So, a very prominent manifestation of blatant unbelief in the Evangelical churches today is to allow the “not yet” to “eat up” or gut/overrule/obliterate the “already” in terms of it having any practical reality in the faith of believers. Such unbelief has got to stop for it invites the divine curse upon that unbelief. The “not yet” perspective indeed has a role to play in the eschatological orientation as the Bible defines it, but absolutely NOT one that is to the denial of the “already”. The Biblical orientation from the get-go is to live by faith, not by sight. Abraham and his family believed themselves to be possessors of the promised land of Canaan long before the actual historical arrival of Joshua and his army of conquest. In terms of the world/cosmos as a whole, we Christians are called today to stand in the same sort of shoes of faith that Abraham himself did. Everything rides on the fact of the “already”. The resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Christ mark the definitive advent — the “already” — of the “new creation”.
Now, why is this Pauline Eschatological impulse that we have noted here important?
Simply because the nowness of the “age to come” has been so long buried and continues to be buried underneath the flotsam and jetsam of those in the Church who would rather overemphasize the “not yetness” of the age to come. They accuse us who preach this nowness of an “over-realized” eschatology, by which they mean that our expectations of what Christ intends to accomplish before His return is too high to the point of being dangerous. They cast their eyes upon the landscape and they see how Christians are marginalized and they say, “Thus it has ever been, thus it is now, thus it will ever be. Amen,” completely ignoring the triumph of the Gospel and of Christianity in periods throughout history.
They thus make a virtue out of the expectation that the gates of Hell shall prevail. Their theology is all Crucifixion and no Resurrection and Ascension. They see the “not yet” of our Reformed Hermeneutic as corporeally incarnating itself into all of reality and all of our living but the “now” victory of our Reformed Hermeneutic in their sermons, books, and tours is all “spiritual,” which is to say not only that it has no present tactile reality anyplace beyond the Church, but that it never will have any present tactile reality anyplace beyond the Church.