Already and Not Yet
To say that “Christ is Lord”, in some minds, can be easily disputed by the pain and suffering we see daily. Based on this evidence, one could surmise that if Jesus is truly Lord, then he must be doing a pretty bad job of running the show, due to crime and hardship we see within America alone. I’ve even heard many refer to God as an absent landlord due to his promise that the Kingdom of God is among us (Luke 17:21), yet his apparent lack of intervention. However, on closer examination we can see evidence of the Kingdom of God existing within America, while also not yet functioning to the full extent. Christianity, while not the official religion of America, has been the major influence on our shaping of government, laws, and moral guidance. From the first independent proclamation that under God, all men are created equal, the evidence of a Christian theology has permeated our constitution. Freedom, liberty, and equality is kept under the sovereign guidance of biblical precedence and not an every-man for himself attitude. This ordered structure of God first above the individual as well as the collective majority is the American subservience to the Kingdom of God. However, while our formal allegiance as a country may be to the authority of God’s Kingdom in philosophy, does not mean that it may be apparent when observing the culture. Much of this reason is due to the fact that we are free, within that God ordained hierarchy, to choose our loyalty. While we are beneficiaries of the overarching principles of the Kingdom of God, we are not forced to abide by its specific values in our daily lives. This leaves a tension within our country that on one hand seeks Kingdom guidance in architecting a better society, yet on the other hand resists that same guidance in personal life decisions. This dichotomy plagues American culture with crime, hate, pain, and suffering without hope. This unconsummated view of the Kingdom as not yet in fruition is not something new to American culture. As Ladd states, “The early church found itself living in a tension between realization and expectation — between ‘already’ and ‘not yet’.” We too are in a tensive state between the hope for a better way of how things should be, and a painful awareness of how things actually are. Though our country may have been founded on Kingdom philosophy it is conditional on the individual’s submission to Christ, whether we collectively as a society can experience the truth and abundance of life the Kingdom of God provides hear and now.
Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament (p. 368). Eerdmans Publishing Co – A. Kindle Edition.