The Peace of Christ in our Hearts

New JerusalemPrior posts have presented oneness in John 10 and 17, Ephesians 2, and 1 Corinthians 10 and 12. All of these point to the unique New Jerusalem as the unique city in the new creation which fully expresses the one God.

Galatians 3:28 parallels other verses: “There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Christ Jesus, both now and in New Jerusalem, all the natural distinctions which divide fallen man are annulled. Outside the natural realm and in the mystical realm in Him we are one.

The oneness in Christ is a fact for which we must care so that it can be our experience and our appearance. Ephesians 4:1-3 beseeches us “to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love, being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.”

These virtues—lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, love, diligence, peace—are all not of ourselves but are the fruit of the Spirit in us. When we are walking according to the Spirit we experience His supply which enables us to keep the oneness.

Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body; and be thankful.” We were called to peace in one Body but now we need to let this peace preside/rule/control/govern* within us. Again, this is a matter of the Spirit within us, and is often contrary to our natural preference, desire, or habit. “The mind set on the spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).

Lord, I don’t want to wait for New Jerusalem; I want to learn Your ruling peace now so that I can be in the reality of one Body.

*Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com.

Partake of One Bread, One Body, One City

Pictures of the oneness of New Jerusalem include the one flock, the one new man, and the one Body. Another picture is in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, “The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Christ? Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.”

The breaking portrays the death of Christ and the partaking implies His resurrection. By His death and resurrection, we have all become one in Him. This is the oneness of His Body, of the one new man, and of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPartaking of the bread makes us one. This is not the physical bread on the table, which is only a symbol. Remember John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” Jesus Christ is the real bread, the living bread, as testified in all of John 6. Today our eating/partaking must be by exercising our spirit to contact the Spirit.

The most solid way to partake is with the Word and Spirit together. Ephesians 6:17-18 encourages us to receive “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.”

The word in verse 17 is “the instant word spoken at the moment by the Spirit in any situation. The sword, the Spirit, and the word are one. When the constant word in the Bible becomes the instant word, that word is the Spirit as the sword that kills the enemy.*”

The spirit in verse 18 is “our regenerated spirit, indwelt by the Spirit of God. It may be considered the mingled spirit — the spirit that is our spirit mingled with God’s Spirit. In praying, the main faculty that we should use is this spirit.**”

Receiving the word in spirit energizes us to participate in the one Body as the foretaste of New Jerusalem.

*Note 4 on Ephesians 6:17 and **note 3 on Ephesians 6:18 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version © by Living Stream Ministry

Baptized in One Spirit into One Body           and into New Jerusalem

All believers in Jesus Christ, although very numerous, “are one Body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5). To be “one Body in Christ” is not by our doing. Rather, 1 Corinthians 1:29-30 assures us, “of God you are in Christ Jesus.” In the same way, it is of God that we are in New Jerusalem and are one organic city in Christ.

New JerusalemHow did God put us into Christ so that we could be one Body in Him? First Corinthians 12:13 tells us, “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body.”

This Body is the present reality of New Jerusalem. The oneness of the Body of Christ and the oneness of the new man (Eph. 2:15, Col. 3:10-11) both point toward the oneness of New Jerusalem.

How do we partake of this oneness? “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and were all given to drink one Spirit.” Isaiah 12:3-4: “You will draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation, and you will say in that day, Give thanks to Jehovah; call upon His name!”

These verses tell us that spiritual drinking is calling on the name of the Lord. Calling O Lord Jesus brings us into the practicality of the oneness as our foretaste of New Jerusalem. We can also cry out O Lord Jesus, we love You!

Surely New Jerusalem will be full of rejoicing, thanksgiving, calling, and loving the Lord.

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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Drinking by Calling on the Lord at Holding to Truth.

From One Body Now to One New Jerusalem

We are in a series on New Jerusalem as the consummation of the New Testament oneness in the Triune God. This oneness is for the corporate expression of this unique God.

Romans 12:5 proclaims, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” This is our Christian position today. Of course being one in Christ will also be true in New Jerusalem, but don’t discount today!

New JerusalemRomans 12:4 mentions the many members of our physical body as an illustration of the spiritual Body of Christ. The many members were not produced separately and then assembled. No! All the physical members grew together as one body and are one living organism.

The Body of Christ is the same and is one Body in Him. Likewise New Jerusalem is the same; the city is one living organism in Christ.

First Corinthians 12:14-27 also uses our physical body as an illustration of the Body of Christ. These verses, like Romans 12, describe us as “members,” not individual units. But, remember that we are members in life, members of a living organism, in contrast to members of an organization.

New Jerusalem is the expansion of the Body of Christ. We all are the living members of this living organism. Our physical body, as a picture of the Body of Christ, is also a picture of New Jerusalem. We all are built together living members of this living city. To paraphrase Romans 12:5 for New Jerusalem, “we who are many are one city in Christ.”

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The Goal of Oneness, Now & New Jerusalem, is to Express the One Unique God

New JerusalemRecent posts have touched the one flock with one Shepherd (John 10); the one new man created on the cross (Eph. 2); and our oneness in the Father’s name and life, through the sanctifying word of reality, and in the divine glory (John 17).

John 17 emphasizes that our oneness is in the Triune God. This is both for our Christian life today and for New Jerusalem.

We are not one in ourselves, as the daily news from around the world strongly testifies. We can only be truly one in the Triune God. Some key phrases from John 17:
• They may be one even as We are (v. 11)
• That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You,
__that they also may be in Us (v. 21)
• I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one (v. 23)
• The love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them (v. 26).

Why this emphasis on oneness? Jesus spoke an answer in Mark 12:29 (quoting Deut 6), “Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.” The Lord our God is ONE.

The unique God desires that His expression will match Him. Therefore, through death and resurrection He has opened the door to bring us into Himself because only in Him (out of the natural, fallen man) is the place, atmosphere, and life supply for us to be one today and unto eternity.

New Jerusalem is one city to express the one God. Although the city is full of twelves to express the perfect fullness of God, it is still one city. The unique God has the unique New Jerusalem as His corporate expression for eternity.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Perfected into One unto New Jerusalem

In John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed for our oneness in the Triune God. This prayer includes three stages of oneness—in the Father’s name (one), sanctification in the word of reality (two), and in glory (this post). Three stages in one hymn.

New JerusalemIn John 17:22-23 the Lord prayed, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one…” The glory is the expression of God.

Because we have all received the divine life and divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), we have this glory. The extent to which we live by the divine life and divine nature determines the magnitude of glory expressed. New Jerusalem will be the fullest expression.

As before, oneness in the divine glory is not outward, not man-made, not by adherence to a creed, not by following a set of rules. The real oneness, now and unto New Jerusalem, is as “We [the Triune God] are one.” Nothing less, nothing lower. Our oneness is God in Christ in us and we in Him. This matches what the Lord told the disciples, “you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20).

In the Triune God, with the Triune God in us, we “may be perfected into one.” Perfection is a quality of God, not of men. For us to be perfected into one is to be perfected in our living in and because of the Triune God. At times we fail, but we confess our sins and receive His forgiveness. Eventually we will mature in the divine life and come to the reality, the perfection, of New Jerusalem.

As in verse 17:21, so in verse 23 the result of the oneness today is “that the world may know.” The perfection in glory is not only for New Jerusalem but even for today.

See also Glorification and Oneness in the Triune God.

Sanctified into One unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn John 10 the Lord spoke about one flock; on the cross He created one new man; in John 17 He prayed that we all may be one. This oneness extends from the cross through today to New Jerusalem.

The first stage of His prayer in John 17 was for us to be kept in the oneness in the Father’s name, implying also in the Father’s divine life. In the second stage He prayed “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth….That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:17, 21).

Externally, we are in the world as the early disciples were (17:18). Thus we need to be sanctified from the world all the way to the holy (sanctified) city of New Jerusalem.

To be sanctified (Eph. 5:261 Thes. 5:23) is to be separated from the world and its usurpation unto God and His purpose, not only positionally (Matt. 23:1719) but also dispositionally (Rom. 6:1922). God’s living word works in the believers to separate them from anything worldly. This is to be sanctified in God’s word, which is the truth, the reality.*

Our oneness is not trivial. Christian oneness now, and in New Jerusalem, is “even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.” This is realized through His prayer that “they also may be in Us.” Our oneness is our being in and living in the Triune God. Lord, we want to experience this!

Such oneness in the Triune God expresses the Triune God. Today the result is “that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:21). Ultimately the result is New Jerusalem shining with the glory of God to the whole universe.

*Note 1 on John 17:17 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.
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Kept in Oneness unto New Jerusalem

On the cross the Lord created two peoples—Jews and Gentiles— “in Himself into one new man, so making peace” (Eph. 2:15). This oneness consummates in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed for the practical outworking of this oneness. His prayer includes three stages. The foundation for this prayer is in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one” because “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (14:10). The oneness is neither an outward association nor a mental agreement; this oneness is by mutual indwelling.

In John 17:11 Jesus asked the Father, “keep them [all His disciples] in Your name, which You have given to Me, that they may be one even as We are.” The oneness for which the Lord prayed is at the same standard and in the same manner as His oneness with the Father. This is the oneness which He longs for today and which will characterize New Jerusalem.

To be kept in the Father’s name is to be kept by His life, because only those who are born of the Father and have the Father’s life can participate in the Father’s name.* When we are kept in the Father’s divine life, we are one. This is how the new man, the Body of Christ, and New Jerusalem are one.

Father, keep me in Your name and in Your life day by day to be one with You and with all other Christians.

*An extract from note 2 on John 17:11 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

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From One New Man unto New Jerusalem

The one flock in John 10 is the first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness; the description of New Jerusalem is the last. In John 10 the Lord said that He would lay down His human life in death to produce His one flock. His death to produce the oneness God desires is also seen in Ephesians 2:14-16:

New JerusalemHe Himself is our peace, He who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition, the enmity, abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace, and might reconcile both in  one Body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it.

While the Lord was dying on the cross He was also creating one new man—an amazing accomplishment! This creating is coupled with reconciling us to God in one Body. Both the creating and the reconciling produce “one” out of “two.”

The “two” are the Jews and the Gentiles (all the non-Jewish peoples). These are identical to the two groups of sheep in John 10 which the Lord made into one flock.

In making the “two” into “one” He not only made peace but also He became our peace. The oneness of the new man in Christ is full of peace—a stark contrast to the divisions, arguments, and angry actions in the world. Like the one flock, this one new man, the one spiritual Body of Christ, consummates in the one New Jerusalem and our peace in Christ also points to New Jerusalem since “Jerusalem” means “foundation of peace.”

One Flock, One Shepherd, One City

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of every positive quality in the Bible. Jesus told us, “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd” (John 10:16). This is the first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness. This oneness develops through the one Body, the one new man (upcoming posts), to the one New Jerusalem.

In John 9 the Lord gave sight to a man blind from birth. This man, viewed as a disciple of Jesus (John 9:28), was cast out of the Jewish fellowship in the synagogue (John 9:22, 34, 35). From the religious Jews’ viewpoint, he was cast out. However, from Jesus’ viewpoint, he was a sheep and Jesus led him out of the sheepfold to find pasture that he might have eternal life (John 10:9-10).

The sheepfold represents the law which guarded the Jewish people until Christ came. Galatians 3:23-24 speaks of this guarding— “But before faith came we were guarded under law, being shut up unto the faith which was to be revealed. So then the law has become our child-conductor unto Christ that we might be justified out of faith.”

In John 10:16 the Lord says, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must lead them also.” These sheep are from the nations. Then He said that from these sheep and from those of the sheepfold, “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd.”

The Lord also says He laid down His soul life, His human life, to accomplish redemption for His sheep (vv. 1517-18) that they may share His zoe life, His divine life (v. 10b), the eternal life (v. 28), by which they can be formed into one flock under Himself as the one Shepherd.* This eternal life makes us one and brings us all the way to New Jerusalem.

* An extract from the note on John 10:11 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.
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Pursue now, unto New Jerusalem (2)

Our present New Testament pursuing includes peace, love, sanctification, and building up (verses in prior post). All of these point toward New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAdditionally, 2 Timothy 2:22 entreats us to “flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Our pursuing of righteousness is our pursuing of Christ because God has made Him righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30).

“We are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Not only New Jerusalem, but also the entire new universe will be characterized by righteousness. Furthermore, Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” Ultimately the throne is in New Jerusalem from which the living water flows for eternity (Rev. 22:1).

We also pursue faith. This faith is our conviction of things not seen, including New Jerusalem, the city with foundations toward which Abraham looked (Heb. 11:1, 10, 16). We pursue peace too, which comes from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (start of Rom., 1&2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil) and is called “the peace of Christ” in Colossians 3:15. Additionally we pursue love, the love which is of God (Rom. 5:5) and is God Himself (1 John 4:16).

All our pursuing (and our fleeing also) is “with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” To call on the Lord is to cry out to Him. This is an audible calling, as in Acts 7:59, and 9:14, 21. Here is much more on the Biblical history of calling on the name of the Lord. Given this long history, it is likely that even in New Jerusalem we will call on the name of the Lord Jesus.

Lord, bring me into the practice of 2 Timothy 2:22. Give me calling companions with whom I can call on You and pursue You as my righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

More: Discovering the Indwelling Christ as the Spirit by Calling on Him at Holding to Truth.

Pursue now, unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemA recent post encourages us to
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
I am convinced that we should do this, although this phrase is not explicitly in the Bible.

While praying on the phone with a brother, he touched 2 Timothy 2:22, which is about pursuing. That motivated me to look at New Testament verses on pursuing and how the objectives pursed relate to New Jerusalem. Here are the verses which touched me.

Romans 14:19 exhorts us to “pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.” First Peter 3:11 also urges us to pursue peace. Pursuing peace is certainly related to New Jerusalem because the name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace” (one two). Building up is a central feature of the New Testament (e.g. 1 Cor 3:6-12, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:4-5) and New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s NT building.

First Corinthians 14:1 charges us to “pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Love is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem but the God who is love is on the throne at the center of the city. How does prophesying relate? He who prophesies builds up (1 Cor. 14:3-5, 12).

In Philippians 3:12, 14 Paul tells us that he was pursuing toward the goal. He was such an advanced Christian by that time, yet he still pursued because there is always more of the unlimited Christ to be gained. His goal was to gain Christ, be found in Christ, know Christ experientially, to attain to the out-resurrection, and to lay hold of Christ (3:9-12). New Jerusalem will be the fulness of all these aspirations.

Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification.” Peace is as in Romans 14:19.  The ultimate stage of *sanctification is the “holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Lord, draw us to pursue You every day as our peace, our love, our building up, our sanctification, our goal all the way to New Jerusalem.

* The Greek words translated sanctification and holy are very similar. The apparent difference in English is that one word comes from a Latin root and the other from an Anglo-Saxon root.

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