There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

the significance of being “already” and “not yet”

All this talk of what it means to be a holy church, and I forget to mention two reasonable applications of the fact that we are “already” holy and “not yet” holy! As it pertains to the fact that we’re “already” holy, I think that asks us to expect more from one another. Our flesh (in the deceitful sense), our pride of life–all those things we’re called to renounce–notwithstanding, that the Spirit dwells within gives us good reason to have confidence in the possibility of our sinning less. So lest you throw your hands up in holy exasperation, resigning yourself to the notion that no good thing can emerge from the human soul, think again. Being already Holy speaks to our potential for expressing that holiness.

Now as for our being “not yet” Holy, I think that addresses our reactions to the presence of unholiness. In other words, when we encounter what appears to be the absence of holiness in one another, we may be tempted to write one another off, or even to write the church off as a place “full of hypocrites” (the cliche so many use to justify their absence from the Church community). But the other’s being “not yet” holy should only be a reminder that we, too, are in the same struggle. It’s within that “not yet” community that we are stretched into reflecting grace back toward those who wrong us, and persevering in love for the community that, while imperfect (and often exasperating), is precisely what God must do (and does) for our sakes.



  Seth wrote @

What I find interesting is that Jesus never had a problem rebuking and encouraging people to holiness. He never seemed to shy away. And rarely do we see an instance in the N.T. where someone becomes upset with what Jesus says to him/her. Obviously he didn’t rebuke and point out sin in everyone he came in contact with. He seemed to pick and choose as the Father instructed him.

Going back to the point that Jesus encouraged people to holiness, my thought as to why he didn’t slink away is because he had their best interest always at heart. His Love was evident in his comments. His Humility was always present. And his care for their future must have come across in their conversation (even when you consider he only seemed to say a few words to some people).

I guess that’s what I was thinking about on Sunday. If we want to know how to help our fellow believers to be Holy, our best example is Christ and how he helped others in that respect.

  Patrick Lafferty wrote @

notice that Jesus’ most vociferous rebukes were directed at those who were the most convinced of their holiness and the most unteachable at that moment.

  Lucas wrote @

I belive that as we are considering the alredy, yet not ideals of sanctification that we sometimes make ourselves sound contradictory. We are A yet we are not A. I think that when we talk about this idea it is better to see us as already period. The only problem is not that we are yet not but that we do not yet KNOW that we are. I hope you can all follow that. We need to get our mind saved in order that we can come in line with the way that God already see us, already holy yet not realizing it. I think when we look at it this way we can start to understand Christ’s statements that were aimed at those who were not yet, but thought that they already were.

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