I was recently talking with a friend about how hard it is for kids to appreciate the sacrifices of their parents. The kids, after all, don’t comprehend what it’s like to get up from a deep sleep in order to grab a bottle, the hours of thought and planning that go into making the right educational choices, or the hard work that is required to put a roof over their heads. Especially when they are young, it is difficult for them to realize how the reality of the past effects their present condition, let alone how it will shape their future.
Kids, however, aren’t the only ones that struggle with this understanding. Just like a child only sees what’s right in from of them, sometimes all we can see is the trial that we are dealing with right now. We want to be rescued from the pain of today, often neglecting to dwell on the fact that not only has our rescue already been accomplished, but our rescue will be completed one day as well. It can be difficult for the Christian to see how the reality of the past affects them in the present, let alone their future.
But as one pastor has stated, salvation is past, present and future. We were saved on the cross, we are saved when we turn from our sins and put our faith in Christ, and we will be saved from just punishment at the coming judgment. The reality of what was accomplished two thousand years ago when Jesus died and rose from the grave not only paid the penalty of our sins, but it provides us with assurance that we need to persevere in picking up our cross and following Him daily, looking forward to the future salvation that will come.
Yet, it can be hard to appreciate this fact, just as it is hard for the child to appreciate the good that has already been done on their behalf. We may be tempted to act as if it is expected, just as many children assume the benevolence of their parents, not realizing that the past good is accomplishing our present good as well. Just as maturing means a greater appreciation for the time, energy and effort that parents spend in raising us, so a maturity in faith means a greater appreciation for how the work of the Cross must not be left in the past, but must continue to effect our present as we look towards its work in the future.
It’s a hard truth to grasp. Yet considering how much time is spent wondering about the past, dealing with the present, and worrying about the future, it would be good for us to increase our appreciation of how Christ’s death and resurrection changes all three.
For a great message on the doctrine of the resurrection, check out this sermon.