The Now and Not Yet

Christmas is usually a fun time for families. Kids get excited about the gifts which slowly build under the tree. But  what if kids ask, “Can I go ahead and open MY gifts.  They have my name on them?”Gifts_xmas

Of course in our family, Rahel and Kaleb know that Jos and I would never let them open their gifts early. YES – the gifts are theirs because they have their name on them but NO – they have to wait.

So the question is – “Are the gifts under the tree really Rahel and Kaleb’s gifts?” Well – the answer is Yes and No. In a sense they are their gifts right NOW, but in another sense they are NOT YET their gifts. The same can be said of the Kingdom of God.

The reign and rule of God is here and yet it is not complete.  And because of this “now and not yet” reign of God here on earth, there is tension.

If God is the almighty Lord over all, why is there so much pain and brokenness in the world? If Jesus defeated sin and Satan on the cross, why does it seems like evil keeps going along unchecked? If I’m a Christian and the Holy Spirit lives in me, why do I struggle with sin?

2000 years ago, Jesus’ on the death on the cross and his resurrection defeated of evil. There is no chance that sin and Satan will somehow make a comeback and win the war. Christians celebrate every Sunday is because we know God has won. Evil is finished.

Just like the presents under the tree – if the gift has Kaleb’s name on it – it’s his! “Father and Mother Christmas” aren’t going to decided to unwrap the gift and take it back to the store.

It’s a done deal – right now.  But… the tension comes with the “not yet.”

For now evil – both personal evil and all the evil we see in this world – has not been fully defeated. There is still heartache and pain. There is still tragedy in this life. Even when we come to Christ in repentance and faith – we still struggle with our own sin.  The Spirit brings a new heart but the old nature has not been fully defeated.

But the end with come. There will come a day with God’s rule and reign on this earth is complete. When death rules no more. When sin and Satan are fully defeated.  When the child of God doesn’t have the fleshy battle any more.

But until that day…we live in anticipation. We live with hope. We live with the tension of the now and not yet.

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Chris Hatch

Seeking to love God and neighbor