For any person who thinks about the kingdom of God, they will have to wrestle with the “now and not yet” tension. An illustration often used to think about this is the mountain view, it’s where you witness in the distance the tops of all the mountains ahead of you without seeing the valleys in between. Another illustration might be that off a football game where one side has already won but there is still time on the clock until the game is finished. This is where the Christian lives, they live in the knowledge of Christ’s victory and in a world where as yet its not all over.
Living by faith in the word of God (Jesus) as we continue to live in the world
In may just be the case for many Christians that without a physical building to attend to have arrived at the conclusion of not knowing what to do as a Christian. In other words, imagine a scenario where the world is reset and Christians do not have the world to benefit from without them first investing. What would they do differently? In many ways, this is something which ought to be considered, whilst at the same time, we are to continue in the faith once delivered, proclaiming the Gospel and encouraging those who follow Christ to not turn back. Those who are “poor in spirit” and “heavy laden” feel the condition of Christianity at this present time, that it’s not fit in all quarters to deal with its own problems, yet they continue steadfastly in the Faith. They are those who find comfort in the fellowship of God’s people, in the congregational worship of God and they know that the church needs to continue its reform.
The valley and the peak
Since the Bible gives us a very optimistic view of the future, where the Gospel and Kingdom of God continue to advance and where the weeds are removed from the wheat field, the unrighteous from the righteous in Christ. The Christian can afford to be patient and plan for the future, it may be a future that we won’t see for ourselves, but faith will cause us to not suffer from such shortsightedness when it comes to planning for that future.
The church is not only able to think about the future and those who will live there, they should also make plans and provisions for them. So that those who belong to the faith in the future are left an inheritance by those who came before them. The advance of the Gospel is how the faith is handed down from one generation to another and this must continue. The point here is to realise that our little steps in the valley are in small ways making progress for those who come after us.
The Victory lasts
On the cross, Christ uttered the words “it is finished”, He now sits at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are made His footstool (Psalm 110). In Colossians, we learn that all things were created through Him and for Him (Col 1:16) and “…without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). Sin separates a person from God and physical death is but an image for the spiritual death which is present. In Christ we live and the Gospel is the reality altering message of God and until the final kingdom is a reality there will be many valleys, but we know that the victory belongs to Christ.