God Gave Us a Guarantee, a Foretaste

God’s Spirit within us is the pledge, the deposit, the down payment, guaranteeing all that God will be to us and do in us. This includes the redemption of our mortal body, then our participation in the kingdom age, and ultimately our participation in New Jerusalem.

Besides the verses in the prior post, Romans 8:23 says, “we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body.”

The Spirit as the guarantee is also the Spirit as the firstfruits, the foretaste of our full enjoyment of all of God’s riches.

At present our realization and appreciation of what God in Christ is to us is limited. The limiting factor is our fallen body, our flesh, in which nothing good dwells (Rom. 7:18). This limitation is the reason for the groaning in Romans 8:23.

Another limitation is our mind, to the extent it has not yet been renewed by the Spirit.

While we are groaning we also are partaking of the firstfruits of the Spirit. This Spirit is not only a guarantee of the coming riches but He is also our current foretaste of these riches. This foretaste gives us confidence for our fuller participation in God’s riches during the coming age and the fullest participation in New Jerusalem.

God Gave Us a Guarantee

Three verses in the New Testament speak of the Spirit as a pledge/deposit/guarantee/ down payment*. A fuller meaning is that which is assured by God to believers…the Divine pledge of all future blessings**. These future blessings include New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSecond Corinthians 1:22 tells us that God has “sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” The Spirit as a pledge, a down payment, means that we will receive more of the Spirit in the future. Eternally, the Spirit is portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 5:5 also speaks of the Spirit as a pledge. Our guarantee is not a thing or a legal document; rather it is the Spirit Himself, the Spirit who is the reality and who guides us into all the reality (John 16:13).

Ephesians 1:13b-14 says “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.”

God put His Spirit within us and also sealed us with this Spirit. This sealing keeps us for our divine inheritance, which is much more of the Triune God in the next age and the fullest portion in New Jerusalem for eternity.

In Ephesians 1 the Spirit as a pledge guarantees the redemption of our mortal body “to the praise of His glory.” God’s glory will fully shine forth from New Jerusalem and the entire universe will praise Him.


* Various translations in these verses, thanks to Bible Hub.
** Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
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Sonship for New Jerusalem (2)

God has chosen and predestinated us unto sonship according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:4-5). Then verse 6 says that this is “to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved.” God’s choosing, predestinating, good pleasure, His will, His grace, and the praise of His glory all climax in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod’s choosing and predestinating are eternal, but man fell into sin and death and was under the condemnation of the law. We could not do anything but “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under law, that He might redeem those under law that we might receive the sonship” (Gal. 4:4-5).

Through the death of Jesus Christ we were redeemed and through His resurrection we were regenerated (1 Peter 1:3) and “receive the sonship.” Redemption is needed for fallen humanity but life brings forth the praise of His glory now and in New Jerusalem.

For this sonship, Romans 8:15 tells us that we “have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!” This is the divine Spirit who gives birth to our human spirit and then dwells in our human spirit. In this spirit we have the reality of sonship. To cry “Abba, Father” releases the spirit deep within us to testify that we are children of God, born of God (v. 16).

From regeneration we are children of God. Now we are growing in this life to be mature sons to be fully prepared for New Jerusalem.

 

Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (4)

Faith and love are excellent virtues which come to us from and unite us with the Triune God. This life union carries us through sufferings to glory – the glorious expression of the Triune God who is our life and our living, the consummation of which is New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

Faith and love are included in the greeting at the end of Titus. Here is another part of the footnote on faith and love in this verse in the Recovery Version New Testament:

This wonderful faith and this super-excellent love are out of the Triune God, who earnestly desires to be joined to us to be our everything. This Triune God passed through the process of incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection from the dead, and ascension to the heavens on high and was ultimately consummated as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). This Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2), who includes divinity, humanity, and Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension and is the reality of the all-inclusive Christ (John 14:16-20), dwells in our regenerated spirit (Rom. 8:16; 2 Tim. 4:22). When we contact this Triune God through prayer and by looking to Him…He infuses Himself into us in many ways to become the faith within us toward Him and the love outside of us toward those who belong to Him. Such faith and such love are the reality and expression (1 John 4:8, 16) of the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — in whom we believe and whom we worship and receive.

The Triune God being our everything is an inward, hidden reality today that will be manifested in glory upon the Lord’s return and will be displayed to the fullest extent in New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me in Your faith and love so that You may live in me today and bring me and many others onward to New Jerusalem.

Part of the quote above, about wonderful faith and super-excellent love, has been set to music. Listen here.

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Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (3)

Romans 8:17 tells us that we suffer with Christ to be glorified with Him. Faith and love energize us to pass through the sufferings that bring us to the glory to be revealed at the Lord’s second coming and then to the glory of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

Titus ends, “All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in faith. Grace be with you all.” Here is part of the footnote on this verse in the Recovery Version New Testament:

Faith and love are two inseparable, excellent virtues of the believers in Christ. Faith is given to us by God (2 Pet. 1) that by it we may receive Christ (John 1:12), the embodiment of the Triune God (Col. 2:9), and thereby enter into the Triune God and be joined to Him as one, having Him as our life, life supply, and everything. Love issues out of such a wonderful faith and enables us to live out all the riches of the Triune God in Christ with those who have believed into Christ with us, that the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — may have a glorious expression.

Faith and love are excellent because they unite us with the Triune God. The Triune God as our life and living result in a glorious expression present now to a limited extent. This expression will be much more in the coming age and at its fullest in New Jerusalem.

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Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (2)

Faith and love supply us to pass through the sufferings that bring us to glory. This glory was first displayed in the Lord Jesus on the mountain and will ultimately be displayed through New Jerusalem. Here are more verses about faith and love for our journey to the city of glory.

“Let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and a helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thes. 5:8). Besides the suffering that comes to all humans, we are in a spiritual warfare.

“The grace of our Lord superabounded with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:14). Mercy (v. 13) and grace come to us from the Lord; faith and love return to the Lord from us. This is a spiritual traffic between the Lord and us.* This superabounding supply becomes our armor for the spiritual warfare.

New Jerusalem“Hold a pattern of the healthy words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13). This exhortation comes out of Paul’s suffering (v. 12) and his learning in spiritual warfare. The healthy words are those which supply eternal life to keep us spiritually healthy.

When New Jerusalem comes down to earth, all spiritual warfare will have ended. But the spiritual traffic of mercy and grace, faith and love, will continue eternally. Let us not wait for that time. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your mercy and grace to supply me daily to return faith and love to You.

Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the city of glory. To prepare the way unto this eternal city, Jesus Christ will come again in glory and we will be glorified with Him. Our glorification with Him involves suffering with Him now.

New JerusalemThe way to pass through the present sufferings is by faith and love. Faith substantiates the unseen, eternal glory, and love draws us to the Lord whom we have not seen. To encourage us on our path toward New Jerusalem, here are a few more verses on faith and love.

Galatians 5:6 tells us, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything nor uncircumcision, but faith avails, operating through love.” The two virtues operate together. Faith receives the Spirit of life (3:2); thus, it is full of power. It operates through love to fulfill…to complete the sonship of God for His corporate expression — the Body of Christ.*

Ephesians 6:23 blesses us, “Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Again love and faith are joined, and they come from our Father and our Lord. They do not originate with us. Only what is from the divine source can bring us to New Jerusalem.

Paul had not been to Colossae but he says, “we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have unto all the saints” (1:4). Thank the Lord for this expression of faith and love in humanity. There will be much more in New Jerusalem.

* Part of footnote 2 on Gal. 5:6 in the Recovery Version NT; footnotes written by Witness Lee.

 

 

 

Glorified with Christ for New Jerusalem (2)

First Corinthians 2:8 says that Jesus Christ, who was crucified, is “the Lord of glory.” He first revealed this glory on the mountain near Caesarea Philippi and will ultimately be glorious in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemColossians 3:4 declares, “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.” This is a promise. Colossians 3:1-3 show us how to reach this climax.

First, in 3:1 we “seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” These things “above” are the unseen, eternal things in Second Corinthians 4. We also set our mind on these things (3:2), including “the Jerusalem above” in Galatians 4:26.

In contrast, we do not set our mind “on the things which are on the earth” (3:2). This is parallel to Romans 8:6, “the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” Flesh corresponds with things on the earth and spirit corresponds with things above.

How do we carry this out? Colossians 3:3 reminds us, “you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Our death with Christ and Christ as our life are facts. The experience of these facts is in spirit*.

Our death with Christ saves us from earthly things. Christ as our life supplies us to seek the eternal things above. Living in the spirit is the path to being manifested with Christ in glory and being prepared for New Jerusalem. Lord, grant me more living in spirit to experience You more.

* See Key to Experiencing Christ–the Human Spirit, The.

Glorified to Match the City of Glory

In His return, in the manifestation of the kingdom, and in New Jerusalem Jesus Christ will be shining brightly with the glory of God. We too will be shining because He is in us and will shine through us.

New JerusalemSecond Thessalonians 1:8-9 speaks about the Lord’s judgment on evil doers at His return. Verse 10 continues, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed.” The Lord Jesus is coming in glory and He is coming to release His glory from within all His believers. This is the same as Romans 8:17, we will “be glorified with Him.”

Romans 8:29-30 speaks of God’s foreknowledge and predestination, which were in eternity. Then His calling and justifying, which have been accomplished. These verses also speak of our being conformed to the image of God’s Son and being glorified. This conformation and glorification are the result of His work within us.

The steps from foreknowledge to justification are preparation. Conformation and glorification are a process which changes us* from people of the fallen old creation to people of the glorious new creation to be part of New Jerusalem.

We will be glorified to match New Jerusalem as the city of glory.


* Romans 8:29-30 are past tense because in God’s view everything has been done. In our view conformation and glorification are in process and will become visible at the Lord’s return.

The Righteous Will Shine Forth

New JerusalemOn the mountain the Lord Jesus shone like the sun (Matt. 17). He will come again with great glory. After His coming, when judging the nations, He will sit on the throne of His glory (Matt 25:31). We expect Him to be with great glory on the throne of New Jerusalem.

The Lord Jesus will shine very brightly in His return and afterwards. What about us? Today we “are the light of the world” and should “let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:14-16). We also should “shine as luminaries in the world” “in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation” (Phil. 2:15).

These words about shining are for this age. Proverbs 4:18 declares “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Matthew says we shine today, Proverbs says our shining will increase, and in Matthew 13:43 the Lord tells us that upon His return, after the judgment, which will be the full day in Proverbs 4, “the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Daniel 12:3 is similar to Matthew 13: “Those who have insight will shine like the shining of the heavenly expanse, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars, forever and ever.”

As the outcome of these stages of shining, we should expect to shine in New Jerusalem. However, this shining is not from our natural being nor based on our natural capabilities nor attainments. The shining now and in New Jerusalem is our transparency to allow Christ to shine through us.

More about this shining:
The Light of the World, A City
Working Out Salvation to Shine with Christ
Shine…Holding Forth the Word of Life

See His Face in New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:4 tells us that in New Jerusalem, “they will see His face.” They refers to “His slaves” in the previous verse. His in these verses refer to God and the Lamb on the throne (v. 3). The Two are One.

New JerusalemThe statement in 22:4 is the consummation of the Lord’s promise in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We in ourselves cannot be pure. Only the Lord Himself is pure.

The answer is to turn our heart to the Lord. When we do this, the veils are taken away. Turning our heart is not a one-time matter but a daily exercise. We turn and open to the Lord, asking Him to impart His purity into us.

First Peter 1:22 says, “you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned brotherly love.” The purifying of our souls is the Spirit’s sanctifying of our disposition that we may live a holy life in God’s holy nature (v. 15-16). This purifying is like the washing of the water in the word in Eph. 5:26.*

This purity is not solely for seeing His face but for our entire participation in New Jerusalem. We cannot have the blessing in 22:4 apart from the whole of New Jerusalem, and the whole is pure. “The city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18).

Lord, work in me daily to purify my entire heart toward You!


* Part of footnote 1 on 1 Peter 1:22 in the Recovery Version NT; footnotes written by Witness Lee.

Photo by Chris Larsen courtesy of NASA.

The New Testament Crown

New JerusalemA few verses in the New Testament mention crowns of gold. However, we should not think that we will get a crown of physical gold. In New Jerusalem gold signifies the divine nature, the basic element of this city of resurrection life which shines with the glory of God.

Paul assures us that we who run the Christian race will receive an incorruptible crown (1 Cor. 9:25). You might think that gold is incorruptible, but 1 Peter tells us otherwise (v. 1:18).

The Lord Jesus was crowned with glory and honor (Heb. 2:7). Paul expected a crown of righteousness for himself and for all who have loved the Lord’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). James says that through trials we will receive a crown of life (v. 1:12). The Lord promises the same to the suffering church in Smyrna (Rev. 2:10). Peter tells the shepherds among God’s flock that they will receive “the unfading crown of glory” (v. 5:4).

None of these crowns are physical but their spiritual natures all match New Jerusalem. The city will be on the new earth, “in which righteousness dwells.” New Jerusalem is a city of life with a river of life and tree of life. And it is a city of glory, the unfading glory mentioned by Peter.

New Jerusalem will be the consummation of our experience of Christ as our our righteousness and our life, resulting in glory. His attributes are becoming, and in eternity will be, our crown.

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