Almost two years ago I did a study on the three tenses of being saved. In other words, being saved has a past, present and future component. Each with different characteristics and effects.
The Presence of Sin
The future tense of sin means that when we are resurrected we will be eternally removed from the presence of sin. The apostle Paul in particular talks about this a lot throughout his letters (Romans 8:23; Philippians 3:20-21; 2 Corinthians 5:2). In all these verses he emphasizes that we are groaning at this moment, supposedly because we see both the limitations of this body and the superiority of the body to come, “for this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:53).
I am just wondering if we are really groaning? I am sure that most Christians when asked will say that they would like to be in heaven right now (or am I wrong to assume this), but to groan? To groan is a low, mournful sound uttered in pain or grief. Are you suffering right now to the extent that you are groaning? I know I am not. And maybe you not either. Why? Well, first of all, groaning is superseded by suffering. So the question should actually be if you are suffering for Christ? For “if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:17). Sure, there is this sense that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26), but is that really true for you? If someone knows suffering (next Jesus) it’s Paul. He says in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.” And still Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:21-26). Wow, to be with Christ is much better (groaning), but he remains nonetheless and is content with it. Why? Because to live is Christ, which is to say, “for you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:10).
My simple question is this: do you groan, like Paul? Are you content with your life as it is, or do you really long for your spiritual body? Do you realize you have been bought with a price and that you should glorify God in your body? John Piper wrote an excellent book on this topic, called “Don’t Waste Your Life“. I recommend you read it.