Psalm 51: Already, Not Yet
Psalm 51 lives right in the middle of the "already" and the "not yet." Why is that worth observing? Because that's exactly where you and I live as well. We live right in the middle of God's great redemptive story, that's what the already and the not yet is about. If you're going to live right and well, you need to understand where you're living.
Here's where you and I are, in the great story of redemption. Already the "mercy," "unfailing love," and "great compassion" that David cried out for have been provided for us in Christ. The ultimate sacrifice of forgiveness that David's prayer looked forward to has been provided by the blood of Jesus that was spilt for us on the cross. God harnessed the forces of nature and controlled the detailed events of human history in order to bring his Messiah Son to earth at just the right time and place to provide for you and me the one thing we desperately need and cannot provide for ourselves; forgiveness.
Already the Holy Spirit, for whom David prayed, has been given to you and to me. It's almost beyond the limits of our rationality to consider that that Holy Spirit actually lives inside of us teaching, correcting, convicting, and empowering us every day.
Already, God's great book of wisdom, grace and warning - the Bible, has been given. When David talks about teaching sinners God's way, he looks forward to the gift of the Word, God's ultimate tool of instruction. We live every day with the Word in our hands, celebrating the wisdom that it gives us that we would have no other way.
So, as we celebrate the already, we need to be very aware of the not yet. This world is still a terribly broken place, not yet restored to what it was created to be. There's never a day when we are not touched with its brokenness in some way.
Sin that has wreaked such havoc on each one of us has not yet been finally and totally defeated. The sin that still remains in us, continues to affect everything we desire, think, do, and say. Even in our moments of best attention it's right there with us subverting our desires, capturing our thoughts, and distorting our behavior.
The devil, who is the enemy of all that is good, right, and true, hasn't yet been finally destroyed. He still lurks about with deceit in his eyes, destruction in his hands, and trickery in his heart.
So, we live with celebration and anticipation. We celebrate the amazing gifts of grace that we've already been given, while we anticipate the end of the struggles that will face us until the final chapter of the great story of redemption comes. We do live in the in-between. We do live in the hardships of a world that teeters between the beginning and the end. But we don't need to be discouraged and we don't need to fear, because the end of all those struggles has already been written and so we're guaranteed that the things that are not yet will someday be.