The Christian life is like a three course meal, but many Christians have only the starter and desert. Beginning with the cross, finding their past sins forgiven, many Christians then look forward to future glory, but miss the main course. This illustration is chronological, as everyone knows, desert is the best part of any meal. Christians should feast on the present, daily benefits of faith in Christ, but many skip this. Horatius Bonar sets out the past, present and future benefits of faith in Christ at the opening of the 8th chapter of God’s Way of Holiness:
The alphabet of gospel truth is that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3). By this we are saved, obtaining peace with God, and “access…into this grace wherein we stand” (Rom 5:2).
But he who thus believes is also made partaker of Christ (Heb 3:14), partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), par-taker of the heavenly calling (Heb 3:1), partaker of the Holy Ghost (Heb 6:4), partaker of His holiness (Heb 12:10). In the person of his Surety he has risen as well as died; he has ascended to the throne, is seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), his life is hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3). That which he is to be in the day of the Lord’s appearing, he is regarded as being now, and is treated by God as such…
He goes on to explain that with the knowledge of salvation in Christ comes a tightrope to walk in the Christian life. On the one side, softness and complacency and on the other hardness and cold zeal:
Surely, then, a Christian man is called to be consistent and decided, as well as joyful, not conformed to this world (Rom 12:2), but to that world to come, in which he already dwells by faith. “What manner of person ought [he] to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).
It has been matter of complaint once and again that some of those who were zealous for these “higher doctrines,” as they have been called, were not so careful to “maintain good works,” or so attentive to the “minor morals” of Christianity as might have been expected. They were not so large-hearted, not so openhanded, nor so generous, nor so humble, as many whose light was dimmer; also they were supercilious, inclined to despise others as dark and ill-instructed, given to display their consciousness of spiritual superiority in ungentle ways or words.
…Let the whole soul be fed by the study of the whole Bible, that so there may be no irregularity nor inequality in the growth of its parts and powers. Let us beware of “itching” ears and eyes. True, we must not be “babes,” unable to relish strong meat, and “unskillful in the Word of righteousness” (Heb 5:13). But we need to beware of the soarings of an ill-balanced theology and an ill-knit creed. True Christianity is healthy and robust, not soft, nor sickly, nor sentimental; yet, on the other hand, not hard, nor lean, nor ill-favored, nor ungenial.