith, for it is what shields you from the outside attacks of the adversary.
And we shall continue to battle, and lift up our eyes in hope for the promised day; for the "not yet" to become "today".
In urgent decisiveness with you,