And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it.
— Numbers 33:53
At first glance, it seems strange that God would tell his children to do the hard work of taking possession of a land that he then says he has already given them. If he has already given it to them, then why would they need to go and take possession of it? It reminds me of “Already, not yet.” This concept is relevant in light of the message at c|Life yesterday for week six of the Detour series.
I remember the first time I stumbled across this concept in seminary. It was the simplest way to describe something the smart people refer to as kingdom theology or inaugurated eschatology. The idea is that believers are actively participating in the Kingdom of God, even though the kingdom of God won’t reach its full expression until some point in the future. Although there are some issues with this, the deeper you dig, it is something we can draw from, at least on the surface, because it is true. Christians are an active part of the kingdom of God, even though the kingdom of God has not yet been fully revealed or realized.
What do I mean?
When you were conceived, your DNA was established and set. What you would grow up to look like was fixed at that very moment. You were given everything you needed to become the person you are today.
When you were saved, your spiritual DNA was established and set. It was fixed, at that very moment, who you would become in Christ Jesus. You were given everything you needed to live the in-Christ life.
Physical DNA and/or spiritual DNA has already been given to you. perhaps you simply have not yet taken hold of it. Perhaps you have not yet taken possession of all that God has already given to you in Christ.
As we wrap up the Detour series, it is fitting to look at what the children of God had to deal with going into the promised land. God had given the land to them hundreds of years before. It was their land. It was available to them. They had all they needed to take possession of the land. They just had to do the work of actually taking the land.
As God reveals himself to you and shows you, not only your purpose, but also his promise, I want to remind you of something very important: he has already given it to you! The encouragement today is to take the land that God has already given to you. In Christ Jesus you have everything you need to step into the promise of God. Don’t shy away from the work you will find in the promised land. Don’t panic when you have to deal with some enemies in the promised land. Don’t hide in the shadows of your promised land. Step boldly, yet humbly, into the promise and do so with confidence because God has already given you what you need even if you have not yet discovered it.