New Jerusalem Comes from Divine Riches and is Without Human Poverty

The Lord Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, read from Isaiah about Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to announce the gospel to the poor…” (Luke 4:18). The poverty in this verse can certainly be understood physically but should also be viewed spiritually.

The Lord Jesus came to announce Himself to people who are poor spiritually, whether rich or poor humanly. What does this have to do with New Jerusalem? Simple. God’s riches bring us out of spiritual poverty all the way to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches of Christ are the gospel announced by Paul. The goal of the gospel is not to save people from poverty but to impart these unsearchable riches into people. As a byproduct people are saved from spiritual poverty.

In Romans 2:4 “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” lead us to repentance. This is the beginning of our journey—to repent, turn to God, and receive Jesus Christ. Here three aspects of God’s riches lead us to repent and to enter the path to New Jerusalem. This repentance is one aspect of the rich gospel.

Ephesians 1:7 tells us that in Christ Jesus “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” We certainly need forgiveness, but the measure of God’s action is not our need but His riches. This forgiveness is another aspect of the rich gospel.

Romans 9:23 tells us God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy.” We need mercy to bring us out of our poor condition, but God does not emphasize that poor condition. His mercy is shown, not because we are pitiful, but to gain us as vessels to display the riches of His glory. Eventually New Jerusalem will be a great corporate vessel displaying His riches.

 

New Jerusalem: Glorious Corporate Vessel

The Body of Christ is a living, corporate composition of all the believers in Christ. Likewise, New Jerusalem is a living, corporate composition of all God’s people throughout the ages. Here is another excerpt from Affirmation & Critique*.

God created human beings as vessels unto honor prepared unto glory…(Rom. 9:21, 23). Sadly, humankind fell into sin. To sin is to fall short of God’s glory and thus to express sin and the sinful self and to love the glory of men more than the glory of God (3:23; John 5:44; 7:18; 12:43). But Christ’s redemption has fulfilled the requirements of God’s glory (Rom. 3:24-25; Heb. 9:5; cf. Gen. 3:24), and through the gospel of the glory of God, God has called us by and into His eternal glory (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:11; 1 Thes. 2:12; 1 Pet. 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:3). By God’s mercy and grace, we have believed into Christ, and now the all-inclusive Christ dwells in us as the hope of glory (John 3:15; Col. 1:27; 3:4, 11; 1 Cor. 15:45) for us to experience, enjoy, and express. Day by day, as we behold and reflect the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the Lord’s image from glory to glory for the expression of God in Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

New JerusalemEach of us is a vessel created “unto glory.” God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:23).The word unto indicates a goal and implies a process.

God’s goal in creating vessels unto glory is New Jerusalem, because in eternity there are no individual glorious vessels, there is only the one great corporate vessel, New Jerusalem—“the holy city, Jerusalem…having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10b-11a). We are all vessels unto glory to become members of this glorious city.

The process “unto glory” is well presented 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.” Eventualy the glory in us becomes the glory of New Jerusalem.

“From glory to glory” denotes the steps of a gradual process. This process is accomplished by the Lord Spirit but He requires our cooperation. We turn our hearts to the Lord and behold Him (2 Cor. 3:16-18), so that the Spirit can impart the glory into us. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

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.

Built to be a Corporate Vessel of God’s Glory

God’s eternal purpose, the subject of the song we are reviewing, depends on God’s divine, eternal life. God’s plan is to build together a group of people as His dwelling place, consummating in New Jerusalem. This must involve humans but it cannot be carried out by the created human life.

Because God’s purpose depends on the divine life, God put the created man in front of the tree of life (Genesis 2:8-9). This tree is a picture of Jesus Christ, who is the life (John 11:25).

When Christ is our life and to the extent that we live because of Him, we participate in the realization of New Jerusalem. Thus the song speaks of being built in life and knit in love, as in Ephesians 4:15-16.

New Jerusalem5_Thus in life we’re built together,
____Then in love we’re knit as one;
__God is now His plan fulfilling,
____Finishing what He’s begun.
__Lord, increase Thyself within us
____That we might be built by Thee
__Into that great corporate vessel
____Filled with God exclusively.

Like the words in the song, we should pray for the Lord’s increase, His growth, in us. This is Colossians 2:19, “holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.”

The result of His growth, His increase in us is a corporate vessel filled with God and expressing God. The ultimate step of this is New Jerusalem.

6_As the product, the fulfillment,
____Will the church in glory stand,
__Consummation of the purpose
____In eternal ages planned.
__God will have His corporate vessel,
____All His glory to contain;
__Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose
____All Thy goal in us attain.

New Jerusalem is the final stage of the corporate vessel, filled with and radiating God’s glory. Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose, all Thy goal in us attain.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Built Together in Life for New Jerusalem

We are reviewing a song about God’s eternal purpose. God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity past and it points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. God’s work is not a reaction to the problems in the universe. He solves the problems by doing everything “according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5, 11).

God’s purpose is stated in the second verse of this song: He wants a group of people built together as His vessel, one new man. This is Colossians 3:10-11, we “have put on the new man…where Christ is all and in all.” Ultimately, New Jerusalem is this corporate vessel.

New Jerusalem2_God would have a group of people
____Built together in His plan,
__Blended, knit, coordinated
____As His vessel—one new man.
__God would come into this vessel
____With His nature, life and ways,
__Mingling Spirit with our spirits
____For His joy and to His praise.

The Triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit— work together in us (song, verse 3) resulting in praise to God (end of verse 2).

This triune working and the resulting praise is presented in Ephesians 1. Verses 3-6, 7-12, and 13-14 are associated with the Father, Son, and Spirit. Each of these three sections ends with the praise of His glory. Ultimately the glory, and the praise, will be New Jerusalem.

3_God has worked in three directions
____For His plan so marvelous:
__As the Father, Son, and Spirit
____To dispense Himself to us!
__All creation gives the setting—
____Heav’n and earth are for this plan;
__’Tis for this God made a body,
____Soul and spirit—three-part man.

God created man in His image with body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God’s creation was for His purpose, for Him to come into man, to be life to man, to be formed in man (Galatians 4:19), and to make home in man (Ephesians 3:16-17). All of this points toward New Jerusalem. Praise Him for this marvelous plan.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

God’s Mercy and the Great Corporate Vessel

God’s mercy takes us out of sin and death to be vessels of mercy containing the riches of His glory. Ultimately all God’s people are a corporate vessel, New Jerusalem, radiating the riches of His glory.

New JerusalemEphesians 2:1-3 describes our fallen condition. Then verses 4-6 say, “but God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.”

God’s love causes Him to be merciful to us and results in our being made alive, raised, and seated in Christ. We did not deserve His salvation but He was merciful. Of course, we are in need of His salvation but even more, He wants to save us for His eternal purpose consummating in New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:7 speaks of this purpose. God saved us “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” New Jerusalem is the ultimate display of “the surpassing riches of His grace.”

The great corporate vessel is in a hymn which begins,
God eternal has a purpose,   Formed in His eternal past,
Spreading to eternal future;   ’Twixt these ends all time is cast.

The latter verses of the hymn include these lines:
Lord, increase Thyself within us   That we might be built by Thee
Into that great corporate vessel   Filled with God exclusively.

God will have His corporate vessel,   All His glory to contain;
Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose   All Thy goal in us attain.

Lord, increase in us. Fill us to become Your corporate vessel, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA, Caltech-JPL, and University of Wisconsin.

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