As God’s people, we are committed to God’s reign in the here and now… in anticipation of the Kingdom of God’s rule that is to come. The ultimate reign in heaven is still to come. But to what degree is the Kingdom being lived out in the here and now in the meantime? What are we doing to live it out?
It’s too easy to say either, “God will bring in his Kingdom whenever he does—we can do nothing,” or to say, “It’s up to us to bring in the Kingdom of God by our own hands.” Neither is true on its own, for we live in the tension between the now and the not yet.
This theological concept of “already” and “not yet” (original posited by Gerhardus Vos, then later popularized by George Eldon Ladd) provides a theological framework for believing in the present-day activity of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is here, among us, inside us, around us, yet not fully realized. Jesus brought it in part at his first coming. He will bring it in full at his second coming. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So Jesus wants us to express and experience more and more of the Kingdom, even as we anticipate its full expression at his second coming.
What are the implications of the now and the not yet for your ministry?