Conformed to the Image of God’s Son

New JerusalemIn Genesis 1:26 “God said, Let Us make man in Our image.” God’s goal is to have a corporate man as a expression of Himself. This is fully accomplished with New Jerusalem, which, identical to God, has an appearance “like a jasper stone” (God: Rev. 4:3, the city: 21:11).

Man was created in God’s image to be able to express God. This expression is not a theatrical performance; it requires man to receive God’s life. Adam failed to do this but today we have the redemption of Christ and the life-giving Spirit.

Romans 8:28 declares, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.” What is the good here? Verse 29 answers: “Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son.” All things work together not for our human profit or pleasure but for us to be conformed, by God’s Spirit operating in us, to the image of His Son.

The Spirit’s operation is clear in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” But the Spirit requires our cooperation, to turn our heart to the Lord for our unveiling (3:16) and to behold the glory of the Lord (3:18).

This conforming work of the Spirit, with our cooperation, is the present development of New Jerusalem, the full and eternal corporate expression of God.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

From Here to New Jerusalem

The current outward environment is unusual for all of us. But “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes, even forever” (Heb. 13:8). When we look away to Jesus Christ, we can declare, as Paul did in Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.”

A similar expression is in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory, because we do not regard the things which are seen but
New Jerusalemthe things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

New Jerusalem is central among the things which are eternal, and in New Jerusalem Jesus Christ is central on the throne. When we regard the unseen, eternal, heavenly things, as in the verse above and Colossians 3:1-4, we take Him as our center now.

Revelation 21 tells us that “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem], and its lamp is the Lamb [Jesus Christ].” The glory of God is in Jesus Christ. Today He wants to work Himself into us to be our “eternal weight of glory.” This is unseen now but “when Christ our life is manifested, then we also will be manifested with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). And we will be with Him eternally in the glory of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Revelation 4 says that God on the throne has the appearance of jasper and Revelation 21 says that New Jerusalem shines like a jasper stone. Thus New Jerusalem matches and fully expresses God.

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is like a jasper stone because all who have believed into Jesus Christ have not only been regenrated with Him as the eternal life but also have been transformed into His image. Second Corinthians 3:18 speaks of this.

“We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”

From regeneration we are gradually transformed “into the same image,” that is, into the image of our Lord.

This transformation is a renewing (Rom. 12:2) which brings our entire being out of the old creation and into the new creation to match New Jerusalem.

This transformation is also “from glory to glory” which prepares us for New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Transformation requires our cooperation. Second Corinthians 3:16-18 shows that transformation occurs as we turn our heart to the Lord. Likewise, the conformation to the image of God’s Son in Romans 8:29 takes place in “those who love God.”

May we all love the Lord and love His appearing thereby letting the Spirit transform us into His glorious image for New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Five Steps to New Jerusalem (2)

The prior post presented the first three of five basic steps of God’s operation that bring us to New Jerusalem. These are God’s selection, Jesus Christ’s redemption, and the Spirit’s regeneration.

New JerusalemFourth, transformation. The main part of transformation is the renewing of our mind. Romans 12:2 urges us “be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” The goal of this renewing is, in the same verse, “that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.”

This renewing is by the Spirit (Titus 3:5) in response to our cooperation in turning from everything that veils us to behold the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16-18).

The Spirit’s work brings us gradually out of the old, fallen, corrupted creation into the reality of the new creation. By believing into Christ we are positioned in the new creation but we still need the Spirit to apply this newness to our every thought and action. This prepares us for New Jerusalem in the new creation.

Fifth, transfiguration. Philippians 3:21 tells su that our “Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory.” A mortal body (Rom. 8:11) in humiliation can by no means participate in New Jerusalem. We need transfiguration, which in Romans 8:23 is named “the redemption of our body” (redeeming it from indwelling sin and death).

Our transfiguration will occur at the Lord’s coming back and will cause our body to match His glorious body, qualifying us for New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

God’s NT Building is Living, not Physical

God’s New Testament building is living!

Christ Jesus in resurrection is the Cornerstone. Acts 4:10-12
All the building is “in Christ.” Ephesians 2:20-22
“All the building is growing.” Ephesians 2:21
“We are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
We all, “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” 1 Peter 2:5
—–and additional verses in the prior posts

New Jerusalem is not physical!

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s New Testament building.
New Jerusalem shows the completion of all the growth and building in the NT.
New Jerusalem has a living temple, not a physical temple;
——-“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Rev. 21:22
New Jerusalem is living to be “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Rev. 21:9

Earlier posts about New Jerusalem as a living city, not a physical city:
New Jerusalem is Spiritual, not Physical
New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building
A Physical Building is not the House of God

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (4)

“Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem] has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). Our getting ready is by cooperating with the Spirit, not by self effort.

New JerusalemSimon Peter is a warning to us. “He [Simon] said to Him [Jesus], Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). His readiness was his decision out of his own zeal, his natural love for the Lord, and his self-confidence, but that night Simon Peter failed completely.

The readiness of the bride comes only from God working in us in response to our cooperation. In contrast to Peter’s zeal before the Lord’s crucifixion, Romans 12 charges us to “be burning in spirit” and 2 Timothy 1 charges us to “fan into flame the gift of God” which is in us.

In contrast to Peter’s natural love, Ephesians concludes with grace to “all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Such love comes from God. First John 4 tells us that “God is love” and that we love “because love is of God.” At that time Peter was confident in himself but later Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God.”

Eve was constituted with a rib taken out of Adam to match him. In the same way, New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife, to match Christ. Her constitution must come from Him, not from anything of the fallen, natural realm.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 4

Here is the last verse of a song about Christ’s love for His wife, initially the church and eternally New Jerusalem. This part of the song begins with resurrection. Both the church and New Jerusalem are in resurrection because they exist solely in and with the resurrection life of Christ.

New Jerusalem“She beholds her Bridegroom…” This is like Hebrews 12:1-2, let us “run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” He is both the Initiator and the Completer. We are not capable of becoming the glorious church and city, but He will complete this process in us. Thank Him.

“His glory floods her heart.” This is happening today. In 2 Corinthians 3 we turn our hearts to the Lord and “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit” (v. 18).

His open appearing in glory will be at His second coming: “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). But His spiritual appearing is available to us now as we turn our hearts and look away to Him.

Eventually His bride will be raptured and then come down out of heaven, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb….the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:9-11).

 

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.

Through the Cross, Looking to Jesus

The Lord desires to constantly apply His death to our natural life so that His resurrection life may be manifested. “We who are alive are always being delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested” (2 Cor. 4:11). This is our path to New Jerusalem, the consummate manifestation of the life of Jesus.

New JerusalemOn one hand “we are being delivered unto death.” On the other hand, we have to deny our soul life and bear our cross. We cannot do this ourselves. We need to be empowered by Him.

“Let us…run with endurance the race which is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:1-2).

We need the endurance of Jesus, so that we may reach the joy set before us, a joy which culminates in New Jerusalem. Thus, we look to HIm. This is similar to the first part of Romans 5. Being justified “we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Standing in grace, equal to looking away to Jesus, brings forth many virtues including endurance.

A related verse is 2 Thessalonians 3:5, “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.” When our hearts are loving God we have endurance, but we are not the source. It is “the endurance of Christ.” He brings us through all the killing of our natural man into the reality of the new man, which becomes New Jerusalem.

Death & Resurrection unto New Jerusalem

The Lord Jesus asks us to deny ourself, take up our cross daily, and lose our soul life. This is our path to New Jerusalem but it seems quite negative. But remember, the Lord’s death is followed by resurrection. The Lord’s death applied in us is followed by His resurrection applied in us.

New Jerusalem is a city of resurrection, not a city of our natural life. Our natural life must be denied so that resurrection life can spring forth.

New JerusalemDeath and resurrection was the life of the Lord Jesus and today it is our life. Second Corinthians 4 speaks of this. Verse 10: “Always bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Verse 11: “We who are alive are always being delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

When the Lord returns, we will experience the redemption of our mortal body. Until then we bear, not an ordinary death, but “the putting to death of Jesus” that the resurrection life may be manifested. This manifestation will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

Verse 12 says that death operates in us. This is our experience of the cross. Verses 13-14 say we have a spirit of faith, “knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.” This coming experience of resurrection brings us into the manifestation of the kingdom and then to New Jerusalem.

Photo by David Goodrich, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Our Path to New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, is composed of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. God’s choosing determined that we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Although we were among fallen men, Christ’s redemption brought us back to God and regeneration gives us God’s eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemTRANSFORMED: Regeneration is to be born of the Spirit in our spirit, as the Lord spoke in John 3. Transformation is the spreading of divine life into our soul to renew our mind. This renewing is also our transformation (Rom. 12:2).

This is based on our consecration (Rom. 12:1) and is accomplished by our cooperation with the Spirit’s work in us and is “unto glory” that is, unto New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

GLORIFIED: Transformation develops God’s glory within us. However, transformation is in our soul and the expression of glory is still constrained by the body of our humiliation (Phil. 3:21). Glorification, transfiguration, is the divine life saturating our mortal body so that it will “be conformed to the body of His glory.” This is “the redemption of our body” which is the full sonship.

This glorification will occur when the Lord returns, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). This, our glorification, is “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8) whose glory we “behold and reflect” (2 Cor. 3:18) throughout our transformation, saturating our entire being and radiating through us that all may behold.

This glory developed in us began with regeneration, continues through transformation, and is concluded by glorification. This causes us to match New Jerusalem, the city which “has the glory of God.”

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

The Bright Lamb-Lamp of New Jerusalem

In Matthew 16:28 the Lord said that some disciples would see “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” A week later three saw Him transfigured. This is the kingdom of God with the glory of God. Ultimately, the kingdom and glory is New Jerusalem. John tells us that he saw the city has the throne of the kingdom at its center and has the glory of God (Rev. 22:1, 21:10-11).

The seeing of the kingdom in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9 gives us a preview of New Jerusalem. These chapters speak not about outward power but about the appearance of the Lord.
“He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.” (Matt. 17:2)
“He was transfigured before them, and His garments became sparkling, exceedingly white.” (Mark 9:3)
“And as He prayed, the appearance of His face became different, and His garment dazzling white.” (Luke 9:29)

New JerusalemAlthough Jesus knew beforehand that this transfiguration would happen, Luke records that He prayed. We need to pray to release what God wants for His kingdom on earth, as in Matthew 6:9-10.

His prayer and transfiguration indicate that the change in His appearance was from within, not from outside. The Greek word translated transfiguration is also transformation in 2 Corinthians 3:18. There the word clearly indicates a change by the Spirit operating within us to bring us onward in glory.

The brightness of the Lord Jesus on the mountain is a preview of His brightness as the Lamb-lamp in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). This is the glory of God radiating through Him, a glory brighter than the sun, so that New Jerusalem “has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

%d bloggers like this: