The Unsearchable Riches of Christ as the Gospel, Now and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemPaul: “I became a minister [of the gospel] according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me according to the operation of His power. To me…was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:7-8).

In God’s view the gospel is much more than a response to our need. The gospel is to bring us from our fallen condition back to God, to regenerate us with His life, to fully renew us through the course of our Christian life, and to build us together with other believers. This accomplishes God’s eternal purpose, ultimately bringing forth New Jerusalem.

For all these steps we surely need God’s mercy and compassion but we also need much more. We need the riches of Christ. God’s intention is to strengthen us into our inner man, our regenerated spirit, so that Christ may make His home in our heart. Then we are rooted and grounded in His love and can lay hold of these unsearchable riches. Eventually we are filled unto all the fullness of God and the outcome is glory to God. This is the gospel presented in Ephesians 3.

When we are filled with God, His glory shines out. This is His intention. He is working to fill us day by day with these unsearchable riches. Eventually we all will be filled and New Jerusalem will radiate the glory of God eternally.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and New Jerusalem

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and New Jerusalem

The gospel brings us to God’s redemption that we may receive His eternal life and partake of His salvation throughout our Christian life. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

“The gospel of Jesus,” “the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and “the gospel of Christ” are mentioned in about 30 New Testament verses. Jesus Christ is the center of the gospel and He will be the center of New Jerusalem. He is the same yesterday, today, and eternally (Heb. 13:8).

The first name and the last name (Rev. 22:21) in the New Testament is Jesus, proving that Jesus Christ is the subject and content of the New Testament.*

New JerusalemOn the cross Christ created one new man, composed of all the people He redeemed and reconciled to God, thus making peace (Eph. 2:14-16). In this one new man, the stepping stone to New Jerusalem, He is all and in all, and in Him our racial, social, cultural, and national distinctions have been eliminated (Col. 3:11). 

Now our need is to “be renewed in the spirit of our mind” (Eph. 4:23). By this renewing, which is day by day, not once for all, we practically put off the old man—our old ways of thinking and living—and put on the new man so that Christ is expressed. 

This renewing prepares us for New Jerusalem which is fully new in Christ and fully expresses Him. This is the goal of the gospel and the goal of Christ’s human living, death, resurrection, and ascension.

* Part of footnote 1 on Matt. 1:1 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

The Gospel: a Promise of Resurrection and Incorruption

“Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). His resurrection nullifies death and His resurrection life changes our corruption into incorruption, thus preparing us for New Jerusalem.

In Acts 13 Paul spoke of “the gospel of the promise made to the fathers.” This gospel is characterized by resurrection and incorruption. The first step for us, as mentioned in Acts 13, is forgiveness of sins as God’s response to our repentance. This is Luke 24:47, “Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations.”

Based on this forgiveness, we receive God’s eternal life, an incorruptible life, the life of resurrection. This life matches New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

When we receive this life, the first action in us is that our deadened spirit is made alive. Then gradually this life spreads in our being to renew our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—making our soul life. Gradually this life is imparted into our mortal body, an impartation which will be completed at the Lord’s return so that “the body of our humiliation” may be “conformed to the body of His glory.”

This life saturating our being makes us people full of life and full of incorruption, swallowing all the death and corruption in our being. Through this development, we get fully conformed to New Jerusalem to become a part of this city “having the glory of God.”


Some phrases about this development of life:
Eph. 2:5 God, “when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ”
Rom. 8:10 “if Christ is in you…the spirit is life because of righteousness.”
Rom. 8:6 “the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”
Rom. 8:11 God will “give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”

Life and Incorruption through the Gospel

Second Timothy 1:10 speaks of “the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.” This life is the eternal life of God, the only life present in New Jerusalem. 

New JerusalemThe incorruption is the result of long-term operation of this life in all the believers. Our present thoughts are corrupt at various times and our body’s corruption is shown by illnesses, weaknesses, and pains. 

First Corinthians 15 is a chapter of resurrection. The concluding verses are about our current corruption being changed to incorruption. This chapter quotes Isaiah, “the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory.’” 

This incorruption in our being and this victory will be manifested first in the kingdom age and more fully in the new creation. Since this incorruption comes to light through the gospel, the gospel points to the kingdom and to the new creation including New Jerusalem.

We should keep in mind that it is “our Savior Christ Jesus” who accomplished everything presented in 2 Timothy 1:10. And He brought these things to light through the gospel. Ephesians 2:17 tells us “coming, He announced peace as the gospel to you who were far off [the non-Jews], and peace to those who were near [the Jews].” The gospel is presented to us not merely by believers but by our Savior’s coming through these believers. His coming brings to us now the life that will bring us to incorruption and to New Jerusalem.

Additional posts about incorruption:
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
Resurrection is the Incorruptible Answer
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Gospel of Grace and New Jerusalem

In Acts 20:24 Paul speaks of “the gospel of the grace of God.” Like aspects of the gospel in prior posts, this too is related to New Jerusalem. He continues in Acts 20:32, “I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who have been sanctified.”

God and the word of His grace can build us together. This is the building up of the Body of Christ now, the forerunner of New Jerusalem. God and the word of His grace also give us the inheritance. This is not “an inheritance” but “the inheritance,” unique, called “the eternal inheritance” in Hebrews 9:15. This also points to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSimilarly, Titus 3:7 ties grace to God’s eternal salvation, saying that “having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Even more, 1 Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus.” This eternal glory surely is New Jerusalem.

In addition, the inheritance in Acts 20:32 is “among all those who have been sanc-tified,” a sanctification which prepares us for the holy city, New Jerusalem.

This grace should operate in us to the extent it becomes visible. Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch and “when he arrived and saw the grace of God, rejoiced” (Acts 11:23). Grace certainly will be very visible through New Jerusalem and will cause great rejoicing.

Photo courtesy of NASA, JPL-Caltech, and U. of Arizona.

The Hope of the Gospel and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMany aspects of the gospel correspond with characteristics of New Jerusalem. Colossians 1:23 speaks of “the hope of the gospel.” Our hope is not a thing or a success or a position. Ephesians 2:12 says that when we were “apart from Christ” we had no hope. In contrast to this, Christ Himself and all that He will accomplish in us is our hope.

Colossians 1:27 tells us that Christ in us is our hope of glory. He was glorified through death and resurrection. Through this He also become our Redeemer and our Life. Now we are being transformed to glory. When we see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27) our mortal body will be conformed to the body of His glory.

The glory which is our hope is not merely an external glory into which we will enter. Rather, it is Christ in us growing/spreading in our being to glorify us with Himself. At His return this hope will be fulfilled.

When Christ comes again, “He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). He will be in glory and will be glorified in the believers at that time, and in the manifestation of His kingdom, and eternally in New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

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 LSM.

The Gospel of Resurrection and New Jerusalem

The gospel of glory, of peace, and of the kingdom are all linked to New Jerusalem. So also is “announcing Jesus and the resurrection as the gospel” in Acts 17:18.

The resurrection of Jesus is a historic event recorded in the gospels and proclaimed in Acts. It is also a present reality for us to experience.  

New JerusalemThe incarnation, human living, and death of the man Jesus are all vital steps for our redemption and reconciliation. Based on this, God “has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

Today we partake of the Lord’s death and His resurrection to walk in the “newness of life” in Romans 6:4. This life is Christ Himself who is “the resurrection” and who is “our life.” This life grows in us unto maturity to bring us into and fully matched to New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem is a city of glory, a city in resurrection. In Luke 24 the Lord spoke interchangeably about resurrection and glorification. The measuring of the wall of the city in Revelation 21 also shows that it is in resurrection. And the multiple aspects of the glories of the Lord in 1 Peter 1 match characteristics of New Jerusalem.

Therefore, Paul’s “announcing Jesus and the resurrection as the gospel” is both for our present believing (Acts 17:34) and to point us toward New Jerusalem. 

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Gospel of the Kingdom and New Jerusalem

The gospel is of glory and of peace; both link New Jerusalem to the gospel. The gospel is also “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23). This is another link between the gospel and the eternal kingdom of God which is the new creation with God’s throne at its center, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Matthew 24:14 the Lord Jesus says, “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” 

The gospel to every nation is based on the Lord’s accomplishment on the cross, as declared in the song of praise to Him in Revelation 5:9, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

Through death the Lord purchased some from every nation and made us all priests to God. Now the gospel goes out to every nation to proclaim this accomplishment. This gospel brings us into the priesthood now (1 Peter 2:5, 9) and in New Jerusalem.

The priesthood purchased out of every nation is also a kingdom. Like the priesthood, the kingdom is both now and eternally in New Jerusalem. This is the eternal goal of the gospel of the kingdom.

Additional verses about the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel to the nations include Mark 13:10, Luke 4:43, 16:16, Acts 8:12, and Gal. 3:8.

The Gospel of Peace and New Jerusalem

The gospel of the glory of God points to New Jerusalem. So does “the gospel of peace” because Jerusalem means The Foundation of Peace. 

Acts 10:36 speaks of “the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all).” Jesus Christ “Himself is our peace” because on the cross He terminated all the divisive factors which cause enmity among mankind (Eph. 2:13-16).

New JerusalemIn resurrection He came as the Spirit in his disciples and “announced peace as the gospel to you who were far off [non-Jews], and peace to those who were near [Jews].” This peace is for today and for eternity. 

In Christ we have the present reality of no divisive ordinances or feelings. “In Me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Eventually the world and all its divisive factors will go to the lake of fire, so the new creation, with New Jerusalem as its center, will be 100 percent peaceful.

Today, while the world is still around us and we walk through it, we should have on our feet “ the firm foundation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). This foundation both separates us from the world and supplies us to speak the gospel of peace to others.

This gospel of peace is our present foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The Gospel of Glory and New Jerusalem (2)

The gospel and New Jerusalem are linked. The consummation of “the gospel of the glory of Christ” is New Jerusalem. 

New JerusalemGod chose us “unto salvation” (2 Thes. 2:13) and He also called us through the gospel “unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 14). Our salvation includes forgiveness of sins, justification, and reconciliation to God, but it also includes much more. It includes all that Jesus Christ is and everything that is in New Jerusalem.

God called us through the gospel to receive Jesus Christ as our life and to have Him as our life develop His glory within us (2 Thes. 1:10). When the Lord returns, He will come in glory. At the same time, the development of glory within us will be completed. He “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil 3:21). Thus, we will all be glorious to match New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

The gospel is also “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11).

The gospel with which the apostle Paul was entrusted is the effulgence of the glory of the blessed God. By dispensing God’s life and nature in Christ into God’s chosen people, this gospel shines forth God’s glory, in which God is blessed among His people.*

New Jerusalem will shine with the glory of God to bless God and to manifest God as the blessing to the entire new creation.

* Part of footnote 1 on 1 Tim. 1:11 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee.

The Gospel of Glory and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemDuring my Bible reading I came to the phrase “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11). Since New Jerusalem has the glory of God, this phrase tells us that the gospel points toward or includes New Jerusalem. 

Soon afterwards I came to “peace as the gospel” (Eph. 2:17). Because Jerusalem means foundation of peace, this is another phrase linking the gospel and New Jerusalem. These two verses initiated this series of posts.

Gospel and glory are together in three verses (see the next post also). In 2 Corinthians 4 the essence of the gospel is Christ Jesus Himself (v. 5). God desires to shine into our hearts “to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (v. 6). This is “the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (v. 4).

Apart from Christ Jesus, we cannot participate in the glory of God. But in response to the gospel, we believed and He shined into us. Now “we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (v. 7). We are merely earthen but He is the excellent treasure in us. 

Whenever we turn our hearts to Him and behold Him within, we reflect His glory, He grows and spreads within us, and we are transformed “from glory to glory” (v. 3:16, 18). The corporate consummation of this development and expression of glory is New Jerusalem. This is the goal of the gospel of the glory of Christ.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:24

The Lamb is Jesus Christ and the wife of the Lamb is the holy city New Jerusalem. Their marriage is in love, the love of God to us and our response to and with His love.

Ephesians concludes, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” The Lord certainly desires that we love Him. This love is the first commandment (Mark 12:30) and in response to this love He and the Father make their dwelling with us (John 14:23), a precursor of New Jerusalem as their eternal dwelling.

New JerusalemWe are to “love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Our love must originate from God because our natural love is corruptible. He is the only incorruptible One and New Jerusalem will be an incorruptible city to match Him as His wife.
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance
Incorruptible and Undefiled and Unfading
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem

In contrast, the Gospels have examples of corrupted, selfish love. In Matthew 20 the mother of James and John, who loved the Lord, asked that her sons sit on His right and left in the kingdom. In response the Lord told His disciples not to strive for greatness but to be a servant, even a slave.

We have been regenerated of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23) and all our love for the Lord should spring from this. Lord, thank You for Your love to us that we may love You in purity from now unto New Jerusalem.

Photo by NASA, ESA, STSci; courtesy of NASA.

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