Christians live in the now and not yet.
The now? Saved by grace, but the sin nature remains—and we wrestle with the darn thing every day. The Holy Spirit indwells us, but we wallow in the muddy place between salvation and glorification. That zone where the butterfly battles to free itself from its chrysalis. Where the new creation struggles to crack its shell and emerge.
The not yet, our glorification, that perfect state of oneness with God without that pesky sin nature? Well, it bobs on the horizon. We see it. We long for it.
But The not yet, our glorification, that perfect state of oneness with God without that pesky sin nature? Well, it bobs on the horizon. We see it. We long for it.
But for now, we fight the flesh.
In Romans 6-8, Paul declares the wonder of the new creation, acknowledges the tug of sin, and redirects us to the power of the Holy Spirit. Here’s some encouragement for the in-between time:
1. God’s doing the heavy lifting.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13 NIV
Don’t try harder. God works in you both to will and to do. Instead of fighting the current of the sin nature, go with the flow of the Spirit.
2. Starve a cold; feed a fever.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. Romans 6:11-13
Starve the sin nature. Scripture says we are dead to it. Note: It’s not dead yet, but you are dead to it. Therefore, when it pokes at you, give it the hand. Instead, feed the new creation that now responds to the Holy Spirit. The one you feed will flourish.
3. Run the three-legged race.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16, 25
When you run a three-legged race, you must sync up with you partner. Two partners vie for your affection: the sin nature and the Holy Spirit. Every choice comes down to partnership. God’s grace moves you toward Himself, but you must take the step.
In the not yet, we will walk in glory as Jesus does. Until then, we struggle. It’s okay to get tired, but it’s not okay to quit. Hang in there now, the not yet is coming.
Workout for the Week: The Now and the Not Yet
Memory Verse: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16, 25
Meditation Passage: Romans 6-8
Do it: God already at work; go with Him.
The spiritual discipline for April is study. For a new angle on some of the women in the Bible, check out Vindicating the Vixens. This book was edited by one of my professors, Dr. Sandy Glahn.
Ready for another quiz? This one covers depravity.
- Man can reach God without coming to Christ. T/F
- Man is basically good. T/F
- In order to go to heaven, you must do more good things than bad. T/F
- All religions worship the same god, so each is a valid way to heaven. T/F
- God’s forgiveness depends on what we do to earn it. T/F
- Man is essentially and unchangeably bad apart form God. T/F
- God’s grace is unmerited and given solely by His choice. T/F
- Man can do good on his own if he tries really hard. T/F
- God desires all men to be saved. T/F
- What Adam and Eve did affected everyone else. T/F
Answers: 1. F 2. F 3. F 4. F 5. F 6. T 7. T 8. F 9. T 10. T