I sit here semi-listless, after another not-great sleep, sinuses packed as with cement (sneezing and dripping should return later), eyes hurting, head throbbing. That's just my body, though, right? My spiritual nature is another thing.
Yes, it's another thing, but it's in my body. God made Adam's flesh, breathed into it the spirit of life, and he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). I am one person, comprised of body, soul, and spirit. The elements may be distinct, but they're related.
And so I did my Bible reading, but it wasn't terribly rewarding. I tried to pray on the way to work, but it wasn't much. I don't think Heaven got excited. And here I sit, not quite zombielike, but... well, not much.
And this is nothing, absolutely nothing. Other people have real issues they're dealing with. Joni wakes up today, still a paraplegic, after decades of paraplegia. My brother David Wayne (keep praying for him) is still dealing with that damnable monster cancer. I know specifically some of you, my dear readers, are dealing with physical issues that make my silly, passing allergies embarrassingly trivial.
Physical issues, mental issues, temperamental issues, moral issues. This one brother is a terrific writer, but brittle and fragile. This other one is boastful and crass and taints the way he expresses his love for Jesus with self-defeating crudity. That woman has a sharp tongue she hasn't gotten to the root of; this fellow hasn't bridled his thought-life as he should; that one has desires that must be brought to the Cross....
On and on it goes. That's this life, for the Christian. The phrases I think of to express it are all so over-used that I don't even want to type them — but they're true. That's why they're over-used.
We are broken people who are in-process. That's just as true of a John MacArthur, with his very different construction, as it is of me. After years of being saved, of growth in sanctification, of fruitful service, Paul could still use the present tense and the mildly emphatic pronoun (εἰμι ἐγώ) in saying that "Christ Jesus came into the world sinners to save, among whom I am first" (1 Timothy 1:15).
And while I think the already is over-stressed in some systems, it is true that we live in an already/not-yet tension. Already we who've placed repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are saved, justified, forgiven, sanctified, adopted, baptized, indwelt, loved, blessed, seated, adopted, owned by God — Paul can even use the past tense "glorified," so sure is the eventuality (Romans 8:30).
But there is so much not-yet. We still struggle with our flesh (Romans 7:14-25), we still await deliverance from the body of this death (Romans 7:24). And then there's John's great "not-yet":
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.And there, in a word, is all my hope. One day, I will see Him, and the sight will be finally transformative. I will not always be torn, broken, conflicted, afflicted with holy desires I cannot fully fulfill, and by unholy desires I should not even know. One day He "will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself" (Philippians 3:21). Then I will be truly whole. Not a mass of conflicting drives and weaknesses, like a bad orchestra clumsily warming up. Then, by God's transforming and resurrecting and glorifying grace, I shall be a symphony of praise (cf. Revelation 22:1-5).
(1 John 3:1-3)
That's our hope, Christian. Let us hang on, and purify ourselves by it.