By our nature (our new nature, that is), believers are citizens of a not-yet world. Our focus and our affections are set “on things above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2 ESV). We live in one world while waiting for the new one to come.

How then do we bide our time? What should we be doing in this in-between?

Perhaps living with a sanctified standby mentality is our best option–keeping our interactions with the culture to a minimum and holding our heads down as we dart from one church gathering to another. That sounds safe, right? What better way to keep ourselves “unstained from the world” (James 1:27) than to stay as far away from it as possible?

But is that really what Christ wants from us? Didn’t He call us to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13–14)? The earth, the world … two descriptions of the same place. And even though that place will pass away, still we are assigned to do good work there. Redemptive work.

Biding our time doesn’t mean going into hiding or keeping away from the darkening culture. The gospel must go where it is needed. And so must those who carry it.

 

But seek the welfare of the city
where I have sent you into exile,
and pray to the LORD on its behalf,
for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
(Jeremiah 29:7)