A perfect future kingdom awaits those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. A kingdom with no sickness, death, disease, injustice, war, oppression, etc – a perfect kingdom. Now, however, we live in the already/not yet. The period where we can taste victory, but we can’t fully enjoy it because Jesus’ hasn’t yet returned.
One author captures the tension well when he says,
“The kingdom of God is both the foundation of the church and the goal of the world. Therefore, we have and we hope; we give thanks and we sigh for more.” – Kelly Kapic
So we live in the in-between. As we live in the already/not yet, how should we live our daily lives? Should we pull back to the fringes? Divorce ourselves from society? Or should we do something else?
How Should Christians Live in the In-Between?
We should do what Israel was told to do in Jeremiah 29: Work for the good of the city, for as the city flourishes we flourish (Jer. 29:5-7). As Christians we should lay down roots, conduct business, get married, have children pray for our leaders, and work to make the city a better place.
We can do that in at least three ways.
(1) Politics and Laws
Here is what one theologian says,
“True justice exists only in the society of God, and this will be truly fulfilled only after the Judgment. Nevertheless, while no society on earth can fully express this justice, the one that is more influenced by Christians and Christian teaching will more perfectly reflect a just society. For this reason, Christians have a duty toward government.” – Webber
Sure, politics aren’t going to solve all our problems, but politics and laws have a huge influence on our society.
“Laws express moral beliefs and judgments…They tells citizens what our society ought to value and condemn, what is worthy of our respect and what we should disapprove of.” – Gerson & Wehner
Think about the state of Colorado: Marijuana is now legal. That is a big deal. Not only because people now have access to drugs, but because it is going to influence people’s moral views on Marijuana.
Right now, some citizens may see it as morally wrong, but think about how people will see it in fifty years. As a generation comes and goes the view that it is wrong to use marijuana is going to fade into the background. And that is going to take place because a law was passed. So we can’t neglect the importance of politics and laws. They shape and influence our moral lives.
So when there is an election, we should be aware of the issues and educate our families and friends. We should vote and encourage others to do the same. Some of us should even get into politics.
(2) Truly Living as Disciples of Jesus
I was sitting with a friend at Starbucks the other day talking about how we as Christians can bring about change and work for the good of the city. And he asked this question,
“What if the world saw disciples actually living out their calling?”
I thought that was good a question. Think about it: What if we really lived as true disciples? What kind of impact do you think that would have on our community, city, country? Think about the witness we would be, the change we could bring, the difference we could make by truly living as Jesus did.
Now, you might be thinking, we have already tried that. This nation was founded by Christian men on Christian principles. While that is true, I would argue we haven’t always lived out our calling. Sure some Christians do, but a lot of people who claim to be Christians don’t live as Jesus did.
But what if we all did? I believe if we did, our society would be radically changed.
(3) Preaching the Gospel
I left this one for last because I believe it’s the most important. I believe that because the gospel changes hearts, which is important because our heart isn’t just the organ that pumps our blood, it’s our inner self.
In Psalm 51:10, when David prayed saying,
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10)
He wasn’t asking God for a literal heart transplant, instead he was asking God to change his will, desires, affections. He was asking God to transform him, so he lived and acted differently. That is what the gospel does. It transforms people, so that they live differently. So if we want to work for the good of our city and see true change in this country, we have to preach the gospel.
Question for Reflection
- What else should Christians do in the in-between?
Post adapted from the sermon: Hope is Not Lost