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.

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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.

A City of Life, without Miracles

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city of life, a city in resurrection. From the throne at its center flows a river of water of life and beside the river grows the tree of life yielding its fruit every month. This life is the supply for every member of this city.

Miracles are of power, not of life. They are sometimes called works of power in the New Testament. These works might be done by a believer mature in the divine life, or by an immature believer. An example: the Corinthians did not lack in any gift (1 Cor. 1:7) but were babes in Christ (3:1), very immature in divine the life. Also love, which is of life, is contrasted with gifts and power in 1 Corinthians 13.

There are many miracles in the Gospels and Acts, but the Epistles which follow them turn the emphasis to growth in life for the manifestation of virtues of the Christian life. Paul speaks of growth in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, Ephesians 4:13-16, Colossians 1:6, 10 and 2:19, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, and other verses, some of which include full grown. Peter speaks of growth in 1 Peter 2:2 and 2 Peter 3:18. John, in his epistles, speaks much about a life lived in righteousness, truth, and love.

The emphasis on Christ as our life, our growth in this life, and our living out its virtues prepares us for New Jerusalem. The city is full of life and manifests the life that Jesus manifested to us through His incarnation.

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Characteristics Now and in New Jerusalem

Ephesians 4:12-24 contains many positives: perfecting, building, oneness, full-grown, fullness, truth, love, reality, righteousness, holiness. These characteristics do not refer to the natural realm or from natural effort.

New JerusalemThey all come from being in Christ, learning Christ, hearing Christ, and growing up into Him as the Head of the Body. Because these all are Christ and our experience of Him, they are also characteristics of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 4:12-24 also contains many negatives: sleight, craftiness, error, vanity, darkness, ignorance, hard-ness, lasciviousness, uncleanness, greediness, corruption, deceit.

These all result from mankind being alienated from the life of God. None of these will be in New Jerusalem nor anywhere in the new creation, except in the lake of fire.

In our daily living, the key for us as believers to get away from the negatives and into the positives is verse 4:23, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” The Spirit has regenerated our spirit—this is John 3:6, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Now we are one spirit with the Lord—this is 1 Corinthians 6:17.

These two steps—regeneration and renewing—are also seen in Titus 3:5, “the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” This renewing is not a change from bad behavior to good behavior. Rather, it is a change from living in the old humanity, the fallen humanity that is apart from God to living Christ and letting Him become the reality of our human virtues. This is a living that corresponds to New Jerusalem.

Two Aspects of Redemption on Our Path to New Jerusalem (2)

In Christ Jesus we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, through which we become sons of God. This redemption has been fully accomplished and is eternal. This is the first step on our path to New Jerusalem.

Based on redemption, we become sons of God by His life entering into us. This is the new birth, the regeneration, of our spirit. This life gradually spreads into our soul to renew and transform us*. Now, as Christians, “who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23).

New JerusalemWe already are sons of God, but we are in the initial stage of sonship. We eagerly await the full sonship, “the redemption of our body.” This is the second step of redemption on our path to New Jerusalem. This will transpire at the Lord’s second coming.

Ephesians 1 tells us that we were sealed with the Holy Spirit “who is the pledge/ guarantee of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession.” God is our inheritance both today and in a fuller way when our body is redeemed.

We need to cooperate to reach this goal. Ephesians 4 cautions us, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.” The Spirit is working in us to transform our soul, to prepare us for the redemption of our body and take us unto New Jerusalem. We hinder this work and grieve the Spirit when we disobey the Spirit and live according to the flesh.

* See verses (and footnotes) in Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:18, Eph. 4:23, Titus 3:5.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (6)

New JerusalemRevelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” We need to pursue this readiness because we do not know when He will return.

An evil slave of the Lord says, “my master delays” (Matt. 24:48). Also, 2 Peter 3 says that mockers are saying there is delay but the Lord “is long-suffering toward you, not intending that any perish but that all advance to repentance.” The Lord is waiting in His mercy so that we have time to advance, to get ourselves ready.

We should never say “my Master delays” but instead “count the long-suffering of our Lord to be salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). This is not our initial salvation, but “much more we will be saved in His life” in Romans 5:10. This much more salvation is our growth in His life, our gaining the oil of the Spirit in our vessel, our preparing to be the constituents of His wife who has made herself ready.

Peter exhorts us to “be on your guard lest being carried away by the error of the lawless, you fall from your own steadfastness.” Our steadfastness (our faithfulness, in next post) is for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This growth is the much more salvation in Romans and has the prepared bride and New Jerusalem as its goal.


Rather than the error of “my Master delays” we can be those
Hastening the Coming of the Day of God (and of New Jerusalem)

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (5)

When the Lamb’s wife, New Jerusalem, is ready, there will be great rejoicing in heaven and the Lord will come to take her. This readiness depends on our cooperation with God’s operation in us.

Aspects of this cooperation in prior posts include: letting the Lord’s living word operate in us, not loving the world, watching in prayer, denying the self to be filled in spirit, and fanning into flame the gift of God which is in us. In addition to these positive actions, we New Jerusalemneed the Lord’s warning, “You also, be ready, because at an hour when you do not expect it, the Son of Man is coming” (Luke 12:40).

The Lord says we must be ready because do not know when He will come. We should never relax. The Lord tells us it is an evil slave who says, “My master delays” (Matt. 24:48). The Lord’s return might seem delayed to us but we need to be saved from such thoughts.

“You have need of endurance in order that, having done the will of God, you may obtain the promise. For in yet a very little while the Coming One will come and will not delay” (Heb. 10:36-37). This is God’s word—the Coming One will not delay.

One aspect of His coming is to take His bride. Let us not delay in getting ready. Lord, be merciful to us that we could always take Your faithfulness and endurance in our getting ready for Your coming and for New Jerusalem.

Photo by Dan Darolti, courtesy of Good Free Photos.

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.

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The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (3)

New JerusalemIn Matthew 25 the Lord spoke a parable about a wedding feast. When the bridegroom came, those who were ready went in with him to the feast. This parable is a picture of the real wedding feast, with the Lord as our Bridegroom and New Jerusalem as His bride, who has made herself ready.

Those who were ready were filled with the Spirit. Those who were not allowed to enter had little of the Spirit. We should not think that those excluded from the feast were not believers. Look at the ten virgins in Matthew 25; both wise and foolish:
• all are virgins (v.1); unbelievers are not virgins in the Lord’s view;
• all went forth to meet the bridegroom (v. 1); unbelievers don’t do this
• all responded to the cry to go forth (v. 6-7); unbelievers won’t do this
• the foolish had lamps that were lit (v. 8); the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord
(Prov. 20:27), their spirit being “lit” indicates it was enlivened by the Spirit;
• the foolish called the bridegroom Lord (v. 11); unbelievers don’t do this.

The conclusion of the parable is “Watch therefore” (v. 13). Watch, pray, let the Spirit fill us. “Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth” (Col. 3:2). “Do not be drunk with wine [neither physically nor with worldly pursuits], …but be filled in spirit” (Eph. 5:18). We don’t wait passively for New Jerusalem; we pursue now to be filled and ready for the wedding feast!

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

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