Eternal Redemption; Serve the Living God

Hebrews 9:12 declares that Jesus, “through His own blood, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:14 declares further that “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

How does that relate to New Jerusalem? Revelation 22:3, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.”

New JerusalemThe eternal redemption accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ is for us to serve God now and in New Jerusalem. His redemption, and the forgiveness and purifying it affords us, is always available because it was done “through the eternal Spirit.”

Redemption opens the door for us to receive eternal life, and eternal life (John 3:15-16) brings us into the bride of Christ (3:29-30) which ultimately is New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

The purifying presented in Hebrews 9:14 is necessary for us to receive eternal life and because “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18). New Jerusalem has no spots, no darkness, no obscurity. Every aspect of the city is pure and transparent.

We are experiencing the purifying in Hebrews 9 along with the inward washing of our being presented in Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. This brings us to the purity of New Jerusalem and to our eternal service to the living God.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ & His Attributes Become Our Crown

In Revelation 20:4 the faithful believers reign with Christ for 1000 years. In Revelation 22:5 all the believers will be in New Jerusalem and “they will reign forever and ever.”

New JerusalemFor these two stages of reigning, Christ will be our crown in various ways. In Philippians 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:19 the believers Paul brought to Christ are his crown.

In 2 Timothy 4:8 “the crown of righteousness” will be to “all those who have loved His appearing.” In James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 the believers who remain faithful to the Lord through trials will receive “the crown of life.” And in 1 Peter 5:4 is the promise of “the unfading crown of glory.”

When we first turned our hearts and  believed into the Lord Jesus Christ, we were born again and He became our life. Then throughout this age this life grows within us, and supplies us with all that Christ is to become our virtues. Through trials these virtues develop and become our crown; the Christ who has been life continually within us also becomes our expression, our radiance.

As we remain faithful to the Lord and love His appearing, something of His wonderful, unlimited person becomes our crown. This is not a physical crown; it is Christ shining Himself out through all of us. The unique Christ shining through all the believers becomes the radiant glory of New Jerusalem.

Renewed in Spirit unto New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the center of the new earth. This is a new creation because in Revelation
New Jerusalem20 all oldness went into the lake of fire.

God is the eternal newness. When the devil deceived Adam, man fell into sin and death; this was a departure from God’s newness and an entry into oldness. (Oldness is not a matter of “how long” but is due to separation from God.)

Romans 6:6 tells us that the old man has been crucified with Christ. This death brings us into resurrection to be the new man in Christ. This is a positional change. But a practical change in our daily living, to “walk in newness of life” takes time because we continue many old habits.

To “walk in newness of life” is to “walk in newness of spirit” (Rom. 7:6). Practically, this new walk requires the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in us. This renewing work makes us new inwardly and in daily living; the result is that we match the newness of New Jerusalem.

Some verses about this renewing:
• “Do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2)
• “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Eph. 4:23)
• The new man is “being renewed.” (Col. 3:10)
• “The renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

By loving the Lord, singing to Him, calling on His name, and taking time in His word, we give ground to the Spirit to renew us for a walk in newness of life today and fully in New Jerusalem.

The Book of Life for the City of Life

The Bible certainly is a book of life, presenting God in Christ as life to man. This presentation is 1) in the Old testament in allegories/pictures beginning with the tree of life in Genesis 2, and 2) in the New Testament in reality. “Christ our life” (Col. 3:4).

Philippians 4:3 and six verses in Revelation speak of “the book of life.” This book does not refer directly to the Bible but rather to a book of names of everyone chosen to participate in the blessings on the new earth, including New Jerusalem. These blessings come from the eternal life flowing out of the throne of God and the Lamb; hence to be named in this book is a matter of life.

New JerusalemToday we participate in the blessings of the eternal life. These blessings will increase in the coming kingdom age and reach their peak in New Jerusalem.

In eternity all whose names are written in the book of life will be either constituents of New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Phil. 4:3) or citizens of the nations around New Jerusalem (e.g. those referred to in Rev. 13:8).

In contrast, those not named in this book will marvel when they see the beast that was killed and resuscitated (Rev. 17:8). Finally, “if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Today the door is open to turn our heart to receive the Lord Jesus as life. Lord, come into me, live in and through me daily, and prepare me for New Jerusalem.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (7)

A song couples the key characteristics in the garden of Eden with those of New Jerusalem. The garden presents God’s intention and the city shows His accomplishment. Verse 7 of the song:

’Tis for the city man is wrought upon,
Therefore regenerated and transformed
To purest gold, to pearls and precious stones,
As Christ’s own Body, to Himself conformed.

New Jerusalem is God’s goal. All of God’s creation, including man, is for this goal. New JerusalemAll the negatives among men and throughout the universe have root in Satan’s rebellion against God (Isaiah 14) and his corruption of the human race. But nothing can defeat God!!!

Ephesians 3 tells us that God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All the negative things are merely the black background to further manifest God’s wisdom. He will make this wisdom known now through the church and eternally in a fuller manner through New Jerusalem.

Humanity has fallen, but God came in Jesus Christ to redeem and to regenerate mankind. By regeneration we receive the divine, eternal, incorruptible life. As this life grows and spreads within us, we are transformed (Rom. 12:2), to be the precious materials for the building of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in New Jerusalem.

Overcome to Inherit God’s Blessings

Revelation 21:7 promises, “He who overcomes will inherit these things…” The footnote on overcomes in the Recovery Version NT says “Here overcome means to overcome by believing, as in 1 John 5:4-5….The overcoming here qualifies all believers to participate in the New Jerusalem with all its enjoyment as the common portion of God’s eternal salvation.”

New JerusalemFirst John 5:4-5: “For everything that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which has overcome the world—our faith. And who is he who overcomes the world except him who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

We believe and we are begotten of God and His life in us is our overcoming. By this overcoming we inherit the blessings described in the foregoing verses.

These blessings include the whole of New Jerusalem (21:2); no tears, no death, no sorrow, no pain (21:4); all things made new (21:5); and to drink the water of life freely (21:6). The blessings also include the Triune God with His attributes mentioned in these verses—faithful, true, the Beginning and the End.

The source of our inheritance is our new birth by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord sent Saul (Acts 26:18) “to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Even this faith is a gift from God.

Abraham’s going out by faith (Heb. 11:8) and the charge to Saul both point toward New Jerusalem and our eternal inheritance.

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

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.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

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