Friday, September 28, 2012

Already Begun, Not Yet Done

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus came “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15). Jesus was announcing that the kingdom of God, long ago promised in the Old Testament, had now come.

After the cross and the resurrection, and before He ascended to heaven to sit on His throne at the right hand of the Father, the place of ruling and reigning, Jesus declared to His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus was announcing that He was now King over heaven and earth.

What happened in between was about how the kingdom came into the world and Jesus became the King. That is why the Gospels spend so much time on the kingdom of God (a.k.a. the “kingdom of heaven,” in Matthew). That is why Jesus spent so much time teaching about the kingdom of God and demonstrating it through healings and exorcisms and other miracles.

So the kingdom of God has begun in the earth. However, it has not yet arrived in all its fullness. That will not happen until King Jesus returns. We are living in between the times of its inauguration and its final fulfillment. Some refer to this reality as “already/not yet.” I call it, “Already begun, not yet done.” As the apostle John said, “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8). This present age has been invaded by the age of God’s kingdom and is already in the process of passing away. The age of God’s kingdom has already begun to shine, and its light continues to increase as more and more people turn to the Lord Jesus.