Built to be a Corporate Vessel of God’s Glory

God’s eternal purpose, the subject of the song we are reviewing, depends on God’s divine, eternal life. God’s plan is to build together a group of people as His dwelling place, consummating in New Jerusalem. This must involve humans but it cannot be carried out by the created human life.

Because God’s purpose depends on the divine life, God put the created man in front of the tree of life (Genesis 2:8-9). This tree is a picture of Jesus Christ, who is the life (John 11:25).

When Christ is our life and to the extent that we live because of Him, we participate in the realization of New Jerusalem. Thus the song speaks of being built in life and knit in love, as in Ephesians 4:15-16.

New Jerusalem5_Thus in life we’re built together,
____Then in love we’re knit as one;
__God is now His plan fulfilling,
____Finishing what He’s begun.
__Lord, increase Thyself within us
____That we might be built by Thee
__Into that great corporate vessel
____Filled with God exclusively.

Like the words in the song, we should pray for the Lord’s increase, His growth, in us. This is Colossians 2:19, “holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.”

The result of His growth, His increase in us is a corporate vessel filled with God and expressing God. The ultimate step of this is New Jerusalem.

6_As the product, the fulfillment,
____Will the church in glory stand,
__Consummation of the purpose
____In eternal ages planned.
__God will have His corporate vessel,
____All His glory to contain;
__Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose
____All Thy goal in us attain.

New Jerusalem is the final stage of the corporate vessel, filled with and radiating God’s glory. Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose, all Thy goal in us attain.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Created and Saturated for New Jerusalem

God’s eternal purpose was hidden in Him before time. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. As presented in the first half of the song we are reviewing, God wants to dispense Himself into people to build them together in Himself for His glory and praise.

God created all the plants, fish, birds, and animals according to their own kind (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24, 25). In contrast, God did not create man according to man’s kind; rather, God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26) because God created man especially for fulfilling His purpose, .

The man created for God’s purpose has a human spirit as the center of His being. Zechariah 12:1 says, “Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” Here the spirit of man is ranked with the heavens and the earth.

New Jerusalem4_As the center, as the kernel,
____Of God’s plan our spirit is;
__Calling on the name of Jesus
____Makes our spirit one with His.
__From the center to circumference
____God would saturate each part;
__Feeling, mind, and will renewing,
____Making home in all our heart.

The first action God takes in us to fulfill His plan is to enliven our human spirit. This is to be born again, to be regenerated. John 3:6b says, “that which is born of the [divine] Spirit is [our human] spirit.” This regeneration is our first experiential step towards New Jerusalem.

The result of being born again is 1 Corinthians 6:17, “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” From our spirit, God desires to spread to our mind, emotion, and will; for example, Ephesians 4:23 speaks of “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

This renewing by the Spirit (Titus 3:5) in our spirit makes us divinely new to match New Jerusalem, the consummation of all the newness in the Bible.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Built Together in Life for New Jerusalem

We are reviewing a song about God’s eternal purpose. God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity past and it points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. God’s work is not a reaction to the problems in the universe. He solves the problems by doing everything “according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5, 11).

God’s purpose is stated in the second verse of this song: He wants a group of people built together as His vessel, one new man. This is Colossians 3:10-11, we “have put on the new man…where Christ is all and in all.” Ultimately, New Jerusalem is this corporate vessel.

New Jerusalem2_God would have a group of people
____Built together in His plan,
__Blended, knit, coordinated
____As His vessel—one new man.
__God would come into this vessel
____With His nature, life and ways,
__Mingling Spirit with our spirits
____For His joy and to His praise.

The Triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit— work together in us (song, verse 3) resulting in praise to God (end of verse 2).

This triune working and the resulting praise is presented in Ephesians 1. Verses 3-6, 7-12, and 13-14 are associated with the Father, Son, and Spirit. Each of these three sections ends with the praise of His glory. Ultimately the glory, and the praise, will be New Jerusalem.

3_God has worked in three directions
____For His plan so marvelous:
__As the Father, Son, and Spirit
____To dispense Himself to us!
__All creation gives the setting—
____Heav’n and earth are for this plan;
__’Tis for this God made a body,
____Soul and spirit—three-part man.

God created man in His image with body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God’s creation was for His purpose, for Him to come into man, to be life to man, to be formed in man (Galatians 4:19), and to make home in man (Ephesians 3:16-17). All of this points toward New Jerusalem. Praise Him for this marvelous plan.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

The consummation of the Bible is the new heavens and new earth with New Jerusalem as their center (Revelation 21:1-2). Recent posts showed how much God’s mercy is involved in bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

One of the recent posts included a few lines from a song. I will now share the whole song (spread over several posts) and comment on it. Here are words and music.

New Jerusalem1_God eternal has a purpose,
____Formed in His eternal past,
__Spreading to eternal future;
____’Twixt these ends all time is cast.
__For with time there is the process,
____Time for His accomplishment;
__And in time we’re merely travelers—
____For eternity we’re meant.

God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. His purpose does take care of the problems in the universe but His purpose is not a reaction to these problems.

Here are some verses which speak about God’s purpose from eternity (before time).
• We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom which has been hidden, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
• To enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things. (Ephesians 3:9)

The universe was created for the carrying out of God’s purpose, His plan, according to His heart’s desire. We were created for this purpose, which means we were created for New Jerusalem. Even before creation, God took some actions in regard to us.
• God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages. (2 Timothy 1:8b-9)
• Eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages. (Titus 1:2)

God’s purpose, God’s grace, and God’s eternal life were given and promised before time began. They operate in time to bring us to New Jerusalem, where we will be after time is finished. As the song says, “For with time there is the process” and “For eternity we’re meant.”

We are in the process of growing in eternal life in time and we are traveling to New Jerusalem in eternity.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

God’s Mercy for God’s Goal, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemGod has a goal. This is not his response to man’s fall and to sin and death. Rather, it is His eternal heart’s desire, what He wants to do and what He will accomplish. Sin and death merely show His wisdom in accomplishing His desire, which consummates in New Jerusalem.

Because of sin and death, our fallen being is disqualified from what God wants to do and we could have no part in His plan. However, God had mercy on us. Because of His great mercy, He saved us, He regenerated us, and His is bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

Here is a summary of our recent series on God’s mercy, with a verse and a link to each post.

  John the Baptist came “to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the merciful compassions of our God.” Out of the introduction by John, according to God’s merciful compassions, “the rising sun [Jesus] will visit us from on high” (Luke 1:76-78).

 Jesus Christ became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). This propitiation opens the door for us to receive the eternal life which brings us to New Jerusalem.

 Romans 9:15-16 say, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” It is not by our determination (him who wills) nor by our effort (him who runs). But we can cry out to God for mercy.

 We need mercy because of the negative effect of sin and death. We also need mercy because in ourselves we do not have the glory of God (Romans 3:23), an essential quality of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:1-3 describe our fallen condition. Verses 4-6 describe what God did with us in Christ due to “being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Verse 7 continues, “That He might display in the ages to come [including New Jerusalem] the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Like Ephesians 2, Titus 3 presents our fallen condition then presents God’s salvation through His washing and renewing, “not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy.”

First Peter 1:3-4 say that God, “according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of this inheritance.

 Jude 21 encourages us “keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have eternal life already; here “unto eternal life” indicates we still need mercy to be brought into the fuller enjoyment of this life in the coming age and the fullest enjoyment of it in New Jerusalem.

While we are on the journey of our Christian life, “Let us come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

The new creation is spiritual and hidden within us today but eventually the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center, will become visible to all (Revelation 21:1-2). We should care for this today; per Galatians 6:15-16, “a new creation is what matters. And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy.”

God has temporarily turned from the Jews to show mercy to non-Jews (Gentiles). God’s mercy is shown to us according to His infinite wisdom. Our response should match Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.”

This series on mercy concluded with a hymn,
God, we praise Thee for Thy mercy, ’Tis so great and so profound!
In our weakness and our failures; With its greatness it abounds.
We adore Thee! we adore Thee! With such mercy we’ve been crowned!

God is merciful to bring us into His salvation and His salvation brings us to New Jerusalem.

Photo by Christine Painter, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

Praise God for Mercy unto New Jerusalem

God’s mercy underlies our redemption, our regeneration, His supply for our daily Christian walk, and our certainty of the eternal future in New Jerusalem. As we conclude our posts on God’s mercy, here are some verses from a hymn written by Witness Lee (music). We “glorify God for His mercy” (Romans 15:9).

New JerusalemGod, we praise Thee for Thy mercy,
__’Tis so great and so profound!
In our weakness and our failures;
__With its greatness it abounds.
We adore Thee! we adore Thee!
__With such mercy we’ve been crowned!

Mercy reaches us even when we are in our weakness and in failures. And what day do we not have failure? Therefore we can join the praise of Lamentations 3:22-23, “His compassions do not fail; they are new every morning.” We fail but His compassions never fail. Of course, we will not have failures in New Jerusalem, but His mercies, His compassions will still be there.

New JerusalemFor Thy mercy we are grateful,
__’Tis so rich, so plenteous!
Thru Thy mercy in redemption,
__Thou hast richly favored us.
If without this, if without this,
__How could we be favored thus?

We can never cease to praise Thee,
__As Thy mercy e’er endures;
All Thy grace and all Thy favor,
__Ever for us it secures.
Trusting in it, trusting in it,
__Thy sure mercy us assures.

Without God’s mercy in redemption we could never have begun the path to New Jerusalem. To arrive in New Jerusalem, we surely need life and the growth in life which only God can give (1 Corinthians 3:6), yet without mercy for redemption, we are shut out from life (one two three posts on this). God’s mercy secures all God’s grace and all God’s favor for us; trusting in mercy and praising for mercy, we have assurance unto New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of Salt Lake City Weather Service Forecast Office and NOAA.

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

Romans 11 speaks of God’s work among the Jews and among the non-Jews. All of this work is unto His eternal goal, the New Jerusalem.

Mercy is intimately involved in God’s work through the ages. Romans 11:30-32 says,

For just as you [believers not of the Jews] once disobeyed God, but now have been shown mercy because of their [the Jews] disobedience, so these also now have disobeyed, so that because of the mercy shown to you they also now may be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.

New JerusalemGod wants to show mercy to all. He will do it in His way and in His time. Nevertheless, we should cooperate. We should cry out to Him for mercy. We should also come forward to the throne of grace to receive mercy.

We should praise God. We do not understand all His working and cannot comprehend why He does things a certain way, but we should recognize that He is infinitely wise and knows the best way to accomplish everything. Romans 11:33-36 proclaims, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!…To Him be the glory forever.”

Finally, in the words of Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.” We are objects of His mercy! Let us glorify Him now and unto New Jerusalem.

Photo by Bruce Fritz, courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The New Creation is What Matters

It is God’s mercy that we have been forgiven and regenerated and are going to New Jerusalem. On this path we still need God’s mercy. Today we come forward to receive mercy and find grace at the throne, which is the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem.

In Galatians 6:15-16 Paul says, “For neither is circumcision anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creation is what matters. And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.”

New JerusalemCircumcision and uncircumcision are outward; they are not what matters. What matters to Christians is the new creation. In Galatians the new creation includes Christ revealed in us (1:16), being sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (3:26), Christ living in us (2:20), and Christ formed in us (4:19).

The new creation also includes receiving the Spirit by faith (3:2), being perfected by the Spirit (3:3), walking by the Spirit (5:16), living by the Spirit (5:25), and sowing unto the Spirit (6:8).

In our living we should care for the new creation. Presently this creation is spiritual and hidden within us. Eventually the new creation, the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem as their center, will become visible to all (Revelation 21:1-2).

Paul’s word in Galatians 6 wishes peace and mercy to those who walk by caring for the new creation, to those who have a living and a view unto New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Receive Mercy and Find Grace on the Journey to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemAs believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have eternal life and we are on the path to New Jerusalem.

Although we have eternal life, we still also have the soulish life (which the Lord asks us to deny) and our corrupted flesh. These cause us trouble in our Christian life and are the subject of multiple New Testament warnings, such as the end of Galatians 5 and the first half of Ephesians 5.

We should not fight the negative things on our own because then we will fall into the trap described in Romans 7—“the evil which I do not will, this I practice.” Instead, let us heed Hebrews 4:16:

Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace  that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.

We may (and can) come forward with boldness because of the blood shed by the Lord on the cross (Hebrews 10:19-22). When we come forward first we “receive mercy.” This indicates both our lack of qualification and God’s great compassions.

We receive mercy, then with a little more seeking we “find grace.” This mercy and grace are “for timely help”—it might be when we are frustrated or angry or confused or lonely or ______ (insert your own description here).

Because of the Lord’s mercy and because of the blood of the Lamb, the throne is to us the throne of grace and not the throne of judgement. Out of this throne flows mercy and grace. The same throne will be in New Jerusalem with a merciful and gracious flow of the river of water of life.

More about the throne of grace.

We Await the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto Eternal Life and New Jerusalem

We were sinners but through God’s mercy His salvation came to us. Now we are His people to display and to tell forth His excellencies (1 Peter 2:9-10), both now and in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAlthough we have been saved and our salvation is secure, we still need God’s mercy. This is indicated by the opening words to several epistles:
• “To Timothy, genuine child in faith: Grace, mercy, peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1 Timothy 1:2)
• “Grace, mercy, peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” (2 John 3)
• “Mercy to you and peace and love be multiplied.” (Jude 2)

The epistles of Timothy and 2 John were written to respected Christians known to the apostles. Yet they wished mercy even to these advanced believers. Certainly we too still need mercy.

Jude was written to believers in general, those who are “beloved in God the Father, and kept by Jesus Christ” (v. 1) and also wishes mercy to them. This too includes us.

This mercy is not only related to our being saved from sin, condemnation, and other negative matters. Jude 21 encourages us to “keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have eternal life already; here “unto eternal life” indicates we still need mercy to be brought into the fuller enjoyment of this life in the coming age and the fullest enjoyment of it in New Jerusalem.

Photo by Lance Cheung, courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mercy Leads Us to Life for God’s Habitation

New JerusalemEphesians 2 and Titus 3 present our transition from a sinful condition apart from God to having eternal life for the building of God’s habitation. Both God’s life and His habitation have their consummation at New Jerusalem.

We need the eternal life to participate in the building of God’s habitation. Our growing in this life is the building up of this habitation and of the Body of Christ, as in Ephesians 4:15-16. However, as sinners, we are not qualified to receive eternal life. We are shut out, kept away from the tree of life, as portrayed in Genesis 3:24. Therefore we need God’s mercy.

Like Ephesians 2 and Titus 3, 1 Peter also has the thread of mercy, life, and building. Verse 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.”

Our regeneration, the marvelous inheritance, the building of God’s house in 1 Peter 2, and the new heavens and new earth in 2 Peter 3 all point toward New Jerusalem.

Blessed be our God and Father, who regenerated us according to His great mercy and who will also bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

According to God’s Mercy He Saved Us

New JerusalemThe prior post focused on Ephesians 2, where God’s mercy is brings us to salvation “that He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of this display.

Titus 3:4-5 say, “the kindness and the love to man of our Savior God appeared, not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

Titus 3:3 (like Ephesians 2:1-3) presents our fallen condition, requiring God’s mercy. Then Titus 3:4-5 (like Ephesians 2:4-6) presents God’s mercy and our salvation. This salvation renews us to be God’s people for the building of God’s habitation.

First Peter 2:9-10 is similar—“you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but now are the people of God; who had not previously been shown mercy but have now been shown mercy.”

Again, mercy has come to us to make us God’s people, His royal priesthood, His holy nation. An issue of this is that we tell out/declare/show forth/proclaim His virtues, His excellencies. Eternally, New Jerusalem will be this telling out, this showing forth, of God’s excellencies.

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 its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

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