Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (4)

“He who believes into the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). When we believe into Jesus Christ, we immediately receive eternal life. This life grows in us and brings us to New Jerusalem, the city of eternal life.

New JerusalemWe have already received this life, yet this life will accomplish much more in us during our Christian life. This is Romans 5:10, “If we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled.”

Our reconciliation was accomplished by Jesus Christ through His death on the cross. By His resurrection the divine life was released and by believing we have received it. Now this life is saving us from our sins, our negative attitudes, the world, our fleshly living, and many other things. This is a “much more” salvation!

This salvation brings us ut of everything that is not in New Jerusalem and fills us with all the riches that will be displayed in New Jerusalem.

Romans 5:17 continues, “much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” We received eternal life once for all. Now we receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness with the result that we will reign in life, ultimately reigning in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:5).

Romans 5:21 declares “In order that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus Christ is all-inclusive; He is our Lord, our grace, our righteousness, our life. Whenever we turn our heart to Him (2 Cor. 3:16) He brings us onward toward reigning in life in New Jerusalem.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 20 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 20 begins with the devil cast into the abyss (v. 1-3). Then there is the blessing of being priests and kings in resurrection with God and Christ for a thousand years (v. 4-6). This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

In verse 7 the devil is temporarily released but by verse 10 he is cast into the lake of fire for his eternal punishment.

New JerusalemVerse 11: “I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it.” The Lord Jesus Christ is Him who sits on the throne, because He is “the One who was designated by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).

The Lord Himself spoke of this designation in John 5:26-27, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, so He gave to the Son to also have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man.” As the Son of Man, the God-Man, Jesus both gives us eternal life and judges the dead.

“In righteousness He judges” (Rev. 19:11). Although today’s courts have flaws, our Lord is perfectly righteous.

In verses 12 and 13 the dead are judged. In verses 14 and 15 death and Hades, and anyone whose name is not written in the book of life, are cast into the lake of fire. This judgement is the last cleaning of the earth. After this, there is nothing old, nothing dead, nothing sinful. This judgement opens the door for New Jerusalem with the new heaven and new earth.

The old “earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (v. 11) and “the first heaven and the first earth passed away” (21:1). There is “a new heaven and a new earth” and “New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven” (21:1-2).

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Inside of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 21:8 and 22:15 speak of people who are not only outside New Jerusalem but also in the lake of fire.

These verses are the ultimate development of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, and Ephesians 5:5, which name many unrighteous things saying, “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The kingdom which they will not inherit consummates in New Jerusalem with the throne of God and the Lamb as its center.

We, in ourselves, are not better than those people. The difference is that we have, by faith, received Christ as our righteousness. The first stage of this receiving is our initial repentance and believing in Christ. The continuing stage is our daily pursuit of Christ.

Our pursuing is to receive more of Him as our righteousness. “Those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17). This reigning in life is more than having Christ as our objective righteousness. It is living Christ out as our daily righteousness.

Jesus Christ being our righteous living is portrayed in Revelation 19:8: New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ is “clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” These righteousnesses (plural) are the Christ we live out day by day.

This living is also in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Our washing is actually His washing of us in response to our confessing (1 John 1:9).

This washing gives us right to the tree of life, Christ as our life and life supply. By this supply we live Him out. His living through us is bright and pure, matching New Jerusalem, thereby bringing us into it in reality. Thank Him that He enables us to be inside New Jerusalem and not outside.

No Unrighteousness in New Jerusalem

There is no sin in New Jerusalem. The Bible shows us that sin, death, and the devil are linked. Sin is not in New Jerusalem because there is no death there and there is no devil there. The Bible also ties sin and unrighteousness together (e.g. Rom. 6:13, Heb. 8:12, 1 John 1:9). First John 5:17 states, “all unrighteousness is sin.”

New JerusalemSecond Peter 3:13 says, “according to His [God’s] promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” This means there will be no unrighteousness in the new creation, so no unrighteousness in New Jerusalem, the center of the new creation. This is another clear word that sin will not be in New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem there is no sin, no death, no devil, and no unrighteousness. In contrast, Jesus Christ is our redeemer, our life, our God, and our righteousness.
• “In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” Col. 1:14
• “Christ our life” Col. 3:4
• “The Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever” Rom. 9:5
• “The righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ to all who believe” Rom. 3:22

In New Jerusalem the redeeming Lamb is on the throne (Rev. 22:1, 3), the river of life and tree of life supply us eternally (Rev. 22:1-2),  the Lord God will shine upon us (Rev. 22:5), and Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 John 2:1) fills the city with righteousness. Praise Him for the redemption, life, and righteousness in New Jerusalem.

Righteousness Dwells in the New Creation

According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). The new creation, with new heavens and earth, includes New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2).

In my recent New Testament reading I was touched by “dwells.” The Greek word (κατοΙκεω) appears over 40 times in the New Testament. It is always used for living people who are at home in a place. Examples:
• He [Joseph] came and settled in a city called Nazareth, Matthew 2:23
• Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, Acts 2:5
• All those dwelling in Asia heard the word of the Lord, Acts 19:10
• By faith he [Abraham] dwelt as a foreigner in the land of promise, Hebrews 11:9

New JerusalemThe same sense of dwelling is used in regard to God: “God…being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24), and “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).

The Greek word is also applied to the Triune God in us: “Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17) and “the Spirit, whom He has caused to dwell in us” (James 4:5).

In light of the usage of this word everywhere else in the New Testament, to say that righteousness dwells in the new creation means that this righteousness is alive. We do not use dwell with inanimate objects; for example, we never say that a table dwells in our dining room.

Christ is “the Righteous” (1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:1). He is on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation. I believe that His presence and the righteousness of His person, radiating out from New Jerusalem, is the righteousness which dwells in the new creation. And this Christ, who is our righteousness today (1 Cor. 1:30) is the righteousness of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Righteousness Dwells

New Jerusalem is Pure, Transparent, Bright

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is pure, clean, clear, and transparent. New Jerusalem, as the bride of the Lamb, is also bright: “it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

Within New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceed-ing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street” (Rev. 22:1). The brightness is from the Lord Jesus Himself. He says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16). When He appeared to Saul from heaven, He was “a light from heaven beyond the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13).

New Jerusalem is a composition of God in Christ dwelling in all God’s redeemed people. The city is bright not only because the Lord Jesus is bright. It is bright because He is living with every redeemed person and will make each one bright with Him.

The Lord spoke about this in Matthew 13. At His second coming, His angels will cast out all who are stumbling blocks and all who practice lawlessness (v. 41). “Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (v. 43). “Father” here indicates that the righteous will shine forth because of the Father’s life, which is Christ in us.

The righteous will shine because their living is Christ, who becomes their practical, experiential righteousness. This is the longing expressed by Paul in Philippians 3, to be found in Christ, having the righteousness which is out of God and based on faith.

To be in Christ and to be positionally righteous in Him is a fact. To be found, to be seen by others, in Him and to be found living out God’s righteousness, is much more. Such a living produces the shining in the kingdom and the bright clothing of the bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Purified for New Jerusalem by Cooperating with the Lord (2)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is pure: “the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18), “the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass” (21:21). New Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb (21:9); “it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean/pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

For us to match the purity of New Jerusalem, first the Lord cleanses/ purifies our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). Second, He cleanses us from unrighteousness as we are enlightened and confess our sins (1 John 1:9). Third, He purifies us as we cooperate with His moving in us both to depart from unrighteousness and to let Him live through us as righteousness.

Ephesians 5:26 is also in the third step of this cleansing/purifying. The Lord sanctifies the church, “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” Here word is the Greek rhema, which means the instant word, the particular word or speaking enlivened to us as we read or remember the printed words of the Bible.

The Lord is cleansing the church but we need to cooperate. The exhortation in James 4:8 hits responsibility on our side, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-souled!” Double-souled is double-minded, having the heart divided between two parties — God and the world.*

These rhema words to us “are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). They might be as simple as “no” to separate us from something of the world. When we respond to these words, the life in us has a way to flow. This is “the washing of the water in the word.” By this washing we experience a little more of the purity of New Jerusalem.

*From the footnote on James 4:8 in NT Recovery Version Online.
For the verses cited in this post, clean and pure both come from the same Greek noun and cleanses and purifies both come from the related Greek verb.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service. 

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 110-118

New JerusalemPsalm 110 is a prophecy concerning Christ, often quoted in the New Testament*. This Psalm is about the present spiritual warfare and the defeating of God’s enemies. By the time of the new creation and New Jerusalem all the enemies will be gone, cast into the lake of fire, but Christ will endure as “a Priest forever” (v. 4).

Psalm 111:9 says “He has sent redemp-tion to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.” The redemption sent to us is in Christ (Rom. 3:24). This redemption (Gal. 3:13) brings us the blessing of the Spirit covenanted to Abraham (v. 14), a blessing which continues “forever” as portrayed by the river of life in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 113:1-2 says, “Hallelujah! Praise, you servants of Jehovah, praise the name of Jehovah. Let the name of Jehovah be blessed, from now and to eternity.” We can surely praise God now and shout hallelujahs. And we will do this “to eternity” in New Jerusalem.This is repeated in Psalm 115:18, “we will bless Jehovah from now and to eternity. Hallelujah.”

Where is this praising? An answer is in Psalm 116:19, “In the courts of the house of Jehovah, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah.”

Psalm 117:1 says, “Praise Jehovah, all you nations; laud Him, all you peoples.” Although not realized now, it will be after the Lord returns and even more fully in the new creation.

Psalm 118:19, “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will enter in through them; I will give thanks to Jehovah.” At present we have the gate unto eternal life (Matt. 7:14); in Christ we have the righteousness which allows us to enter this gate and receive eternal life (Rom. 1:17, 5:17-18). Eventually this will be the gate into New Jerusalem, still open because of Christ as our righteousness unto full enjoyment of Christ as our life.

* V. 1 in Matt. 22:44, 26:64, Luke 20:42-43, Acts 2:34-35, Heb. 1:13; and v. 4 in Heb. 5:6, 7:17.
Photo courtesy of www.goodfreephotos.com.

 

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 87-98

We are looking at prophecies of Christ in the Psalms, and the psalmists’ descriptions of God’s house, city, and reign over the earth, all as shadows of New Jerusalem at the center of the new earth.

New JerusalemPsalm 87:3, “Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.” How much more than earthly Jerusalem will glorious things be said about New Jerusalem!

Psalm 90:1, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Moses had the sense he was dwelling in God. How much more his word is true now and will be in eternity.

Psalm 91:1, 9, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” “For You have made Jehovah, who is my refuge, even the Most High, Your habitation.” This psalm is a prophecy about Christ, quoted in Matthew and Luke. Yet, since we are in Christ, His dwelling in God is ours also (John 14:20). This is true now and will extend into New Jerusalem.

Psalm 92:12-13, “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree….Planted in the house of Jehovah, they will flourish…” Both today and in eternity, Christ is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). We are planted in God’s house today and will flourish in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 97:1, “Jehovah reigns! Let the earth be glad; Let the many islands rejoice.”
Psalm 97:6b, “All the peoples see His glory.” (Rev. 21:23-24)
Psalm 97:8a, “For You, O Jehovah, are most high over all the earth.”
All these declarations will be fully fulfilled in new earth and New Jerusalem.

Psalm 98:2, “Jehovah has made His salvation known; in the sight of the nations He has revealed His righteousness.” When Jesus began His earthly ministry, this was true to those whose eyes were opened (e.g. Luke 2:30). In the new creation everyone will see His salvation and righteousness. Psalm 98:3b, “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 66, 68

In the Psalms we can see many prophecies and allusions to Christ and God’s house and city. These ultimately point to New Jerusalem with Christ as its center to be God’s eternal house and city with His reign on new earth.

Psalm 66:1, 4, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth….All the earth will worship You and sing psalms to You; they will sing psalms to Your name.” Not only within New Jerusalem, but also all the nations around it will shout with joy and worship God by singing.

New JerusalemPsalm 68:3, “The righteous will rejoice; they will exult before God and be glad with rejoicing.” We are righteous in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), so we rejoice now (Phil. 4:4) and in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 68:18, “You have ascended on high; You have led captive those taken captive; You have received gifts among men, even the rebellious ones also, that Jehovah God may dwell among them.” This is quoted in Ephesians 4 in reference to the ascension of Christ and of His giving of gifted members to take the lead in the building up of His Body (forerunner of New Jerusalem) so that God may dwell among us.

Psalm 68:20, “God is to us a God of deliverance, and with Jehovah the Lord are the goings forth even from death.” Through His death Christ delivered us from sin (Rom. 8:3), the flesh (Rom. 8:11-12), the world (John 12:31-32), death (2 Tim. 1:10), and the devil (Heb. 2:14). Today we do not yet see these things abolished but in the new creation and New Jerusalem none of these will be present.

Psalm 68:29, “Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring a gift to You.” This happened at Solomon’s time and will occur much more in the kingdom and to the fullest in the new creation with kings bringing gifts to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.
This series about the Psalms will resume several weeks from now.

Pursue now, unto New Jerusalem (2)

Our present New Testament pursuing includes peace, love, sanctification, and building up (verses in prior post). All of these point toward New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAdditionally, 2 Timothy 2:22 entreats us to “flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Our pursuing of righteousness is our pursuing of Christ because God has made Him righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30).

“We are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Not only New Jerusalem, but also the entire new universe will be characterized by righteousness. Furthermore, Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” Ultimately the throne is in New Jerusalem from which the living water flows for eternity (Rev. 22:1).

We also pursue faith. This faith is our conviction of things not seen, including New Jerusalem, the city with foundations toward which Abraham looked (Heb. 11:1, 10, 16). We pursue peace too, which comes from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (start of Rom., 1&2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil) and is called “the peace of Christ” in Colossians 3:15. Additionally we pursue love, the love which is of God (Rom. 5:5) and is God Himself (1 John 4:16).

All our pursuing (and our fleeing also) is “with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” To call on the Lord is to cry out to Him. This is an audible calling, as in Acts 7:59, and 9:14, 21. Here is much more on the Biblical history of calling on the name of the Lord. Given this long history, it is likely that even in New Jerusalem we will call on the name of the Lord Jesus.

Lord, bring me into the practice of 2 Timothy 2:22. Give me calling companions with whom I can call on You and pursue You as my righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

More: Discovering the Indwelling Christ as the Spirit by Calling on Him at Holding to Truth.

Christ in Us is Always Acceptable to God

We continue on our Christian journey toward the spiritual mountain where we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

In order to journey toward New Jerusalem we need to be brought to God through the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13) and through Him as the absolute one living in us.

The death of Christ has fulfilled and fully satisfied God’s righteous requirements; hence, we are justified by God through His death (3:24). His resurrection proves that God’s requirements were satisfied by His death for us, that we are justified by God because of His death, and that in Him, the resurrected One, we are accepted before God. Furthermore, as the resurrected One, He is in us to live for us a life that can be justified by God and is always acceptable to God.*

New JerusalemChrist as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. This is the revelation in Matthew 5:48, where the Lord Jesus said that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. This perfection derives from not from God the Creator but from the Father who imparted His life into us so that we could be His sons.

It is by the heavenly life of our Father that we can live a heavenly life on earth and fulfill all that God requires of us.

This life is in us by the regeneration of our human spirit (John 3:15-16, 5-6). Therefore, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

*Note on Romans 4:25 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry

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