The divine metaphor in Galatians 4:21-31 presents characteristics of the heavenly New Jerusalem. Galatians 5 continues and we have seen two characteristics of New Jerusalem. Here are four more characteristics of New Jerusalem presented in Galatians 5:1-6.
Spirit: Like Isaac, we are born of the Spirit (Galatians 4:29; John 3:5). Now we are people walking and living by the Spirit and bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25). All who will be in New Jerusalem are the same, so the city declares the completion of the Spirit’s work in humanity. Furthermore, the Spirit is flowing as the river from the throne for the eternal life supply to the city.
Faith: We are not the source of our faith; rather faith comes by hearing the life-giving word of Christ (Romans 10:17). This word energizes our “spirit of faith” (2 Corinthians 4:13). Today we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we by faith eagerly wait for the city which has the foundations, New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:8-10).
Hope: We were saved in hope (Romans 8:24); hope comes not from us but from God’s salvation received by us. It is not like the hopes expressed by many (e.g. I hope I get a good grade in class, or I hope my car keeps working another year), which really are uncertain desires. Our hope is certain and it includes “the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2), a glory that ultimately will be radiated by New Jerusalem.
Righteousness: We have the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5). Today we may be grieved by many unrighteous acts in the world. Nevertheless we have Jesus Christ in us as our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30); when we live Him out, He becomes our righteousnesses (righteous acts) shown by the fine linen in Revelation 19:8. Our ultimate hope of righteousness is New Jerusalem as the center of “new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwell” (2 Peter 3:13).
Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.