In this lab, John Piper explains that when we read commands and obligations, we are being summoned to become in experience what we are in Christ.
Some questions to ask as you read and study:
- Does what God says about you affect how you live from day to day? How so?
- Study 1 Corinthians 5:6–7 and Colossians 3:3–5. How can you cleanse out the leaven if you’re already unleavened, and die to sin if you’re already dead in Christ?
- Based on this lab, how would you respond to those who say that Christ has declared them righteous, therefore it doesn’t matter how they live?
Principle for Bible Reading
The Already and Not Yet
We live in an overlap of two ages: the present age of sin and death, and the coming age of Christ’s complete reign. We are no longer merely in the age of fallen humanity, because Christ has come and ushered his kingdom into this age (Matthew 12:28; Luke 17:20–21). In other words, we no longer live in the winter of sin and death looking forward to summer, but because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, he brought spring, which totters on the brink of everlasting summer for his people.
The already/not yet distinction (referring to things that are already true but not yet fully realized) aids our understanding of how to make sense of the Bible, especially as it depicts the Christian life. The Spirit made us new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and yet we still need to be renewed in our minds (Romans 12:1–2). Jesus freed us decisively from sin (Romans 6:6; John 8:36), and yet we still need to put the old man to death (Romans 8:13). Christ brought the kingdom to earth (Matthew 12:28), and yet wars, murder, and suffering take place.
We live in the age of already and not yet, caught between winter and summer, death and eternal bliss, Christ’s first and second coming.