Already, but Not Yet

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

~ Revelation 21:3–4 (ESV)

Tomorrow is a celebration. Tomorrow is also the acknowledgment of the “already, but not yet” tension of the gospel. “Already, but not yet” is a phrase that theologians often use to describe the reality of the current age we live in.

On the one hand, the kingdom of God has already come in the person of Jesus. This is good news! As the incarnate God-man, he died on the cross so that through his death and resurrection he might destroy Satan, sin, and death (Hebrews 2:14).

On the other hand, the perfect kingdom toward which he pointed awaits his personal return to earth. Until then, we experience the tension of living between the “already, but not yet” aspects of the kingdom of God. Easter is a celebration of this tension.

There is real life right now for those who trust in Christ: We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17–21), we have been saved and made alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:1–10), and as heirs with Christ we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons of God (Romans 8:12–17).

And yet there is far more to come for those who trust in Christ: We will have new bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35–49), we will be resurrected like Christ (Romans 6:4–5), and we will experience glorification as children of God (Romans 8:18–30).

The salvation that God brings is here! It is finished, and it is coming. Our hope is in Jesus who accomplished for us the “already, and yet to come.” Jesus, through his death, has already delivered his people from slavery to sin. Jesus, through his resurrection, has already conquered death, our worst enemy. But Jesus has not yet allowed us to experience a world without sin, death, and brokenness. He has not yet established his kingdom in full. His promise is to come back and do so.

Until then, we walk by faith in him. We look in hope to his coming, knowing that God does not fail to deliver on his promises. Because he was faithful in the already, we can trust that he will be faithful in the not yet. Jesus has inaugurated the reign of God so that the age to come has invaded the present age. One day, however, at the appointed time, the present age will finally give way to the fullness and completeness of the rule of God in Christ. He will usher in his kingdom in full—a new earth where only righteousness dwells. A land of promise—where there is life, abundance, satisfaction, delight, and rest.

Excerpted from Journey to the Cross © 2017 by Will Walker and Kendal Haug. Used by permission of New Growth Press. May not be reproduced without prior written permission.

JOURNEY TO THE CROSS: DEVOTIONS FOR LENT

Journey to the Cross moves us closer to the heart of Easter through forty days of Bible readings, prayers of confession and thanksgiving, and daily devotional readings. This forty-day devotional takes a deeper look into six central themes of the Christian life: repentance, humility, suffering, lament, sacrifice, and death. 

About the author

Will Walker and Kendal Haug

Will Walker, MA (Covenant Seminary), is the lead pastor and church planter of Providence Church in Austin, TX. He is the coauthor of The Gospel-Centered Life, The Gospel-Centered Community, The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens, and Journey to the Cross. Will and his wife Debbie have two children.

Kendal Haug, MA (Dallas Theological Seminary), is one of the founding pastors of Providence Church in Austin, TX. He leads the church in liturgical formation and direction, and he oversees the community of musicians that make up Providence Music. He is the coauthor of Journey to the Cross. Kendal and his wife Ashley have two daughters.

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Will Walker and Kendal Haug

Will Walker, MA (Covenant Seminary), is the lead pastor and church planter of Providence Church in Austin, TX. He is the coauthor of The Gospel-Centered Life, The Gospel-Centered Community, The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens, and Journey to the Cross. Will and his wife Debbie have two children.

Kendal Haug, MA (Dallas Theological Seminary), is one of the founding pastors of Providence Church in Austin, TX. He leads the church in liturgical formation and direction, and he oversees the community of musicians that make up Providence Music. He is the coauthor of Journey to the Cross. Kendal and his wife Ashley have two daughters.

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