Friday, February 20, 2009

The "Already" and the "Not Yet""

I have written before of the theological notion of the "already-not-yet" aspect of the Kingdom of God, and today I read something in one of my texts for Systematic Theology II that clarifies it beautifully. John Frame, a noted theologian who teaches at the Reformed Theological Seminary's Orlando campus, writes:

"We live in tension between this age and the age to come. In Christ, the age to come has already arrived, but the present age, dominated by sin, will not expire until he returns. Christ has delivered us from 'the present evil age' (Gal. 1:4), so in him we already have the blessings of the age to come. But sin remains in us until the present age comes to an end (1 John 1:8-10). So while we are risen with Christ, we must still seek the things that are above (Col. 3:1-4). We have died to sin (v. 3), but we must 'put to death' the sins of this life (v. 5). So the Christian life is an atempt, motivated by God's grace, to live according to the principles of the age to come. We are motivated by the goal toward which God steers the ship of history."

With all that in mind, it is no wonder that Frame writes (as I have often said with far less eloquence): "It is a pity that the church's teaching on eschatology, the last days, has been concerned mostly with arguments about the order of events."

Rather, we should be fixing our eyes on what it means to live as Kingdom people who await the glory to come!


Rob Tims said...

Been working through the sermon on the mount, and all the blessings of the beatitudes reflect this principle. Even those in the future tense. This is important, for while this life is not our "best life now" (sorry Olsteen), there are still glimpses and pieces of eternity present as we live for The Kingdom in this Kingdom. good stuff! Love John Frame!

Chelsea said...

haha, "sorry Olsteen!" I love it!

Are your sermons available online? I'd love to hear what you're teaching on!

Thanks for reading :)