In theology, there’s a concept called “already-not-yet.” It basically expresses a way of understanding the fact that the Kingdom of God has already been established on earth through Jesus Christ, but has not yet been fulfilled completely. We see the evidence of the not-yet all the time, everything is not made right and there is still pain and suffering.
As of right now, we all live in between the already and the not yet. In theology, we call this “dialectical tension.” The difficulty for us is figuring out how to live in the already-not yet tension.
We experience these sorts of tensions all throughout our lives. I liked to call engagement “purgatory” when I was going through it for 13 months. We feel this tension when we have interviewed for a job and are waiting to hear back from them. These are small tastes of the reality that we constantly live in.
During this already-not-yet tension, we are awaiting the return of Christ to make all things new. In the mean-time, we strive to live out the gospel in word and deed. This means that we work for justice and peace and against oppression while striving for personal holiness. We may not see the fruits of our labors, but it is essential for the Christian to be living in this way.
The reality is that we are always living in tension. We are always stuck in the waiting. But one day, Christ will return and our waiting will be over. We long for that day, awaiting the glorious return of Christ when all things will be made right.