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.

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.

Sanctified into One unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn John 10 the Lord spoke about one flock; on the cross He created one new man; in John 17 He prayed that we all may be one. This oneness extends from the cross through today to New Jerusalem.

The first stage of His prayer in John 17 was for us to be kept in the oneness in the Father’s name, implying also in the Father’s divine life. In the second stage He prayed “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth….That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:17, 21).

Externally, we are in the world as the early disciples were (17:18). Thus we need to be sanctified from the world all the way to the holy (sanctified) city of New Jerusalem.

To be sanctified (Eph. 5:261 Thes. 5:23) is to be separated from the world and its usurpation unto God and His purpose, not only positionally (Matt. 23:1719) but also dispositionally (Rom. 6:1922). God’s living word works in the believers to separate them from anything worldly. This is to be sanctified in God’s word, which is the truth, the reality.*

Our oneness is not trivial. Christian oneness now, and in New Jerusalem, is “even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.” This is realized through His prayer that “they also may be in Us.” Our oneness is our being in and living in the Triune God. Lord, we want to experience this!

Such oneness in the Triune God expresses the Triune God. Today the result is “that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:21). Ultimately the result is New Jerusalem shining with the glory of God to the whole universe.

*Note 1 on John 17:17 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.
Photo 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.

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.

 

Pursue a Holy Manner of Life

New Jerusalem, the holy city, the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people. God chose use to be holy, called us with a holy calling, and is now sanctifying us unto New Jerusalem. Second Peter 3:10-12 says,

The day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements, burning with intense heat, will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up. Since all these things are to be thus dissolved, what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements, burning with intense heat, are to be melted away?

New JerusalemBecause the old creation will be consumed, we should seek a holy manner of life. How? First Peter 1:15 says, “according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life.” Our holy manner of life is not from our natural being nor by our own effort. Our holy manner of life depends on The Holy One.

This dependence involves prayer with thanksgiving. We first thank the Lord that He has become sanctification to us objectively (1 Corinthians 1:30). Then we can thank Him that He is the One sanctifying us subjectively (Hebrews 2:11).

We can also thank God for choosing us to be holy (Ephesians 1:4) or for calling us with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). At times it is good to pray with these verses.

We can also pray, asking the Lord to sanctify us, even petitioning concerning specific aspects of our daily living where we have a hard time remembering Him or where we know our need of sanctification. We do not need to beg; He wants to sanctify us, needing only our cooperation.

When we are living a holy manner of life, we are expecting the Lord’s return. Our holy living even hastens His return per 2 Peter 3:12. Come, Lord Jesus! Bring us onwards to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

God Chose Us unto Sanctification

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2). God has given Jesus Christ to us as our holiness objectively. Now He is sanctifying us subjectively, experientially, while we cooperate by pursuing holiness.

Do not get discouraged by looking at your condition. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul declares, “we ought to thank God always concerning you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” God’s choosing includes the sanctification of the Spirit.

Thank God always. Paul had to write some words to the Thessalonians to adjust their Christian living. However, the faults in their condition were subordinate to God’s choosing them unto salvation in sanctification, so Paul could thank God.

Neither be discouraged by the outward environment. Hebrews 12 speaks of the discipline of children by earthly fathers and by our heavenly Father. Verse 10 says, “For they disciplined for a few days as it seemed good to them; but He, for what is profitable that we might partake of His holiness.”

Whatever outward discipline comes to us is in His sovereignty. The goal of the environmental discipline is that “we might partake of His holiness.”  This prepares us to participate in the holiness of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, as the holy city, is the consummation of all the holiness in the Bible. We will be there. God chose us to be holy, called us with a holy calling, regenerated us and sealed us with the Holy Spirit, put us into Christ who is our sanctification, and is experientially sanctifying us for New Jerusalem. Thank God always.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Pursue Sanctification to See the Lord

New Jerusalem is the holy city. God has given Jesus Christ to us as our holiness objectively. Throughout our Christian life we are experiencing the Lord’s washing in the water of His word that we may be holy subjectively. Through this process we will match the holy city in reality.

New JerusalemOn one hand the Holy Spirit is renewing us (Titus 3:5) and the water in the living word is washing us (Ephesians 5:26-27). This is the operation of the Triune God to sanctify us wholly that our “spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

On the other hand we need to cooperate. Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.” To partake of His holiness is to experience it, which is beyond having it imputed to us objectively. This requires our pursuing.

Second Corinthians 7:1 says “let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Cleanse ourselves points to our cooperation to gain the living reality of holiness. This cleansing is not by us independently but by our confessing and accepting the forgiveness in Christ and by seeking to be renewed away from repetitions of defilement.

Cooperation is also seen in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy because I am holy.’” We exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.

The result of cooperation is that sanctification is gradually worked into us to bring us to the holiness of New Jerusalem.

We Have Been and Are Being Sanctified

New Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2), Jesus Christ is the Holy One, and in Him we are God’s saints, God’s holy people. God chose us to be holy, called us with a holy calling, sealed us with the Holy Spirit, and gives us the renewing of the Holy Spirit.

New JerusalemFrom the day we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, we have Him as our holiness and we have the status of saints. However, there is still much that needs to be accomplished in us.

Hebrews 10:10 says “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” This speaks of a fact accomplished by the Lord and applied to us.

Hebrews 10:14 says “by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” This speaks of His gradual application (with our cooperation) of the fact in all our being and to all our living.

Hebrews 2:11 says “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.” This does not speak about the accomplished fact but about the ongoing application of the fact. This is based on the accomplished fact and brings us into the reality and experience of the fact.

Spiritual facts, and their imputation to us, are objective. The permeation of these facts through our being and their outworking in our living are experiential, subjective. Objectively we have the holiness of the holy New Jerusalem. Subjectively we are gradually being infused with the holiness of New Jerusalem. God will accomplish His purpose and we will be with Him in the holy city.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (8)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is portrayed and prophesied many times in the Bible, including Ephesians 5:22-33. Verse 22 speaks about husband and wife but verse 23 shows that husband and wife are a picture of Christ and the church.

New JerusalemVerses 25-27 present three stages leading up to the marriage of Christ and the church:
• Christ loved the church and gave Himself unto death to redeem her (v. 25);
• Now Christ is sanctifying her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word to purify her to match Him (v. 26);
• Soon He will present the church to Himself glorious and holy, not having spot, wrinkle, or blemish (v. 27).

His work to sanctify the church by the washing of water in the word will result in a glorious and holy church without any negative element. This condition matches New Jerusalem, which is also glorious and holy with nothing negative.

Verses 28-33 continue to speak about both husbands and wives and about Christ and the church. Verse 32 shows Paul’s emphasis,
_This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
Since this is a spiritual mystery, we should ask the Lord to grant us “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). Then, by revelation (not by natural effort) the mystery can be made known to us (Ephesians 3:3).

The preparation of the church as the bride is also for the preparation of New Jerusalem. The more this mystery is revealed to us, the more it will operate in us, and the more we will be prepared. Lord Jesus, grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Lord, reveal this great mystery in me.

 

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory (4)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, including glory in the Old Testament; in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus; and in our Christian life. This post continues a series, starting from Thessalonians.

First Thessalonians 2:12 asks us to “walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of both God’s kingdom and God’s glory. We cooperate with God’s calling by our walk in the divine nature.

New JerusalemGlory is not only something external into which we enter. Glory is also Jesus Christ in us. During this age may our walk be such that “the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in us” (2 Thessalonians 1:12). At the end of this age “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (v. 1:10).

In 2 Timothy 2:10 Paul says, “I endure all things for the sake of the chosen ones, that they themselves also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” The salvation we receive includes glory, and this glory is eternal; it is the glory of our eternal Savior and of New Jerusalem.

In Hebrews 2:9-11 the resurrected Jesus is crowned with glory and the Father is leading many sons into glory. This leading is related to our sanctification, which transpires through our being one with God’s Firstborn Son.

James 2:1 names Jesus Christ the Lord of glory. The more we live one with Him, the more we are in glory and the more glory spreads in us. In New Jerusalem we will be 100 percent one with Him and 100 percent in and full of glory.

These verses speak of glory in eternity and in the believers now. This glory is not a thing but a Person—God in Christ Jesus. Revelation 21:23: “the glory of God illumined it [New Jerusalem], and its lamp is the Lamb.”

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.

Unlike most Fridays, I will not have a new post July 4.

We Are Being Led into the Glory of New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThere are verses (e.g. Philippians 3:20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:52) which indicate that our glorification will be instantaneous at the time the Lord returns. However, that glorification will be the culmination of a process rather than an isolated event. Here are three verses which present the process.

Hebrews 2:10 says, “For it was fitting for Him [God the Father], for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in leading many sons into glory, to make the Author [Jesus] of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Verse 11 continues, speaking of us as “those who are being sanctified.” God’s leading us and Jesus Christ’s sanctifying us are both aspects of our being brought into glory.

Ephesians 5:26-27a says, “That He [Christ] might sanctify her [the church], cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious.” The cleansing by the washing of the water in the word is for making the church glorious.

Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “But 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.” Our transformation proceeds “from glory to glory,” from one degree of glory to another. This indicates that the glory is developing in us before it is manifested at the Lord’s return.

“The Son of Man is to come in the glory of His Father “ (Matthew 16:27). The glory of God in Jesus Christ has not yet been manifested but the verses above show that we are in a time of preparation now. Eventually this glory will be a characteristic of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-11). Lord, grant us mercy to cooperate with You in Your sanctifying, washing, and transforming work within us. Come, Lord Jesus!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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