God’s Eternal Purpose in Song (4)

The new creation with New Jerusalem at its center is the conclusion of the Bible. This is God’s goal. A song* tells about God’s process to reach this goal. The fourth verse expresses God’s longing:

New JerusalemTis the city God hath built,
Tis the dwelling God requires,
Tis the new Jerusalem
Which fulfills His heart’s desires.

The fifth verse:

Tis the building of the saints,
Tis the blend of God and man,
Purposed by the Father’s will
Long before the world began.

“Saints” are all God’s people, sanctified by His working upon and in them. They are built together by the flow of God’s life (verse 3 of the song) as presented in Ephesians 4:16 and Colossians 2:19. This building work is what God purposed in eternity past.

New Jerusalem was planned by God before creation and is portrayed by all that is in Genesis 2. God has the foreknowledge of everything and every event in His creation, and in His wisdom He uses all of it to bring forth His desire. The sixth verse, speaking of the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1), begins:

In its center, as its pow’r,
Is the throne of Christ and God.

God is in Christ and Christ in God, as the Lord Jesus spoke to us in John 14:10-11. In their coinherence They have one throne, which is the center of New Jerusalem, out of which flows the river of water of life.

——
* music (composer unknown), words by Witness Lee

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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

New Jerusalem is Holy with God’s Holiness

Revelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem is holy because God is holy (Lev. 11:44 quoted in 1 Peter 1:16) and the city is saturated with God’s holiness. This God, who is Triune, operates on us and in us to make us holy to match New Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – those “who have been sanctified* in Christ Jesus”
Romans 15:16 – “sanctified in the Holy Spirit”

These verses speak of our sanctification, our being made holy, in position. This occurs, and is complete, when we first believe in the Lord. This is Acts 26:18 – “those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” And Hebrews 10:10 – “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

New JerusalemTo match New Jerusalem’s purity and transparency, it is not enough to be holy in position. After our initial, positional sanctification we also need to be saturated with God’s holiness.

Hebrews 10:14 refers to the process of being saturated: “those who are being sanctified.” Ephesians 5:26 tells us how this is accomplished: “He [Christ] might sanctify her [the church, including every believer], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.”

The goal of this washing is that Christ, at His second coming, “might present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish” (5:27). This holy and glorious condition, without any spot or wrinkle or blemish matches the holy city, New Jerusalem.


* The English words holy/holiness and sanctify/sanctification are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words. They seem very different because holy came into English from an Anglo-Saxon root and sanctification came from a Latin root.

Our God, Our Dwelling, is the Living Temple

New JerusalemThe prior five posts look at the living New Testament temple. This began with the Lord Jesus in John 2, with His body, the real temple of God, “destroyed” by the Jews in crucifixion but raised up in resurrection. The living temple concludes with God and the Lamb as the temple of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

This living temple was typified by the physical tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament, but this physical structure was not God’s eternal intention.

Moses, who oversaw the building of the tabernacle, realized this. In Psalm 90:1 he declared, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” In eternity, in New Jerusalem, the Lord will still be our dwelling place.

Isaiah speaks similarly, “You shall sanctify Jehovah of hosts; He shall be the One to fear and He shall be the One to be awed by. Then He will become a sanctuary” (8:13-14a). When our heart pursues sanctification, the Lord becomes our sanctuary, our dwelling place, our temple. The ultimate stage of this is the holy (sanctified) city New Jerusalem.

We have been sanctified positionally at our initial salvation. Now we need to pursue experiential sanctification, that is, being separated unto God from everything else by being saturated with His holy nature. In this way He becomes our sanctuary, our temple.

Both Moses and Isaiah saw beyond the outward pictures of the tabernacle and temple. They saw that the real temple is the living God Himself. Lord, bring us to the same realization that they had; We want to experience dwelling in You as our living temple not only in New Jerusalem but also in this age.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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 Living Stream Ministry.

Not Outside of New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Outside means outside the city, New Jerusalem, in verse 14.

Where is this outside location? Revelation 21:8 tells us, “The cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the false, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

New JerusalemAll of these negatives are outside because New Jerusalem is holy (Rev. 21:2), pure (21:18, 21), bright and clean (19:8). We might think that we are clean, but we are not clean up to the standard of New Jerusalem.

Only God is holy, pure, bright, and clean. Thank Him that He has come to us in Christ Jesus. Now we can repent and receive Christ. Furthermore, every day we can confess our sins and He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are also clean by letting the Lord’s word come to us (John 15:3), pure by His working within us (Phil. 1:6, 10) and by obedience to the truth and brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22), and bright by taking our Lord Jesus as the bright One (Rev. 22:16).

God in Christ becomes our holiness to constitute us part of the holy city, New Jerusalem. Our Lord Jesus establishes our hearts “blameless in holiness” (1 Thes. 3:13) and our Father disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness” (Heb. 12;10). And Christ is sanctifying the church, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word so that the church will be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

We praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the One who qualifies us to be in New Jerusalem, the holy, pure, bright, and clean city.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

The conclusion of Romans is “Now to Him…to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (16:25-27) This anticipates New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

In its conclusion this book [Romans] …gives glory to the wise God. This unveils that all the matters discussed in this book, such as how God selects us, how He saves us from sin and death, how He redeems us and justifies us, how He makes us, sinners who were dead through and through, His divine sons, how He transfers us out of Adam into Christ, how He sanctifies and transforms us in Christ, how He makes us the members of Christ for the constituting of the Body of Christ, and how He causes us to be the local churches appearing in different localities as the expressions of the Body of Christ on the earth in this age — all these matters are planned, managed, and accomplished by God’s wisdom, in order that He, the unlimitedly rich Triune God, may be glorified, that is, that His incomparable glory may be completely and fully expressed through us.*

New JerusalemRomans 3:23 says that sin separated us from the glory of God. Nevertheless, God has worked in Christ to incorporate us with His glory.

This work, described in the excerpt above, includes redemption, regeneration, transfer from Adam to Christ, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and participation in the Body of Christ. These all conclude with glory to God in Romans 16:25-27, pointing to the glory of New Jerusalem.

This work is God “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10). However, glory is not only a realm into which we enter. Second Corinthians 3:18 says we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” and 2 Thessalonians 1:10 says our Lord Jesus Christ “comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed.” God’s operation in us today is bringing forth New Jerusalem’s glory.

*From the footnote on Romans 16:27 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

Acts 26:18 and New Jerusalem

In Acts 26 Paul recounts his calling by the Lord in Acts 9. The LorNew Jerusalemd told Paul He was sending him to the nations (v. 17), “To open their eyes, 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” (v. 18).

Every point of this commission has a fulfillment in New Jerusalem. The first point is “to open their eyes.” In New Jerusalem we will see the face of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:4).

The second point is “to turn them from darkness to light.” In New Jerusalem there will be no darkness. “Night will be no more; and they have no need of the light of a lamp and of the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine upon them” (Rev. 22:5). Not only no darkness; even more there is no natural light from the sun nor man-made light from a lamp. The light of the city is Christ, the light of life (John 8:12).

The third point is a turn “from the authority of Satan to God.” In Revelation 20 Satan, the devil, is cast into the lake of fire forever (v. 10). And in New Jerusalem there is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1, 3).

The fourth point is “sanctified by faith.” By faith we become immediately holy in position and gradually holy in our nature to match “the holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2).

The fifth point, the first result, is “forgiveness of sins.” All sin and sins will have been put away by the time New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. As a testimony, God and the redeeming Lamb are the temple (which is the whole of New Jerusalem), the Lamb is the lamp, and they are on the throne (Rev. 21:22, 23, 22:1).

The sixth point, the second result, is “an inheritance.” to be continued

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Pursue Now, unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemA recent post encourages us to
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
I am convinced that we should do this, although this phrase is not explicitly in the Bible.

While praying on the phone with a brother, he touched 2 Timothy 2:22, which is about pursuing. That motivated me to look at New Testament verses on pursuing and how the objectives pursed relate to New Jerusalem. Here are the verses which touched me.

Romans 14:19 exhorts us to “pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.” First Peter 3:11 also urges us to pursue peace. Pursuing peace is certainly related to New Jerusalem because the name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace” (one two). Building up is a central feature of the New Testament (e.g. 1 Cor 3:6-12, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:4-5) and New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s NT building.

First Corinthians 14:1 charges us to “pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Love is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem but the God who is love is on the throne at the center of the city. How does prophesying relate? He who prophesies builds up (1 Cor. 14:3-5, 12).

In Philippians 3:12, 14 Paul tells us that he was pursuing toward the goal. He was such an advanced Christian by that time, yet he still pursued because there is always more of the unlimited Christ to be gained. His goal was to gain Christ, be found in Christ, know Christ experientially, to attain to the out-resurrection, and to lay hold of Christ (3:9-12). New Jerusalem will be the fulness of all these aspirations.

Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification.” Peace is as in Romans 14:19.  The ultimate stage of *sanctification is the “holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Lord, draw us to pursue You every day as our peace, our love, our building up, our sanctification, our goal all the way to New Jerusalem.

* The Greek words translated sanctification and holy are very similar. The apparent difference in English is that one word comes from a Latin root and the other from an Anglo-Saxon root.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

God Prepared, Christ Accomplished, We Receive

The New Testament begins with two steps of God’s preparation of New Jerusalem. First is John the Baptist, sent to “prepare the way of the Lord” by turning our hearts to God. Second, God was incarnated in the man Jesus to be the salvation prepared for all peoples.

Southeast Alaska, USFS photo, CC 2.0This God-man Jesus lived a wonderful human life and then gave Himself to be crucified to redeem us from our sins.

Hebrews 10:5-10, quoting Psalm 40, tells us that the Lord declared to the Father, “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You did not delight.” In contrast, He also said, “a body You have prepared for Me.” The writer of Hebrews concludes, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

In Hebrews we see that the preparation of a physical, human body for the Lord Jesus is a step in God’s preparation of us to participate in New Jerusalem. As sinners we could never enter the holy city. But, by the Lord’s offering of Himself in His physical body, we have been sanctified positionally.

Furthermore, Hebrews 10:14 says “by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Not only has our position, our standing, been sanctified to match the holiness of New Jerusalem. We also are being sanctified dispositionally so that our attitudes, our desires, and our living are fully in accord with the holy city.

God prepared, Christ accomplished, we receive; this is our path to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, Creative Commons 2.0.

Partake of God’s Holiness for the Holy City

Revelation 21:2, 10 and 22:19 declare that New Jerusalem is the holy city. As the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, New Jerusalem is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people.

Regensdorf-Watt, SchweizA series of posts looked at God’s impartation of His holiness into His chosen people. This series did not touch holy days, holy garments, holy places, etc. and only looked at a minority of the verses about God’s holy people.

Here is a summary and link to each of the posts.
A. God’s basic word is in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy because I am holy.” Our being holy is a result of the life we received in regeneration (1 Peter 2:9, 1:23).
B. Jesus Christ came to establish the new covenant promised in Jeremiah 31. He was “begotten of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20), is “the Holy One” in His human living (John 6:69), in His death and resurrection (Acts 3:14), and in His ascension (Revelation 3:7).
C. It is of God that we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
D. God “saved us and called us with a holy calling…” (2 Timothy 1:9) and we “were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
E. Hebrews 10:10 says “we have been sanctified…once for all.” This speaks of a fact accomplished by the Lord and applied to us. Hebrews 10:14 says we “are being sanctified.” This speaks of His gradual working of the fact into all our being and all our living.
F. Ephesians 2:21 says that in Christ we are “growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” This is an ongoing experience by the washing of the water in the word (Ephesians 5:26-27).
G. We pursue sanctification (Hebrews 12:14) and exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.
H. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says “…God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” He disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness.” Don’t be discouraged; God’s choosing and discipline will bring forth our sanctification.
I. As we are pursuing a holy manner of life, we are “expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12). Come Lord Jesus!
J. In Hebrews 2:10 God is leading many sons into glory and in verses 11-12 the Lord (“He who sanctifies”) is singing praises to the Father in our (“we who are being sanctified”) singing.

God’s choosing and calling of us, Jesus Christ the Holy One as our sanctification, and the Spirit’s sanctifying work in us bring us onward to “the coming of the day of God” and New Jerusalem.

Reminder: the English words holy/holiness (from an Anglo-Saxon root) and sanctify/sanctification (from a Latin root) seem very different, but they are translations of closely related NT Greek words.

Sing and Praise in Sanctification unto Glory

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem, the holy and glorious city, is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people. In Hebrews 2:10 God is leading many sons into glory, which glory will be fully seen in New Jerusalem.

The path to glory in Hebrews 2 (as also in Ephesians 5:26-27) includes our sanctification. Continuing from Hebrews 2:10, in verse 11 Jesus Christ is “He who sanctifies” and we are “those who are being sanctified.” This practical, experiential sanctification process is on our path to New Jerusalem.

The prior post presented prayer with thanksgiving for our cooperation with His sanctifying. We also should meet with other Christians because the word in Hebrews 2:11 about sanctifying continues directly into verse 12 about singing in church meetings: “Both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.’”

This is the firstborn Son’s praising of the Father within the Father’s many sons in the church meetings. When we, the many sons of God, meet as the church and praise the Father, the firstborn Son praises the Father in our praising. It is not that He praises the Father apart from us and alone; rather, He praises within us and with us through our praising. In our singing He sings hymns of praise to the Father. If then we do not sing, how can He sing? The more we sing to the Father, the more we enjoy His presence, His moving, His anointing, and His life-imparting within us. Thus we will grow in Him and be brought into His glorification above all.*

Let us praise the Father on our path through sanctification unto the glory of New Jerusalem.

* Note 3 on Hebrews 2:12 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

 

The Holy Spirit Renews Us

New Jerusalem is the holy city, Jesus Christ is the Holy One, and in Him we are God’s saints, God’s holy people.

New JerusalemWe are not holy in ourselves nor because of our doing. Rather, God “chose us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). That was in eternity.

Now, in time, according to the will of God, Jesus died, and by His death “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

Based on this once-for-all offering, God “saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:9). As a result of this holy calling we “heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation” and believed in Jesus Christ, and we “were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise” (Ephesians 1:13).

Furthermore, in Titus 3:5 we read that God, “not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit renews us to match both the holiness and newness of New Jerusalem.

All of these steps of sanctification are of God and according to His purpose, which ultimately is to mingle with His holy people in the holy city, New Jerusalem.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Jesus Christ is Our Sanctification

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2, 10) and Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God. When we receive Him, His holiness becomes ours, which enables us to participate in the holy city.

First Peter 1:2 says that we were “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father in the sanctification* of the Spirit unto the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” This is the Triune God’s operation. The Father chose us in eternity past. The Spirit sanctified* us, separating us from all else to bring us to Jesus Christ in order that we could obey Him and receive forgiveness of sins based on His blood shed in death.

As a result of our response to the Spirit’s sanctification, 1 Corinthians 1:30 declares that of God we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” It is of God, not of ourselves, that we are in Christ Jesus. And, since we are in Him, He is our sanctification, our holiness. He is the source, we are not. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 1:31 says, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

Because our sanctification of from Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ, we are saints. We are saints in Him, not in our natural being. Romans (1:6-7) was written to those in Rome called by Jesus Christ, the called saints. Ephesians (1:1) was addressed to the saints in Ephesus and Philippians (1:1) to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.

Our holy position in Christ and our status as saints (sanctified people) in Him are because God’s operation put us on the path to the holy city New Jerusalem. Our position and status today match New Jerusalem!

* Although the English words holy/holiness (from Anglo-Saxon) and sanctify/sanctification (from Latin) seem very different, they are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words.

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