New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God (2)

From incarnation, in Jesus Christ “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). From resurrection and ascension the church, His Body, is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Eventually New Jerusalem will display the fullness of the Godhead.

The Body of Christ is the fullness now. Nevertheless, we need to experience much of God’s operating to enter into this reality. Paul prayed for this in Ephesians 3. He said, “I bow my knees unto the Father,” (v. 14) for us to be brought through four stages of experience.
New Jerusalem• “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16)
• “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (v. 17a)
• “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (v. 17b-19a)
• “that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” (v. 19b)

The outcome of this filling is in verses 20-21, “to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”

There is no question about glory in New Jerusalem eternally. But, for glory in the church now, we need to echo Paul’s prayer, Father, strengthen me into my inner man today. Strengthen us that we may be filled for glory to You in the church now. God is able! To him be the glory.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

Last fall I wrote about glory to God forever and ever, based on the end of Romans and on the end of Jude. The phrase “forever and ever” points to the eternal New Jerusalem.

“And one of the seven angels…came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

In recent reading I realized that glory to God forever and ever is in many New Testament books. Here are the verses from Paul’s epistles.
Romans 16:27: “To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Galatians 1:4b-5: “Our God and Father to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:21: “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Philippians 4:20: “Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
2 Timothy 4:18: “The Lord…, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21: “the God of peace…to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

New JerusalemRevelation 1:5b-6 says, “To Him [Jesus Christ] who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.”

In these verses the glory is to our God and Father and also to Jesus Christ. This is because the two are one. The Lord told us, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10). And in Revelation 22:1, 3 the one throne in New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

May the words of the Bible be ours, not only in New Jerusalem but also now, so that we declare to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.

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God Strengthens Us, According to the Riches of His Glory, unto New Jerusalem

This post continues verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… all of which are surpassing and excellent and which culminate in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit…” Ephesians 1 has a prayer for our seeing and Ephesians 3:14-19 is a prayer for our experience.

For such experience, we do not depend on our own strength. Rather, God strengthens us according to the riches of His glory. This strengthening is for Christ to make home in our hearts (3:17) so that we can be filled unto all the fullness of God (3:19) to glorify God in the church (3:21) and in New Jerusalem (3:21).

Philippians 3:21: “Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to His operation by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.” Currently our body is a body of sin and death (Rom. 6:6, 7:24). This in no way matches New Jerusalem. But our Lord Jesus Christ is able to conform us to His body of glory to match the city of glory. This is not according to our need but according to His all-subjecting operation.

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will fill your every need according to His riches, in glory, in Christ Jesus.” God fills our need but not according to our need. God fills according to His riches. And this filling is in glory, corresponding to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

Colossians 1:11: “Being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy.” We are empowered to “walk worthily of the Lord” (1:10) but this empowering is not merely to match our shortage. Instead it is far higher, according to the might of His glory, another pointer toward New Jerusalem.

We can pray, Lord, turn my view from myself, my situations, and my needs to You, Your riches, Your glory, Your operation, and Your power

God’s Purpose Surpasses Our Need

This is the second post with verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… which far exceed our will/purpose/pleasure. Because everything of God is consummated at the end of the Bible, all these phrases point toward New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:9: “Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself.” God’s will is according to His good pleasure, not for the common pleasures sought by humans. When we are one with Him, we partake of His pleasure and He becomes our satisfaction. In New Jerusalem we will fully participate in and fully be satisfied by God’s good pleasure.

Ephesians 1:11: “In whom [Christ] also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” In Ephesians 1:7 we were predestinated according to the good pleasure of His will in this verse according to the counsel of His will. God’s will, pleasure, and counsel far exceed ours. Thank Him for bringing us to Himself!

Ephesians 1:19: “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength.” Ephesians 1:15 begins a prayer that the Father of glory would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may see many things of His economy. This portion of the prayer covers his power, might, and strength, which are surpassing. They are so excellent, so high, because God’s goal, New Jerusalem, is so excellent.

Ephesians 3:7: “I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me according to the operation of His power.” Paul was a minister not according to His own ability and learning but according to the operation of God’s power. This divine enabling is required to minister the outstanding and excellent things of God.

Father, give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation to see more of Your will, Your good pleasure, Your purpose, and Your power. Show us how all of these constitute us with You into New Jerusalem.

The Mystery of God Revealed in Spirit to Those Who Love God

This is the era of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 2:1), of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11), of God’s will according to His good pleasure (Eph. 1:9), of Christ (Eph. 3:4), of the gospel (Eph. 6:19), and of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16). These are not separate mysteries but multiple facets of one mystery.

New JerusalemThe mystery will reach a conclusion (Rev. 10:7), and everything of God will, pleasure, and purpose will be manifested. Nevertheless, the contents of the mystery—God, Christ, the kingdom, God’s will, the gospel, and godliness—will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

How can we see and enter into this mystery? Revelation in spirit and grace are necessary. For our sake, the apostles received a revelation in spirit (Eph. 3:3, 5) and received grace to minister it to enlighten us (3:7-9). This is according to God’s eternal purpose (3:11) so it surely includes New Jerusalem.

The mystery of God proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 2 was not according to human wisdom. To grasp God’s wisdom, our first key is “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (2:9). Natural senses (eye, ear, etc.) cannot touch the things God has hidden. Our need is to love Him. O God, we love You.

Our second key is “We have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things which have been graciously given to us by God” (2:12). We have received the Spirit and, the things which God has prepared, “God has revealed them through the Spirit” (2:10). O God, grant me a spirit of revelation to see the things You have revealed by Your Spirit.

To see more of New Jerusalem, which is mysterious to the natural man, we love God and receive the Spirit’s revelation.

Love the Lord to see New Jerusalem

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Great is the Mystery: God in Christ in Us

New JerusalemThe mystery proclaimed by the apostles includes New Jerusalem. Colossians 2:2 tells us that the mystery of God is Christ. The mystery of God is God embodied in Christ to become a God-man who lived among men, died to redeem all men, and rose to impart eternal life into His believers.

However, the mystery of God is not only Christ Himself, but also Christ in us, as in Colossians 1:27, “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This Christ is our hope of glory, the glory that will be fully manifested in New Jerusalem.

God made this mystery known to Paul (Eph. 3:3) because God’s good pleasure is that we all see and enter into this mystery (Eph. 1:9). Therefore, Paul’s ministry was “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God” (Eph. 3:9).

First Timothy 3:15 says, “great is the mystery of godliness.” This is God incarnated in Christ. It is also Christ entering into us to be our life, to be manifested through us now and much more in eternity.

Ephesians 3:4 and Colossians 4:3 speak of the mystery of Christ. And Ephesians 5, presenting husband and wife as a portrait of Christ and the church, says, “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church” (v. 32).

The mystery of God is Christ, God manifested in flesh. It is also Christ in us, people who were merely flesh until we believed into Him and received His eternal life. This life produces the mystery of Christ, all His believers as members of His one Body. So, God in Christ in the believers to form His mystical Body is the great mystery. Eventually His Body consummates in New Jerusalem.

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The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

The Triune God is unsearchably rich. These riches are in Christ and have been announced to us as the gospel, the good news (Eph. 3:8). The announcing enlightens us to see the mystery of God with the result that “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” now (Eph 3:9-10) and through New Jerusalem in eternity.

The riches of Christ are all that Christ is and has and all that He has accomplished, attained, and obtained. The fullness of Christ is the result and issue of our enjoyment of these riches. When the riches of Christ are assimilated into our being metabolically, they constitute us to be the fullness of Christ, the Body of Christ, the church, as His expression.*

Lake Leman near Lausanne

Here are prior posts about the riches and the fullness of God.

The Riches of God’s Glory In Ephesians 3 Paul prayed that the Father would strengthen us “according to the riches of His glory.” The outcome is an upward progression resulting in glory to God now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

O the Depth of the Riches & Wisdom of God! Romans 11:33-36 is praise of “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” It concludes, “To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem Romans 9:23: God wants to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory New Jerusalem, the city of God’s glory, is a mystery. But God “willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem God works on and in us according to His riches, so  “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life The Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). Through the renewing of this Spirit, we become new to match New Jerusalem.

The Good News of the Riches of Christ A hymn (words music) says, “O the riches, O the riches, Christ my Savior is to me! How unsearchable their measure, Yet my full reality!”

New Jerusalem has the Fullness of Christ Ephesians 4:11-13 speaks about all the believers being perfected “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all arrive…at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God In this age the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). In eternity New Jerusalem will be this fullness.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ Another hymn (words music) says, “Riches of Christ we should enjoy And then His fulness we will be; Partaking of His very self, His testimony men will see.”

*From footnote 3 on Ephesians 3:19 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ

Recent posts have been about the riches of Christ to us and the fullness of God. By enjoying the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8), we are filled to the fullness of God (3:19). This brings forth glory to God both now and eternally in New Jerusalem (3:21).

New JerusalemThe first verse of a hymn (words music) by  Witness Lee is:
__Riches of Christ we should enjoy
__And then His fulness we will be;
__Partaking of His very self,
__His testimony men will see.

God’s testimony today is the church; in eternity it will be New Jerusalem. What we take in is what we express. If we eat much garlic, we put forth the aroma of garlic with no difficulty. If we spent many hours every day watching the Olympic Games, that is what we effortlessly talked about.

If we enjoy riches of Christ, He will be expressed both in our speaking and also in our living. God desires to bring us to such experiences, so that God may be expressed now, and even more by New Jerusalem.

The last verse of the hymn is:
__Christ’s riches are Himself within,
__His fulness is the Church without,
__As His expression, full of Him;
__The Church with Christ is built throughout.

“Christ’s riches are Himself.” I could send you a rich gift by UPS or FedEx but that would be separate from my person. Christ is different! John 8:12—He is the light; when we receive light (one of His riches), we receive Him. Likewise in John 14:6—He Himself is our way, our reality, and our life. Jesus often says, “I am…” because He is!

Christ’s riches are Himself within, both today and in New Jerusalem. His fulness is the Church today and New Jerusalem in the future, both as His expression.

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New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God

Colossians 2:9 proclaims that “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Bodily refers to the man Jesus Christ with a human body. Fullness is not only the riches of the Godhead but the expression of these riches.*

New JerusalemThe riches of God are in Christ (1 2 3 4) and so is the expression, the fullness of these riches. Jesus Christ is on the throne in New Jerusalem, so the riches and fullness in Him fill New Jerusalem.

John 1:16 declares that “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” We have received not merely grace but grace upon grace that we may become one with Him in expressing the Triune God, starting now and advancing to New Jerusalem.

This corporate expression is presented in Ephesians 1:22-23, which says the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Through the enjoyment of Christ’s riches [Eph. 3:8], we become His fullness to express Him.**

Ephesians 3 presents an ascending path to this fullness. In answer to prayer, God strengthens us (v. 16), Christ makes His home in us (v. 17), we get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17), we apprehend Christ’s vastness (v. 18), we know His love (v. 19), and we are filled unto all the fullness of God (v. 19). The conclusion is glory to God forever (v. 21), which clearly points to New Jerusalem.

Besides our prayer according to the pattern in Ephesians 3, chapter 4 sets forth our practice. The ascended Christ gave gifted members (v. 8-11); we cooperate by receiving their ministry to be perfected (v. 12) so that we all can share in the work of the ministry for building up (v. 12) until we all arrive “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Ephesians 4 is for now, so don’t passively wait until New Jerusalem.

* from footnote 1, Colossians 2:9NT Recovery Version Online; more from Col. 1:19
** from footnote 2, Ephesians 1:23.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory

New Jerusalem is a city, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). This glory is not monotone but is an exceedingly rich glory.

Colossians 1:27 speaks of “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The mystery of God’s eternal purpose is Christ in us. This mystery comes with riches of glory. Today we do not realize so much of the riches nor is the glory manifested.

New JerusalemGod willed to make known this mystery to His believers. His making known to us is in this age. His making known to the whole earth will be in the next age and through New Jerusalem.

Paul prayed in Ephesians 1 for our seeing and in Ephesians 3 he prayed for the working out of this, that the Father (v. 14) “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16). We need to be strengthened and God is willing to strengthen us, not a little but “according to the riches of His glory.”

This strengthening results in Christ making home in our hearts so that get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17) which enables us to corporately apprehend the vastness of Christ (v. 18), leading to being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v.19). The riches of the glory, both now and with New Jerusalem, cannot be separated from Christ Himself.

The filling spoken of in Ephesians 3 for this age is a precursor to  New Jerusalem. The process begins with our being strengthened according to the riches of God’s glory and results in the expression of these riches. This process is not visible to natural eyes, but the result will be visible to everyone in the new creation.

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The Mystery of God and of Christ

New Jerusalem

Revelation 10:7 tells us the good news that when the seventh trumpet sounds, “the mystery of God is finished.” The prior post briefly mentions multiple aspects of this mystery, which together ultimately bring forth New Jerusalem.

This mystery “has been hidden from the ages and from the generations but now has been manifested to His saints [those sanctified by faith in Christ—Acts 26:18]” (Col. 1:26). There are two main aspects of this mystery:

The mystery of God, Christ (Col. 2:2)
The mystery of Christ, His Body (Eph. 3:4-6)

“The mystery of God in Col. 2:2 is Christ; the mystery of Christ here [Eph. 3:4] is the church. God is a mystery, and Christ, as the embodiment of God to express Him, is the mystery of God. Christ also is a mystery, and the church, as the Body of Christ to express Him, is the mystery of Christ. This mystery is God’s economy, which is to dispense Christ, as the embodiment of God, into God’s chosen people in order to produce a Body to be the increase of God’s embodiment in Christ, that God may have a corporate expression.”*

No one has ever seen God, but His only begotten Son has declared Him (John 1:18). This is Christ, the mystery of God, expressing God. The unsearchable riches of Christ are announced as the gospel in order that the wisdom of God might be made known through the church (Eph. 3:8-10). This is the church, the mystery of Christ, expressing Christ.

Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15). This great mystery is God manifest in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ manifest in all His believers, His organic Body. Ultimately the mystery will be finished but this manifestation will continue in New Jerusalem.

* Note 1 on Eph. 3:4 in The NT Recovery Version Online, © 1997-2012 by LSM.

Enlargement from Here to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is the summary of posts about the enlargement of God’s house, the church today, to God’s city, New Jerusalem. A link, a key sentence and a verse are presented for each post.

 First Timothy 3:15 tells us “the house of God is the church of the living God.” This house will be enlarged to be the city of God, New Jerusalem.

 The word church in the New Testament refers to the Lord’s corporate people, His mystical Body. In Ephesians 1:22-23 Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body.”

The church as the manifestation of God in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16) is a foretaste of God manifest through New Jerusalem.

 The common New Testament Greek word for house means both the dwelling place and the dwellers; in 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house”—we are God’s dwelling place, His house.

 The convergence of house and household, dwelling place and dwellers, is the New Testament reality, both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem; in Ephesians 2:19 we are “members of the household of God.”

 The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people; “you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16).

We are the living house of God; “Christ was faithful as a Son over His [God’s] house, whose house we are” (Heb. 3:6); in eternity we will be God’s city, New Jerusalem.

  New Jerusalem, a cube (Rev. 21:16), is the eternal holy of holies, where God meets with His people and speaks with us face to face; this is a great enlargement from the Old Testament holy of holies.

 The enlargement of God’s house is by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, His Body, which is also the living house of God, “grows with the growth of God.”

 In Colossians 2:16–3:4 the growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind set on things of Christ, by being governed by Christ Himself, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

The growth is also seen in Ephesians 3:16-19; Christ makes home in our hearts as we experience His death and resurrection.

 Ephesians 3:17-19 continues; as a result of Christ’s home-making, we are rooted and grounded in love, we together apprehend His vastness, and we are filled unto all the fullness of God.

Then in Ephesians 3:20-21 the growth and filling in the prior verses result in glory to God in the church and then in more glory to him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11), all enabled by God in Christ as the power operating in us.

The New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in humanity, first in Jesus Christ (John 1:14) and then greatly enlarged in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3).

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