I have a hard time with it. Not because I disagree with it, but because I’m incredibly impatient. Slow, hard growth is painful and uncomfortable and I’d really rather be holy now (and not just positionally), thank you very much.
You can imagine the problems that this can bring. It’s easy to despair over the presence of sin, to grow weary in the fight to put it to death. To sometimes feel a little hopeless.
[W]e live between two moments in salvation history—between the arrival of salvation through Jesus’s first coming and the ultimate fulfillment of our salvation when Jesus returns and establishes his eternal kingdom. Theologians call this in-between reality the “already” and the “not yet” aspects of our salvation.
Jesus has already brought salvation by his substitutionary death on the cross and his resurrection. Jesus has already made us new creatures with new desires and the power to obey (2 Corinthians 5:17). He has already freed us from slavery to sin (Romans 6:6).
But we’ve not yet arrived. He has not yet fully vanquished sin and Satan. Jesus has not yet freed us from the presence and consequences of sin. He has not yet banished death, wiped away every tear, punished all injustice, and established everlasting peace (Revelation 21:1-8).
The already and not yet reality of our salvation helps keep things in perspective. We shouldn’t be surprised that even though we’ve been changed, we still have to struggle with weaknesses and imperfections. We still have to deal with the ugliness of life in a fallen world where people let us down and disappoint us and where sickness and death break our hearts. So we shouldn’t despair over ongoing struggles with sin. This is part of the deal. Jesus has already brought salvation. But he’s not yet taken us home (pp. 146-147).
I have some sins that I really struggle with. I hate that even when I’m trying to be careful with my language and tone, I still come across as arrogant. I hate that something as vital and powerful as prayer—especially intercessory prayer—isn’t my first reaction.
But I don’t need to despair. There will be a day when I won’t be seen as arrogant. There will be a day when prayer will be as natural as breathing. I’m working toward it, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But not yet.