New Jerusalem is the holy city. God has given Jesus Christ to us as our holiness objectively. Throughout our Christian life we are experiencing the Lord’s washing in the water of His word that we may be holy subjectively. Through this process we will match the holy city in reality.
On one hand the Holy Spirit is renewing us (Titus 3:5) and the water in the living word is washing us (Ephesians 5:26-27). This is the operation of the Triune God to sanctify us wholly that our “spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
On the other hand we need to cooperate. Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.” To partake of His holiness is to experience it, which is beyond having it imputed to us objectively. This requires our pursuing.
Second Corinthians 7:1 says “let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Cleanse ourselves points to our cooperation to gain the living reality of holiness. This cleansing is not by us independently but by our confessing and accepting the forgiveness in Christ and by seeking to be renewed away from repetitions of defilement.
Cooperation is also seen in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy because I am holy.’” We exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.
The result of cooperation is that sanctification is gradually worked into us to bring us to the holiness of New Jerusalem.