The gift of eternal life guarantees that I have been and will be forgiven, and that every broken thing inside me will be completely repaired.
It really is location, location, location. If you’re going to live with peace of heart and with hope and courage, you have to know your place in the work of God. There are two markers of that work that really do locate you, tell you what God is doing, and inform you as to how you should live right here, right now. As I have said before, you live between the “already” and the “not yet.”
First, it is vital for you and me to always remember that we live in the “already” of complete forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a “hope it will be” thing. It’s an “accomplished and done” thing. You do not have to hope that you will be forgiven. You do not have to be concerned that the process of forgiveness will somehow fail. Why? Because your complete and final forgiveness was accomplished on the cross of Jesus Christ. The perfect sacrifice of the completely righteous Lamb fully satisfied the holy requirements of God and left you righteous and without penalty in his sight. So you never have to worry that you will be so bad that God will reject you. You never have to hide your sin. You never have to do things to win God’s favor. You never have to cower in shame. You never have to rationalize, excuse, defend, or shift the blame. You never have to pretend that you are better than you are. You never have to present arguments for your righteousness. You never have to fear being known or exposed. You never have to compare the size of your sin to the size of another’s. You never have to parade your righteousness so it can be seen by others. You never have to wonder if God’s going to get exhausted with how often you mess up. All of these are acts of gospel irrationality because you have been completely forgiven.
On the other end, it is essential to understand the “not yet” of your final repair. Yes, you have been fully forgiven, but you have not yet been completely rebuilt into all that grace will make you. Sin still remains, the war for your heart still rages, the world around you is still broken, spiritual danger still lurks, and you have not yet been fully re-formed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. The cross of Jesus guarantees that all of these broken things will be fixed, but they are not fixed yet.
So as I bask in the complete forgiveness that I have been given and enjoy freedom from the anxiety that I will not measure up, I cannot live unwisely. One danger (sin) still lives inside me and another (temptation) still lurks outside me, so I am still a person in daily and desperate need of grace. Forgiveness is complete. Final restoration is yet to come. Knowing you live in between the two is the key to a restful and wise Christian life.
For further study and encouragement: 2 Peter 3:1–13
Taken from New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp, © 2014, pp. 132-162. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.