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Q&A

Q&A: Already-Not-Yet

Question: My question is regarding our “entanglement” with Christ that you spoke about a few weeks ago. In the sermon you noted how we are joined with Christ like those two particles that can be separated by light years of distance and yet both will react equally to a force acting on the other one. So here is my question: If I am entangled with Christ who is never affected/influenced by sin, temptation etc…, how and why do those things affect/influence me?

Answer: As I mentioned in my sermon, the New Testament teaches that we are in a curious stage of history in which all that is true about us and the world because of Christ is not yet manifested as true. This is what scholars sometimes refer to as “the already-not-yet” tension of the NT. So, as Hebrews 2 teaches, for example, all things are already ‘put under our feet,” but we do not yet see all things put under our feet (Heb. 2:7-8).

Here’s an analogy. When you turn on a light, it looks to you like the room is instantly made bright. Yet, if you were (say) a sub-atomic particle called a muon which travels close to the speed of light and exists for only a fraction of a second, it would take half a lifetime or more for that room to be filled with light. So too, from God’s perspective, the gap between what Christ accomplished when he died and rose again is almost non-existent, though from our perspective it has already taken 2,000 years and may, for all we know, take another 20,000 years before the cosmos reflects the truth of all Christ accomplished. Like Scripture says (2 Pet. 3), a day with the Lord is like a 1,000 years for us.

The same is true of us. We’re sort of a microcosm of the cosmos. It is true that we are entangled with Christ, but we don’t yet see this truth perfectly manifested in our life. Our task, however, is to yield to the Spirit and manifest as much of this truth now as we possibly can. We are to be the “already” in the midst of the “not yet”. We’re to put on display, as much as possible, what heaven will look like when it finally comes. And we do this by first envisioning ourselves as we truly are, taking every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5) and by then living our lives in accordance with who we truly are, as much as possible.

That is faith: envisioning the truth about ourselves and every other person we see as a “substantial reality” (Heb. 11:1), and then stepping into that vision by how we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day lives.

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