Already and Not Yet - Wednesday September 17, 2014
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 2 Thessalonians 4:16
Some of you may ask, "If the kingdom of God is always advancing, why are there fewer Christians now than there used to be in the United States?" It's helpful here to differentiate between cultural Christians, congregational Christians, and convictional Christians. Cultural Christians are those who say, "Of course, I'm a Christian. I'm an American!" Congregational Christians are those who say, "Of course, I'm a Christian. I go to church." Convictional Christians are those who have a personal relationship with the Lord through receiving His forgiveness for their sins. It is true there has been a retreat in the first two categories, but those people were not Christians in the first place. It's just less conventional now to be a Christian.
But for the true Christians, a glorious future awaits. There will be a day when the King reveals Himself to the world: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout!" The time is coming when His kingdom will be visible. Some see it already: a woman sick with cancer in the hospital put on her best dress for bed one night. The nurse asked her, "Are you going somewhere?" "Yes," she replied. "I'm going to see my King!"
We are living in the "already" and "not yet" period of the kingdom. Jesus is already King. He is not yet revealed to the world. According to the Puritans, the kingdom comes in two installments. We live in the "kingdom of grace." We look forward to "the kingdom of glory." May we give You glory, Lord, in this in-between time we have to serve You.
The King and His Kingdom,
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SCRIPTURE REFERENCB-ES: Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible B) The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are from the Holy, Bible, New International Version, copyright B) 1973, 1978, 1984 by InternaB-tional Bible Society; (NKJV) are from New King James Version B) 1982 by Thomas Nelson; (NLT) are from the New Living Translation, B) 1996, Tyndale House Publishers; (ESV) are from English Standard VersionB., B) 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers; (TM) are from The Message B) 1993 by NavPress Publishers.