The comfort of the already and the not yet.


Already at the cross and in the grave, we have shared in the death and resurrection of Christ. Already the old person of sin is dead, and the new person of righteousness is alive if we are Christians. If anyone is already in Christ, he or she is a new creation and the old has passed away.


But let’s be humble because the old person has not yet fully gone. The new person has not yet fully taken over. The fact is, we still sin. We already have new life, but it is not yet fully displayed.


Think of a couple expecting a child. They are in the "already but not yet." In one way they already have a child, and, in another way, they do not yet have a child. They can hardly wait for the child to become a full reality in their life. In the same way, we as believers experience the already but not yet of our new life in Christ, but we must wait patiently before it becomes a complete reality on the Day of the Lord.


I love the words of Col2: 3 & 4: "your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." The life guaranteed by God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as ours at our baptism, is not fully ours yet; it is still hidden in Christ but will be fully revealed at his second coming.


We can draw great comfort and strength from this when we become discouraged by our failures, when accusing fingers get pointed at us. When this happens, we can console ourselves that there will come a time when our new lives in Christ will be fully and completely revealed for all to see because of the cross and the grave we died and have already risen with Christ.


Because we humbly acknowledge the “not yet” of our existence, we are motivated to "put to death" what already died on the cross: "sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Col 3:5). We must rid ourselves of "anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language" (Col 3:8). We must not lie to each other (Col 3:9).

Instead, we must clothe ourselves with what we own, but has not yet been fully disclosed: "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Col 3:12).

We must bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances we may have against one another. And, above all we must have love (Col 3:13,14).


This is how the death of Christ – and his resurrection – becomes more and more unveiled in the church of Christ, – until on the Day of the Lord, when it will be fully revealed, and we will share in the glory of the Lord.


Let’s embrace this truth, personally promised to each of us at our baptism, by taking off the filthy rags of the old life and put on the clothes of Christ’s resurrection - compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, purity, and love!

Let’s live fully what we already are, in anticipation of what we in faith know we are not yet, but certainly will be!