The “Already” of the “Already” and “Not Yet” Tension

Sometimes theologians speak of the tension between the already and the not yet. What they mean is that there is a kind of theological tension between the fact that Jesus has already come and inaugurated His glorious kingdom, and the fact that His kingdom certainly does not exist in its fullness yet. What a wonderful truth that Christ has come and brought in the reality of His kingdom! Jesus said in Matthew 12:28: “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Here are three glorious truths about the present reality of His kingdom that we experience as believers.

1. We have already been brought into that kingdom!

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). We are not waiting for the new birth, the indwelling of God’s Spirit, union with Christ, justification, and the forgiveness of our sins. We have these things and much more. We even get to experience some of that corporate kingdom joy as we come together as believers in our local churches on the Lord’s Day. By God’s grace, we have entered a new realm of experience—the kingdom of Jesus Christ!

2. Satan has already been soundly defeated!

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). Christ’s death on the cross secured Satan’s defeat. Jesus’ victory over death was secured by His death. Since this death blow was secured in Christ’s death, there was no reason for Christ to remain dead—thus, the resurrection signified His victory. This does not negate spiritual warfare. It does not negate the fact that we are commanded to put sin to death and must be very aware of our spiritual enemy. However, it certainly means that we must recognize that we fight from a position of victory in Jesus.

3. We can, even now, experience the peace and joy of Christ’s kingdom!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). As we hope for the fullness of the kingdom to come in at Christ’s coming, we can presently rejoice in the Lord and experience His peace that passes understanding.

There are many things we must understand about the truth that the kingdom’s fullness is not yet here. There are warnings in Scripture to heed. There are commands in Scripture to obey. There is service we have been given the privilege to engage in. Nonetheless, there are so many wonderful blessings we presently enjoy because Christ has already delivered us from the domain of darkness and placed us in the kingdom of Christ!

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