The Mystery of the Kingdom

"Already but not yet."  A very compact concept that contains a wealth of truth and encouragement.  Today I read from a devotional "How Great is our God: Classic Writings from History's Greatest Christian Thinkers" January 3rd entry by George Eldon Ladd, written in 1959 and titled "The Mystery of the Kingdom".

It was especially appropriate timing to have come across this entry, as earlier just this week the concept of "Already but not yet" arose in a conversation.  We discussed how the Christian experiences redemption 'right here and right now' but also how there is a 'full' redemption coming.  How we know forgiveness of sin, freedom from it, and even perhaps cessation of many 'sins' in this life, but that we will one day yet be completely done with sin and become fully righteous.  We acknowledged that Jesus has won the victory, but there is a victory yet to come.  We have been purchased, there is a deposit within us, and yet we have a forward looking glorious hope of being fully redeemed.

I say especially appropriate to have read Ladd because he points to some of the scriptural references that lead to this understanding of 'Already but not yet'.

The Kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality (Matthew 12:28, Mark 10:15)
The Kingdom is an inheritance which God will bestow upon His people when Christ comes (Matthew 25:34)
The Kingdom is a future blessing (1 Cor 15:50, Luke 12:32)
It's an inner spiritual redemptive blessing (Romans 14:17) experience only by new birth (John 3:3)
Yet it has to do with the government of the nations of the world (Rev 11:15)
It's a realm men enter now (Matt 21:31)
It's a realm into which they will enter tomorrow (Matt 8:11)

Ladd's final statement, "Obviously no simple explanation can do justice to such a rich but diverse variety of teaching."  My heart resonates.  Though not simple indeed, there are some basic and wonderful truths that are clear.

- There is no need for fear or uncertainty.  The magnificent King appears, we are undone and we fall over as dead, He is too much to bear, but He places His hand on us and says, "You are mine."  This is now settled - it is 'already'.  He commisions us to follow Him and work His fields on His mission.  "I am coming back for you".  This is future and certain.  Satan whispers, "Did the King say He would return?  He will not return. He has left you here. "You are mine", He says. Indeed?"  And we can point to the Word, as well as the saints of old and of now, and say, "Satan, you liar and deceiver.  Look inside of me.  See the deposit? Redemption is coming.  In fact, it is already mine. 'Not yet', but He is coming again!"
- We can play to the whistle.  Athletes that play to win the game, play to the whistle.  All energy and effort that can be mustered is fully being spent until the whistle blows, until the bell rings, until the tape is broken at the finish line.  The concept of letting up before the end is unknown to this athlete.  We are 'already' on the winning team, but we have 'not yet' played the full season.  We don't get a choice of whether we play the game, so get on the winning team, know that the Commander of this team has secured the prize, know that He has given us that same Spirit to get on the field and give it everything until He blows the whistle. The trumpet will sound and we will join in the victory lap of all victory laps with Him.
- How about you.  How does knowing that the Kingdom of God is near and, in fact, already here, as well as still yet to come in it's full power and does this reality - when sunk deep into your brain and heart - how does it inform you in this very 'now' moment?

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