An important question that we must ask as Christians and especially as leaders in ministry is this: “What has already been accomplished by Christ, and what is left to be accomplished by the church, or by individual believers?” It seems like a fairly benign question, but the implications of the answer can affect nearly every facet of corporate church life, and the life of individual believers.
For instance, as believers are we united in Christ already? Or is unity something that we must obtain by our teaching, our service, and our programs? Must we seek to unite, or instead do we recognize our unity and then seek to understand the implications of that unity? Or let’s take the forgiveness of sins, must we seek to obtain the forgiveness of sins, or do we recognize our forgiveness and seek to understand the practical implications of the forgiveness that has already been obtained in Christ? Or in worship, do we seek to glorify Christ, or do we recognize that Christ is glorified and seek to understand the practical implications of the reality that He is glorified? Or what of righteousness, do we seek to be righteous, or do we seek to understand the practical implications of the reality that we have been declared righteous?
I am not going to offer answers to any of these questions, but the questions are valid, and ones that we would do well to wrestle with. Certainly the scriptures speak to each of these questions. The direction we take corporately or individually hinge on questions such as these. Are we trying to recreate something that already exists? Or are we presuming that something exists that we are actually called to create?
What did the life, death, and resurrection create? What is left to be created? Is the mission of the church to proclaim new realities that have been created by the Gospel, or is the mission of the church to create new realities in light of the Gospel? Is it both /and? Neither / nor? Or are the questions themselves far too simplistic?