Waldron: The Ethical Tension in the Life of the Christian

“So many Christians are taught to seek experiences which will deliver them from the tension of living in the period of the overlapping of the ages. They want in this age a higher life, or a deeper life, or a victorious life, or a second blessing, or a baptism of the Spirit that would in effect take them out of the contradiction, sorrow, and trial of this age.

The only way however, for a true Christian to escape the battle with sin and the experience of sorrow in this age is to depart this age. He must either die and go to heaven or enter at Christ’s return into the age to come.

The teaching that promises the cessation of conflict and trial in this life is no friend to the Christian. This biblical structure warns us that in this age there is no blessing not followed by trial, no joy not followed by sorrow, and no final victory over remaining sin.

Christians must beware of the mountain-top syndrome. There is no remaining always on the mountain top in this age. We must always rejoice with trembling. When Christians stop seeking an experience that the Bible never promises them in this life, they will be prepared properly to enjoy the blessings God gives them in this life and not look for something in these blessings that they will never find. They will also be prepared to face the reality of the Christian life squarely, fight the good fight of faith, finish their course, and run in such a way as to win.

This framework also explains much about the future of the church. We must not look for a golden age before Christ’s return. This is a denial of the character of this age. But we must not be “pessimillenialists” either and see nothing but apostasy for the visible church. This is also a denial of the overlapping of the ages.

The church is enlivened by the powerful realities of the age to come that have already broken into the world with the first advent of Christ. Those who tell people that they should not “polish brass” on the sinking ship of the church are tragically mistaken. Those who teach that this dispensation of the church (like every
other dispensation) must surely end in failure and apostasy are wrong. They weaken the hands of true Christians in their God-ordained labor to build the church of Christ.

Both the gloomy pessimists and the starry-eyed optimists have imbalanced views of the future prospects of the church. The biblical viewpoint understands the overlapping of the ages and balaces these contrasting viewpoints in a realistic optimism.”

-Sam Waldron, The End Times Made Simple, 51-52.

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