Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (5)

Positionally we have all that Christ accomplished through His death and resurrection. Now it gradually becomes part of our living, expressed in our daily life. This maturing in life is a foretaste of New Jerusalem, the ultimate corporate expression of Christ.

Growth in the Christin life is a gradual process. This life is Christ Himself. As He increases and spreads in us we grow. Some verses about this progressive growth:
• “My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19)
• “That He would grant you…to be strengthened…that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.” (Eph. 3:16-17)
• “The Head, out from whom all the Body…grows with the growth of God.” (Col. 2:19)

New JerusalemOur gradual entering into the experience of all that Christ is to us is our growth in Christian life. This is in resurrection. How does this relate to going through the cross to New Jerusalem? The answer is: for Christ to increase in us requires the decrease of our natural life.

There are three New Testament Greek words translated life in English; one indicates our physical life, one our psychological life (soul life), and one eternal life. For the increase of eternal life, the Lord instructed us to deny our self life. “Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

To deny ourself is to follow the Lord; this is the key to Christian growth and is how we progress by the cross to New Jerusalem.

 

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (4)

The Lord Jesus, by His death on the cross, terminated all negatives, redeemed God’s people, released divine life, and created one new man. The Spirit makes this real to us.

Objectively, all that Christ accomplished has become real to us. We acknowledge and accept these things (even though full comprehension comes only with Christian growth) when we believe into Him and are baptized. An example is Romans 6:3, “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” Physically we were baptized in water but at the same time the Spirit of reality brought us into the fact of Christ’s death.

New JerusalemObjectively, positionally, we are in all that Christ has done. Yet now we need to grow into this subjectively, experientially. An illustration: a positional move from one nation to another is quick, but to fully absorb and live according to the language, food, and culture takes years.

We are in Christ and are new objectively. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17). Now we are growing to absorb and live out the reality of His redemption, life, and the corporate new man. Thus we gradually reach “to me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21)—Christ lives in me and expresses His virtues out through my living.

Christ expressed in our living is the precursor of New Jerusalem. This city is not physical, it is a living composition of God in Christ in all His people. He lives in us and He lives out through us to be expressed through us; this is New Jerusalem.

 

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe death of Christ terminated, redeemed, released, and created to bring all of God’s people onto the path to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21 says about New Jerusalem, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl.” These pearls portray the wonderful achievements of Christ on the cross as our entrance into the city.*

The effectiveness of Christ’s death is eternal. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The eternal Spirit makes His death eternally effective and applicable to us at every time. And His death purifies us to serve the living God, which service will continue in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3).

The Lord promised us “when He, the Spirit of reality, comes, He will guide you into all the reality” (John 16:13). In resurrection this Spirit came and is guiding us into the reality of all that Christ accomplished on the cross in order to bring us unto New Jerusalem.

Through the Spirit all that Christ accomplished is available to us. Through the eternal Spirit His redemption with the forgiveness of sins is applied to our conscience, so that our conscience can be free of condemnation. Through the Spirit the released divine life comes into us to regenerate us. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). And the Spirit of reality makes the new man real to us. The Spirit is the reality of our path to New Jerusalem.

* Links to many posts on this are in Jesus Opened the Pearl Gates, Let’s Enter!

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (2)

The death of Christ on the cross had a terminating aspect which consummates in the lake of fire. It also has redeeming, releasing, and creating aspects which consummate in New Jerusalem. All of these steps are for our path to New Jerusalem.

The first aspect ended our flesh, our old man, and our sinful nature. It also terminated the world and the ruler of the world. The second aspect bought us for God and includes the forgiveness of our sins. The third aspect released the divine life which has now been imparted into us to regenerate, renew, transform, and glorify us. The fourth aspect brought us into God’s corporate new man in the new creation. All of this is necessary for New Jerusalem. Praise the Lord for His accomplishments.

New JerusalemThe epistles state definitely that we were crucified with Christ. Romans 6:6: “Our old man has been crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin as slaves.” Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ.”

The epistles also state definitely that we were raised with Christ. Ephesians 2:5-6: God “Made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together with Him.” Colossians 3:1: “You were raised together with Christ.”

Our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ have nothing to do with our birth date nor with what kind of person we are naturally. It was accomplished by God who is outside of the limits of time. And He accomplished it for His eternal purpose, to bring us to His goal, New Jerusalem.

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Through the Cross to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of all God’s work, a corporate composition of all His people to glorify Him and to reign with Him. This fulfills God’s intention in Genesis 1:26 in creating man in His image and giving man dominion.

However, the devil tempted man, man fell into sin and death. God called Israel as an outward picture of what He wants to do, but the reality was hidden until God came in the man Jesus. In Him God was incarnated to live a God-man life, to die on the cross, and to be resurrected.

New JerusalemThe death of Christ on the cross has four aspects:
Terminating all negative things, such as the flesh, the old man, the world, the ruler of the world (Rom. 6:6; John 12:31; Heb. 2:14; and many other verses)
Redeeming and reconciling us to God, with forgiveness of sins (Rom. 3:24, 5:10; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; and other verses)
Releasing the divine life (Luke 12:49-50)
Creating the new man (Eph. 2:15)

Briefly, the four outcomes are:
• All that was terminated will eventually be in the lake of fire. This includes the fallen part of our being. The terminated things have no place in God’s purpose and will not be in New Jerusalem. (Rev. 20)
• All God’s people were redeemed; this qualifies us to receive the divine life (Gal. 4:5)
• In resurrection the released divine life was imparted into us for regeneration (1 Peter 1:3)
• The new man, the corporate composition of God in Christ with all His chosen, redeemed, and regenerated people is the forerunner of New Jerusalem. (Col. 3:10-11)

The Lord’s death on the cross and His resurrection are crucial accomplishments not only for our present Christian life but also for us to get to New Jerusalem.

New Earth is Coming; the World is Going

“According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). This new creation is presented to us in Revelation 21:1-2 with New Jerusalem as the site of God’s throne.

The Bible speaks of both the earth and the world. The earth was created by God for His purpose but the primary meaning of “world” in the Bible is the system created by Satan to take men away from God. The Lord Jesus told us, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). He accomplished this by His death.

The world is still around us because the judgment on the cross has not yet been brought to conclusion. This is like a person pronounced guilty by a judge in a law court. The verdict is final but it takes some time to transfer the criminal to prison. This is why the Lord asked the Father to “keep us out of the hands of the evil one”—the cast-out ruler—who is the source of the world (John 17:14-16).

New JerusalemIn Revelation 20 the executing of the judgment on the world will be concluded. The devil and everything originating with him (including the lust and vainglory of the world – 1 John 2:16) will be cast into the lake of fire. As a result, the new earth will have New Jerusalem but will not have any world.

The Lord told us, “take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Now, by regeneration, He is the Overcomer in us: “everything that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem is our goal. May God keep us from the world, even though we outwardly are living in the world. Inwardly Christ is life both today, in the coming age, and in New Jerusalem.

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God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (3)

God created the earth for His purpose. Through all His operation in time, God will gain the new earth with New Jerusalem for eternity. But, God did not create the world and there will be no world in eternity!

In the Bible, we find both “earth” and “world.” We might use these two words interchangeably, but in the Bible they are different. A primary Biblical meaning of “world” is an evil system arranged systematically by Satan. All the things on the earth, especially those related to mankind have been systematized by Satan into his kingdom of darkness to occupy people and frustrate them from accomplishing the purpose of God.*

New JerusalemBecause the world is negative, it needs to be judged. Jesus, looking forward to His crucifixion, said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). Therefore, we can boast in “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” and by His cross we have been separated from the world. But before believing and receiving Christ Jesus and all He accomplished, we “once walked according to the age of this world” and were people “having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:2, 12).

But now, in Christ, we have God and we have hope, even the hope of glory, the hope of participating in New Jerusalem. Through His death and resurrection we have been transferred from the world to God’s purpose for the earth with New Jerusalem as the goal.

* Part of footnote 2 on John 12:31 in the Recovery Version Bible, © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry. More about the Biblical meanings of “world.”
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

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.

New Jerusalem: No Blemishes, No Spots

New JerusalemEphesians 1:4 tells us that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” This choosing was in eternity, before sin and any kind of corruption. This eternal choosing points to New Jerusalem, which is holy, without blemish, and in love.

Although sin death entered and humanity is extremely blemished, Jesus Christ is working to erase all blemishes. Ephesians 5:25-27 says that He “loved the church and gave Himself up for her” to accomplish redemption; that He is now working to “sanctify her [the church], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word” so that when He returns “He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish.” This is the preparation of New Jerusalem.

By His work on the cross, in us today, and at His return, the church will be holy and without blemish, matching God’s eternal choosing. This holy church, as His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2), will be without spot, without wrinkle, and without blemish.

Jesus Christ is qualified to do this work because He on the cross “through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God” (Heb. 9:14). The eternal Spirit applies to us and in us all that He accomplished. And 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us that we were redeemed “with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.”

Paralleling Ephesians 5, Jude 24 speaks of “Him who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you before His glory without blemish in exultation.” In New Jerusalem we will be with glory and without blemish. To Him be thanksgiving and praise.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

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