Throughout this semester there has been a constant theme in everything I have learned. The reading of Scripture, class lectures, and other readings have continually revealed the idea of the “Already/not yet” that we (Christians) find ourselves in. What I mean by that is basically because of salvation in Christ we are already justified and made right in the eyes of God. That is why Paul can write to a wicked group of Christians in Corinth and call them “Saints”. However, we are also in the state of “not yet” which means we have not fully arrived. Although we have been justified by the cross of Christ, we have not yet been perfected. Therefore, I can be confident in my Lord because I am already holy in His sight because of the blood of Christ, but I must always press into Him and seek to kill the sin that remains in me.
One of the encouraging aspects of this “Already/not yet” relationship is God gives previews of what is to come. For the most part this is the way God has chosen to reveal himself throughout history. He gives glimpses of the fullness that is to come. For example, the sacrificial system in the Old Testament. On the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16), the High Priest would have two goats to offer as a sacrifice for sin. One was slaughtered, spilling its blood on the mercy seat and on the other, the Priest would lay his hands and confess the sins of the nation. He then would let the goat free in a remote place as it bore the sins of Israel and carried them far away. This is a shadow of what would be fulfilled in Christ.
The same type of shadows can be seen in our lives today. Every joy that we experience is a shadow of the fullness of joy that we will experience one day in heaven with our Savior. Here and now we can enjoy a relationship with Him but it is nothing compared to what we will experience when we stand in him complete. In addition, there is another shadow, the shadow of suffering. I dare not say that suffering is not real or we shouldn’t agonize in suffering, but we should realize that it is momentary. We should praise Christ for the promise that every bit of suffering in our lives is a shadow of the Hell that we will never experience (Romans 8:18).
Crown him the Lord of life,who triumphed o'er the grave and rose victorious in the strifefor those he came to save. His glories now we sing,who died, and rose on high who died, eternal life to bring,and lives that death may die.