By Eric J. Bargerhuff
The Christian’s dilemma could be best characterized by the “already not yet” reality of the Christian life. As those who have trusted in Christ for our salvation, we stand before God in a positional state of “grace” (Romans 5:1-2). What this means is that we are no longer condemned, exonerated from wrath, covered by the blood of Jesus, promised an inheritance, and so forth. That’s the “already” aspect of being saved.
But then there is the “not yet.” Here in this life, we still struggle with the flesh, a battle with sin that reminds that we are not yet perfect, nor ever will be in this life. We must rely on God’s ongoing forgiveness and grace and the empowerment of the Spirit to have any measure of victory over our sin. But as Paul said, we “press on,” we labor and strive to be holy and set apart for God. In Philippians 2, Paul says we should “continue to work out” our salvation. Not work for, but work out. We don’t earn our salvation, rather we are to demonstrate that we’ve received it by faith and that this Spirit led faith compels us to change and grow spiritually. In other words, we seek to become like Jesus in character and conduct, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we seek to win souls and conform our lives to God’s will.
In sum, we are saved by grace, we stand in grace, and we grow spiritually by God’s grace which we need everyday in our lives. In one sense we are perfect in our standing before God, but still in the practical sense, not yet freed from our ongoing battle with sin. This is why we still need “daily grace” to forgive and cover our sin. But rest assured, our Lord is full of “grace and truth,” (John 1:14), and “from the fullness of his grace we have all received on blessing after another.” (John 1:16) Like waves of the sea that wash on the seashore, there is grace upon grace to wash our sins away…