We will live as sinners, saved by grace yet “growing in grace” until Christ returns to consummate His grace. At that moment, we will be delivered into the unalterable glory of the perfections of Christ and, together, we will be with Christ forever. Therefore, the church and believers must neither dismiss the past nor live in the past. We must learn from the past yet avoid becoming a museum of the past. We are called to live in the present, not to accommodate the present by seeking to be “trendy.”
It has become abundantly clear that the contemporary church is fully convinced that the effective church (and the effective Christian) is “timely” (That is, in step with the times). Obviously, this is true to a certain degree. Acts 13:36 declares, “David … served the purpose of God in his own generation.” Clearly, David’s life and ministry were “timely,” as they landed “in his own generation.” Our ministries should likewise be “timely” and land in our own generation. But it is equally true that the effective church (and Christian) must be “untimely” in two ways if we are to be faithful to “the purpose of God.” First, we are to be “untimely” because we are always “behind the times.” Second, we are always “ahead of the times.” Effectiveness is not in just being “timely” but also in being “untimely.” We must be timely, addressing the day’s needs and challenges in the day’s language and with the day’s technology. Yet, we must also be untimely, because the answer to the issues of the day was given yesterday — at Calvary. The answer is the gospel of grace “delivered to us” in the past. We must also be untimely for another reason. The same gospel delivered in the past, putting us “behind the times,” declares that we are “now” redeemed but have “not yet” received the fullness of our redemption.