One main reason this balance must be maintained is simply because of what God’s Word teaches about this transitory life, which, under the new covenant, “is characterized by sweetness as well as bitterness, by possession as well as longing. In short, the presence of the Spirit within the believer means that the future has intruded into the here and now, and the saint has been granted some ‘already’ to go with the ‘not yet’” (138). If we are to give expression to this “pilgrim dynamic,” understanding this principle is absolutely crucial, according to Stellman. Thus he spends the entirety of the chapter backing it up biblically—mainly through a redemptive-historical reading of Romans 6–8, a lá Ridderbos, Fee, and Moo (if not Wright). If you’re likely to hold this book in less esteem because of Stellman’s exegesis here, then you can skip this chapter with no real loss, so long as you take his main point to heart: “The ever-present sense of ‘not yet’ that frustrates us throughout this age does not negate the dynamic ‘already’ that was inaugurated as our risen and ascended Lord bestowed on His church the gift of the Spirit as an engagement ring, assuring us of our future glorification. Because the cross was followed by an empty tomb, we must not fail to incorporate the resurrection into our understanding of Christian living” (149–50). One gets the sense that Stellman has been carefully loading both barrels of a sawn shotgun.
Stellman goes on to offer several other encouragements and challenges to the lay reader, like this: “If you feel that you are wronged, ignored at times, or occasionally taken advantage of, you can demand to be treated fairly and with appropriate sensitivity, or you can look past such things and offer your suffering as a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the God who suffered so much for you” (162).