Great is the Mystery: God in Christ in Us

New JerusalemThe mystery proclaimed by the apostles includes New Jerusalem. Colossians 2:2 tells us that the mystery of God is Christ. The mystery of God is God embodied in Christ to become a God-man who lived among men, died to redeem all men, and rose to impart eternal life into His believers.

However, the mystery of God is not only Christ Himself, but also Christ in us, as in Colossians 1:27, “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This Christ is our hope of glory, the glory that will be fully manifested in New Jerusalem.

God made this mystery known to Paul (Eph. 3:3) because God’s good pleasure is that we all see and enter into this mystery (Eph. 1:9). Therefore, Paul’s ministry was “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God” (Eph. 3:9).

First Timothy 3:15 says, “great is the mystery of godliness.” This is God incarnated in Christ. It is also Christ entering into us to be our life, to be manifested through us now and much more in eternity.

Ephesians 3:4 and Colossians 4:3 speak of the mystery of Christ. And Ephesians 5, presenting husband and wife as a portrait of Christ and the church, says, “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church” (v. 32).

The mystery of God is Christ, God manifested in flesh. It is also Christ in us, people who were merely flesh until we believed into Him and received His eternal life. This life produces the mystery of Christ, all His believers as members of His one Body. So, God in Christ in the believers to form His mystical Body is the great mystery. Eventually His Body consummates in New Jerusalem.

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The Mystery and the End of the Mystery

In Mark 4:11 the Lord Jesus spoke of “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” This mystery includes New Jerusalem, the ultimate stage of God’s kingdom.

New JerusalemPaul often speaks of this mystery, as in Romans 16:25, “…my gospel, that is, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which has been kept in silence in the times of the ages.” And Colossians 1:26, “The mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations…”

This mystery, even the existence of this mystery, was hidden in God before the Lord Jesus began to minister. The Lord said something about it in His parables. Paul spoke further, for example “I came to you, brothers,…announcing to you the mystery of God” (1 Cor. 2:1).

Paul and his companions were “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). And he asked for prayer “that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known in boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19).

He was announcing the mystery because God predestinated the wisdom hidden in it “before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7). Since the wisdom of the mystery is for our glory, it is for our glorification and participation in New Jerusalem.

Today we are in the age of mystery and New Jerusalem surely is part of this mystery. But, “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he is about to trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished” (Rev. 10:7).

“The seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). This is from the second coming of Christ unto eternity, including New Jerusalem.

Photo by Scott Mecum, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

The Triune God is unsearchably rich. These riches are in Christ and have been announced to us as the gospel, the good news (Eph. 3:8). The announcing enlightens us to see the mystery of God with the result that “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” now (Eph 3:9-10) and through New Jerusalem in eternity.

The riches of Christ are all that Christ is and has and all that He has accomplished, attained, and obtained. The fullness of Christ is the result and issue of our enjoyment of these riches. When the riches of Christ are assimilated into our being metabolically, they constitute us to be the fullness of Christ, the Body of Christ, the church, as His expression.*

Lake Leman near Lausanne

Here are prior posts about the riches and the fullness of God.

The Riches of God’s Glory In Ephesians 3 Paul prayed that the Father would strengthen us “according to the riches of His glory.” The outcome is an upward progression resulting in glory to God now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

O the Depth of the Riches & Wisdom of God! Romans 11:33-36 is praise of “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” It concludes, “To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem Romans 9:23: God wants to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory New Jerusalem, the city of God’s glory, is a mystery. But God “willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem God works on and in us according to His riches, so  “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life The Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). Through the renewing of this Spirit, we become new to match New Jerusalem.

The Good News of the Riches of Christ A hymn (words music) says, “O the riches, O the riches, Christ my Savior is to me! How unsearchable their measure, Yet my full reality!”

New Jerusalem has the Fullness of Christ Ephesians 4:11-13 speaks about all the believers being perfected “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all arrive…at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God In this age the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). In eternity New Jerusalem will be this fullness.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ Another hymn (words music) says, “Riches of Christ we should enjoy And then His fulness we will be; Partaking of His very self, His testimony men will see.”

*From footnote 3 on Ephesians 3:19 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Where Our Heart is Determines Our Expectations for New Jerusalem

Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 say, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In these chapters the Lord Jesus tells us that our treasure is either earthly or heavenly. If we treasure earthly things, our heart will be earthly; if we treasure heavenly things, our heart will be heavenly. The condition of our heart determines our view of and expectations about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIf we treasure earthly things, we will be people of anxiety, as in Matthew 6:24-34. In this anxious condition we are very susceptible and responsive to descriptions of New Jerusalem as having streets of material gold, physical mansions, very pleasant gardens, superb recreational facilities, etc.

In contrast, New Jerusalem is heavenly. Jesus Christ tells us that New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 3:12). New Jerusalem is the ultimate stage of God dwelling in man and man dwelling in God—John 15:4a, “Abide in Me and I in you.”

In New Jerusalem the Triune God is our all. The city “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11), “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22), “its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23), the throne of God and the Lamb, the river of life (the Spirit), and the tree of life (Christ as our nourishment) are in the city (22:1-2), and we will see His face (22:4).

If our heart is set on heavenly things, we realize that these blessings are much more than material, corruptible riches. If our heart is set on earthly things, they become a veil, and we cannot see the reality of New Jerusalem. But, there is a promise for today: “Whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Lord, I turn my heart to You now; save me from the veils to have a clear view of You and of New Jerusalem.


We Come Forward to Heavenly Jerusalem

Glory to God, Now and New Jerusalem

In my Bible reading, I came to Jude. Verses 24-25 say, “But to Him who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you before His glory without blemish in exultation, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.”

New JerusalemThe phrase “before His glory” reminded me of New Jerusalem, which radiates the glory of God, and the throne in New Jerusalem which is the source of the radiant glory. Of course, “before His glory” is also when the Lord returns visibly (Matt. 25:31) and in His kingdom.

God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord brings us to the glory “without blemish.” For us to be in the glory and to be glorious, we must be without blemish.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us “to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God is faithful to accomplish what He has said! Ephesians 5:25-27 tell us that Jesus Christ gave Himself for the church (in death), that He is washing the church in the water in His word (now), and that (at His return) He will “present the church to Himself glorious…without blemish.” This is His operating to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

We cannot be glorious nor be without blemish by our own effort, but we can cooperate with His operation. Philippians 2:12-15 speak of our “working out our own salvation” by cooperating with “God who operates in us” that we may be “children of God without blemish” shining in the world. The shining is a precursor to the glory of New Jerusalem.

Peter also speaks of our cooperation. He says that since we are expecting new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13), including New Jerusalem, we should “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (3:14).

We thank our God and Savior for choosing us, dying for us, washing us, operating in us, and guarding us. May He now keep us cooperating daily. To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory!

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

A House and a City Built Together in Christ

New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). New Jerusalem is the consummate sign in Revelation and in the Bible. It is God and all His redeemed people living in mutuality.

Here is an excerpt* about New Jerusalem from the ministry of Witness Lee.

The New Jerusalem is not an actual city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches [Rev. 1:20]. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.

Today the church is a house, and in eternity the church will be enlarged. When the church is enlarged, it becomes a city. The church as a house is not an actual physical house in the same way that the church enlarged to be the holy city will not be an actual physical city. The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.

The church today, all the believers in Christ Jesus built together in Him, is a precursor of New Jerusalem. Many verses in the New Testament present this view, and no verse treats the church as a physical building.

Ephesians 2:19-20 declares that we are “members of the household of God, being built…” We, not a physical structure, get built together. Verse 21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” We are being built together in Him, not in a physical location. Also, this building is growing because its essence is the divine life.

First Peter 2:4-5 tells us that “coming to Him, a living Stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Very clear. This is the living house of the living God in 1 Timothy 3:15.

Other verses in the New Testament say the same: we are the materials being built together, the building process is growth in the divine life, and the building work is going on in Christ. These same characteristics are true of New Jerusalem, which is the consummation of all the building and growth in the Bible.

* Witness Lee, The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. Read more of this excerpt online. Many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ

Recent posts have been about the riches of Christ to us and the fullness of God. By enjoying the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8), we are filled to the fullness of God (3:19). This brings forth glory to God both now and eternally in New Jerusalem (3:21).

New JerusalemThe first verse of a hymn (words music) by  Witness Lee is:
__Riches of Christ we should enjoy
__And then His fulness we will be;
__Partaking of His very self,
__His testimony men will see.

God’s testimony today is the church; in eternity it will be New Jerusalem. What we take in is what we express. If we eat much garlic, we put forth the aroma of garlic with no difficulty. If we spent many hours every day watching the Olympic Games, that is what we effortlessly talked about.

If we enjoy riches of Christ, He will be expressed both in our speaking and also in our living. God desires to bring us to such experiences, so that God may be expressed now, and even more by New Jerusalem.

The last verse of the hymn is:
__Christ’s riches are Himself within,
__His fulness is the Church without,
__As His expression, full of Him;
__The Church with Christ is built throughout.

“Christ’s riches are Himself.” I could send you a rich gift by UPS or FedEx but that would be separate from my person. Christ is different! John 8:12—He is the light; when we receive light (one of His riches), we receive Him. Likewise in John 14:6—He Himself is our way, our reality, and our life. Jesus often says, “I am…” because He is!

Christ’s riches are Himself within, both today and in New Jerusalem. His fulness is the Church today and New Jerusalem in the future, both as His expression.

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New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God

Colossians 2:9 proclaims that “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Bodily refers to the man Jesus Christ with a human body. Fullness is not only the riches of the Godhead but the expression of these riches.*

New JerusalemThe riches of God are in Christ (1 2 3 4) and so is the expression, the fullness of these riches. Jesus Christ is on the throne in New Jerusalem, so the riches and fullness in Him fill New Jerusalem.

John 1:16 declares that “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” We have received not merely grace but grace upon grace that we may become one with Him in expressing the Triune God, starting now and advancing to New Jerusalem.

This corporate expression is presented in Ephesians 1:22-23, which says the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Through the enjoyment of Christ’s riches [Eph. 3:8], we become His fullness to express Him.**

Ephesians 3 presents an ascending path to this fullness. In answer to prayer, God strengthens us (v. 16), Christ makes His home in us (v. 17), we get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17), we apprehend Christ’s vastness (v. 18), we know His love (v. 19), and we are filled unto all the fullness of God (v. 19). The conclusion is glory to God forever (v. 21), which clearly points to New Jerusalem.

Besides our prayer according to the pattern in Ephesians 3, chapter 4 sets forth our practice. The ascended Christ gave gifted members (v. 8-11); we cooperate by receiving their ministry to be perfected (v. 12) so that we all can share in the work of the ministry for building up (v. 12) until we all arrive “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Ephesians 4 is for now, so don’t passively wait until New Jerusalem.

* from footnote 1, Colossians 2:9NT Recovery Version Online; more from Col. 1:19
** from footnote 2, Ephesians 1:23.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.


Righteousness Dwells in the New Creation

According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). The new creation, with new heavens and earth, includes New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2).

In my recent New Testament reading I was touched by “dwells.” The Greek word (κατοΙκεω) appears over 40 times in the New Testament. It is always used for living people who are at home in a place. Examples:
• He [Joseph] came and settled in a city called Nazareth, Matthew 2:23
• Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, Acts 2:5
• All those dwelling in Asia heard the word of the Lord, Acts 19:10
• By faith he [Abraham] dwelt as a foreigner in the land of promise, Hebrews 11:9

New JerusalemThe same sense of dwelling is used in regard to God: “God…being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24), and “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).

The Greek word is also applied to the Triune God in us: “Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17) and “the Spirit, whom He has caused to dwell in us” (James 4:5).

In light of the usage of this word everywhere else in the New Testament, to say that righteousness dwells in the new creation means that this righteousness is alive. We do not use dwell with inanimate objects; for example, we never say that a table dwells in our dining room.

Christ is “the Righteous” (1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:1). He is on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation. I believe that His presence and the righteousness of His person, radiating out from New Jerusalem, is the righteousness which dwells in the new creation. And this Christ, who is our righteousness today (1 Cor. 1:30) is the righteousness of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Righteousness Dwells

The Good News of the Riches of Christ

The apostle Paul received grace “to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8). These riches are for us to experience and express today and to be displayed by New Jerusalem.

The New Testament is filled with the gospel, the good news, of these riches. For example, in Matthew 9 Jesus Christ is our Physician, He is merciful to us, He is our Bridegroom, He is new wine for us, He raises us out of death, He heals our blindness and dumbness, He shepherds us, and He is the Lord of the harvest.

Another example: twenty riches of Christ in 1 Corinthians. Since the riches of Christ are “unsearchable,” for eternity in New Jerusalem we will explore and appreciate them.

This good news is conveyed by the chorus of a hymn by Witness Lee (words music):
New Jerusalem__O the riches, O the riches,
____Christ my Savior has for me!
____(or, Christ my Savior is to me!)
__How unsearchable their measure,
____Yet my full reality!

This thanksgiving and praise is our song now and will be our song in New Jerusalem. Regarding now, may the last verse of the hymn be our longing:
__May I know these boundless riches,
____Christ experience in full;
__And with others may I share them
____In their content bountiful.

As an application of this longing, consider Ephesians 2:4-6—God’s rich mercy and great love for us, and His enlivening, raising up, and seating us with Christ. May we experience each of these and share our appreciation with others. These are so that (2:7) God “might display in the ages to come (including New Jerusalem) the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life

God’s unsearchable riches will be displayed through New Jerusalem. These riches are not only for New Jerusalem; they are for us to experience in our Christian life now.

New JerusalemGod’s rich mercy and kindness brought salvation to us. And the Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). By this Spirit in us we have a daily renewing.

As the Spirit imparts the riches of Christ into us, our hearts are “being knit together in love and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ” (Col. 2:2). Like prior verses, here we see that there is no separating the riches from the Person of Christ.

We can also “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). This dwelling helps, and is helped by, “singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Even in New Jerusalem, Christ, the living Word, will be dwelling in us. I believe that in New Jerusalem we will still be singing with grace to God. Besides singing now, it is also good to pray and praise with the word.

Furthermore, we can call on the name of the Lord. Whether almost silently or very loudly, we can call O Lord Jesus. “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him” (Rom. 10:12).

All these Christian practices keep us holding our Head, Christ, and growing up into Him. This bring us to the building up of the Body of Christ by the rich supply out from Him (Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19). This present, living building up is for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal building.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

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Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem

The riches of God’s glory are for us from now unto New Jerusalem. The New Testament also presents other aspects of God’s riches, for today and for New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Romans 2:4 speaks of “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” which leads us to repentance. Via repentance we receive Christ as our eternal life, which puts us on the way to New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 8:9, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor in order that you, because of His poverty, might become rich.” He had to become poor, lowly, to live a live of suffering culminating with His death on the cross. Through His death and resurrection we are rich in Him.

In Him “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). Forgiveness is one of the riches we receive through His poverty and is according to the riches of His grace.

Another contributor to our repentance, forgiveness, and eternal life is “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, made us alive together with Christ…” (Eph. 2:4-5). We are not qualified, but God is rich in mercy, for us to receive now and to display in New Jerusalem.

All these aspects of God’s riches are so “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). God’s riches in kindness, mercy, and grace are so that He can work Himself into us and be expressed through us in the coming age and in New Jerusalem.

To make us aware of all this, grace was given to announce “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8). God is not only rich but surpassingly and unsearchably rich. These riches require the entirety of New Jerusalem and of eternity for their display.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.


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