How are the tenses of this abundant life we live in Christ to be viewed? (And I’m not referring to stress!)
There are those who say, “Live in the moment.” Agreed, we should be fully present. But people do tend to look to the past and look to the future. I guess the key is to look far enough in both directions. And to look through the lens of Jesus.
There are several verses scripted by Paul in the New Testament which contain all three tenses—past, present, and future. Romans 5:1-2 can help focus our sight in every direction.
By faith we have been justified. And now, thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ,
we have peace with God. Christ has also introduced us to God's gift of
undeserved grace on which we now take our stand. So we are happy,
as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God
There is a common tendency to look back with a critical eye to the past and dwell upon failures or mistakes. What if, when we look back, we look beyond that regret? What if, instead, we look further back—to what Jesus did for our forgiveness? Our overcoming? Our new life?
We have been delivered from our past by the atoning forgiveness of Christ Jesus. What He did in the past delivers us from the guilt of our past.
Those in Christ can look back to what Romans 5:1 has declared in the past tense. We have been justified, reconciled to God.
Now that’s something in the past worth revisiting! So, if we’re going to look to the past, let’s look past the immediate to that!
All thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, our present is filled with grace and peace!
We now have peace with God. While this adds to our emotional peace, it actually refers to our status before God—something far greater.
Also through Jesus, by faith, we have access into the grace in which we now stand.
You are now standing in grace! As John Stott said, “We do not fall in and out of grace . . . we stand in it.” Grace gives us strength to stand—moment by moment.
The grace in which we stand also gives us hope and courage for the future. A future beyond tomorrow. A future beyond goals, measured out over the years ahead.
What if, when we look to the future, we look beyond what we tend to see directly ahead of us? Then we would look, as Paul, with confidence in future glory. Paul boasted in the hope of glory. We will too when we look further into the future. That’s the hope zoe needs.
Living in the Tenses
The New Testament has much to say about zoe—in all its tenses. Our life in Jesus remedies our past, provides grace for the present, and gives us hope for the future.
When thoughts of the past, present, or future overwhelms the mind, we can extend our mental reach—further back and farther forward. To Jesus’ past and future.
Won’t that make a difference in the present—no matter what it looks like?