And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (NLT)
We have lived long enough in this world to realise we haven’t got it all. Things are not as they should be. All is not well. And yet, we also realise there is much for which to be thankful, much to enjoy in this incurably imperfect world.
This is so because the rule of God has come in part but not in full. Good things happen because God is active in His world, exercising His wise power. Bad things happen because the evil one is also active, exercising his malevolent power. We live in a battleground.
One day, those who trust in Jesus will be done with battles and partial victories and painful defeats. How can we know that for sure? Because God has sent his Holy Spirit as a symbolic promise. One day God will give us the lot. For now, he gives us a down-payment of the lot in the person of the Spirit.
We have, through this Spirit, a taste of heaven. Sure, it is only a taste. But it is a reminder of what is yet to come. It is a guarantee that these partial victories and tantalising hints are not mere mirages. They anticipate what is to come: total and eternal victory. The main course is coming, but in the meantime we enjoy the appetiser.