New Years is a time of living in the present while intentionally looking backward and forward. With that in mind, here are three quotes on aspects of the Christian life that are ours in the present, although (only fully “made real”) in the future. Since I believe that full reality is outside of our capacity in this life, my prayer for you in 2018 is continued progress towards holiness, perfection, and righteousness, things that one, strangely, presently have in Christ.
“It is the fundamental motif of all New Testament ethics that upon the basis of the Holy Spirit, and by faith in the work performed by Christ, man is that which which he will become only in the future, that he is already sinless, already holy, although this becomes reality only in the future.”
Oscar Cullmann, “Christ and Time,” 75.
“Christian perfection is this, to fear God sincerely, and again to conceive great faith, and to trust that for Christ’s sake God is pacified towards us; to ask, and with certainty to look for, help from God in all our affairs, according to our calling; and meantime outwardly to do good works diligently and to attend to our calling. In these things doth consist true perfection and the true worship of God;…”
Philip Melancthon, Quoted by R. Newton Flew, “The Idea of Perfection in Christian Theology (1968), 246.
“A man’s relationship to God is no fiction. God does not treat a sinner as though he were righteous; he is in fact righteous. Through Christ he has entered into a new relationship with God and is in fact righteous in terms of this relationship. The unrighteous man stands in relationship to God as a sinner and thus must finally experience the condemnation of the righteous judge.”
George E. Ladd, “Righteousness in Romas,” Southwestern Journal of Theology, 19, Fall 1976.
More on this (with the eschatological aspect) at https://munsonmissions.org/2017/01/29/become-what-thou-art/