We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)

#NewJerusalemMany New Testament verses speak about our growth. Growth is needed so that we will mature in the divine life to match New Jerusalem.

First Peter 5:10 says, “But the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” With our cooperation, God Himself will perfect us. All the sufferings we go through are for our perfecting, for our reaching God’s goal, New Jerusalem.

Paul expresses this cooperation as counting all things loss for the excellency of Christ (Phil. 3:7-8), an excellency fully manifested by New Jerusalem. He sought to gain Christ and be found in Him (3:8-9). He was also pressing onward toward the goal, the fullest experience of Christ, which would prepare him for the prize, New Jerusalem (3:13-14).

When we have a goal different from New Jerusalem, our attitude is not like Paul’s and we try to escape the sufferings and we hold on to all things. But Paul was a person fully for God’s eternal purpose. His desire was to live Christ and magnify Christ whether through life or death (Phil. 1:20-21), whether his outward circumstances were bountiful or pitiful (4:11-12).

On the road to New Jerusalem, outward circumstance do not matter. Our attitude should be, “we do not regard the things which are seen but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). The sufferings are “things seen” but New Jerusalem is among “things not seen.”

Lord, turn my view away from the temporal things to Your eternal things.

God and New Jerusalem, Forever and Ever

God is eternal. His new creation, with new heavens and a new earth, is eternal. New Jerusalem, the center of the new creation is eternal. Here is a list of the recent “forever and ever” posts which speak about the eternal God in the eternal New Jerusalem.

Glory to God in New JerusalemTo God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in Paul’s epistles and Revelation 1. The glory is to our God, and New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in first Peter. We function as good stewards of the grace of God that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever (4:10-11).

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in Jude and Revelation 5 and 7. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever (5:13).

New Jerusalem: Reign Forever and Ever: the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever (Rev. 11:15). God’s slaves also reign forever and ever because they are one with the reigning God (Rev. 22:3, 5). New Jerusalem is the center of this eternal reign.

Jesus Christ, Living Forever and Ever: He is the One who became dead and is living forever. He is our life and life supply in resurrection for us today and in New Jerusalem.

Here is a hymn praising God who flows as living water forever and ever.

Second Corinthians 4:18 reminds us “…the things which are seen [physically/humanly] are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The glory, reigning, and living of God and His city, New Jerusalem, are eternal, forever and ever.

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (2)

New Jerusalem is the living city of the living God. This city is composed of the living God Himself and all His redeemed, enlivened, and glorified people.

In Revelation 20:9 New Jerusalem is named “the beloved city.”

Psalm 46:4 tells us that “There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.” This is the river of water of life, which flows out of the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPsalm 48 gives us a broader preview of New Jerusalem. It begins, “Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised in the city of our God.” We should praise God now and certainly will praise Him in New Jerusalem.

Verse 2 declares, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” New Jerusalem, the city of the great King, is elevated, beautiful, and provides joy to the whole earth.

In verse 8 the psalmist writes, “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of Jehovah of hosts, in the city of our God. God will establish her forever.” O Lord, we want to see more and hear more about the city of our God.

Psalm 87:3 tells us “Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.” Because New Jerusalem is a city of glory, glorious things should be, and are, spoken about her. This verse in Psalm 87 is the basis for a hymn.

New Jerusalem is eternal. Current cities are not eternal. Hence Hebrews 13:14 testifies, “we do not have here a remaining city, but we seek after the one to come.” May we seek our God and His eternal city every day, declaring that our current outward city is not our permanent home!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

I Saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemJohn’s words in Revelation 21:1-2a are, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem.”

Revelation records many people and things which John saw. (I counted 49 times that John said “I saw”) John saw because God desired to reveal. The book of Revelation is, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show to His slaves the things that must quickly take place” (v. 1:1).

God revealed the finished view of New Jerusalem because He is eternal. He is not limited by time; He is outside the realm of past, present, future.

God also revealed the completed New Jerusalem because He is able. His work in us will be completed despite our failures and our doubts. Philippians 1:6 says, “He who has begun in you a good work will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Furthermore, in Revelation 22:13 the Lord declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” The end does not rest with us; He is the end, the conclusion, the consummation.

Moreover, He is victorious. In resurrection He overcame death and He is imparting this victory into us. “The word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death (including all our defects and weaknesses) has been swallowed up unto victory'” (1 Cor. 15:54).

Because the Triune God is eternal, victorious, and able to fulfill His eternal purpose, New Jerusalem, as already seen by John, will be seen by all human beings as it comes down out of heaven .

This post originated from some reading which mentioned Rev. 21:2. I wrote this post because the subject was fresh in me. A similar post in 2012 is “I Saw New Jerusalem”.

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

The consummation of the Bible is the new heavens and new earth with New Jerusalem as their center (Revelation 21:1-2). Recent posts showed how much God’s mercy is involved in bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

One of the recent posts included a few lines from a song. I will now share the whole song (spread over several posts) and comment on it. Here are words and music.

New Jerusalem1_God eternal has a purpose,
____Formed in His eternal past,
__Spreading to eternal future;
____’Twixt these ends all time is cast.
__For with time there is the process,
____Time for His accomplishment;
__And in time we’re merely travelers—
____For eternity we’re meant.

God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. His purpose does take care of the problems in the universe but His purpose is not a reaction to these problems.

Here are some verses which speak about God’s purpose from eternity (before time).
• We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom which has been hidden, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
• To enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things. (Ephesians 3:9)

The universe was created for the carrying out of God’s purpose, His plan, according to His heart’s desire. We were created for this purpose, which means we were created for New Jerusalem. Even before creation, God took some actions in regard to us.
• God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages. (2 Timothy 1:8b-9)
• Eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages. (Titus 1:2)

God’s purpose, God’s grace, and God’s eternal life were given and promised before time began. They operate in time to bring us to New Jerusalem, where we will be after time is finished. As the song says, “For with time there is the process” and “For eternity we’re meant.”

We are in the process of growing in eternal life in time and we are traveling to New Jerusalem in eternity.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

God Has Prepared the City, But … (2)

God has prepared a city for the people of faith! But … we do not yet see New Jerusalem because God is eternal, outside of time, and we are still partially in time and in the old creation.

New JerusalemHere are other instances God’s preparation that do not yet see:
• First Peter 1:5 says we “are being guarded by the power of God through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.”
• Hebrews 2:8-9 says “in subjecting all things to Him [Christ], He [God] left nothing unsubject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him, but we see Jesus…” To see Him we must look away from everything else to Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).

The important point is not to depend on our physical senses for spiritual matters. Hebrews 11 is about people of faith, not about those with keen physical eyesight.

Second Corinthians 4:13 speaks of our spirit of faith. The following verses contrast outward and inward things, concluding (v. 18), “we do not regard the things which are seen but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

And Hebrews 13:13-14 encourages us, “Let us therefore go forth unto Him….For we do not have here a remaining city, but we seek after the one to come.”

God has prepared the city. Our responsibility is to look away unto Jesus; to regard the unseen, eternal things; and to seek the city to come, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

God Has Prepared the City, But …

We are in a series on the preparation of New Jerusalem. Hebrews 11 speaks about people of faith. Regarding Abraham and his descendants it says, “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (v. 16).

New JerusalemThis verse says that God has already prepared the city of New Jerusalem. This is the city which has foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God (v. 10).

But … why don’t we see the city? It is because we are stuck in time. God (and what God does) is eternal, outside the limitations and sequential order of time.

But … why don’t we see the city? It is also because we are partially stuck in the old creation. One part of our being—our human spirit—has been born of the Spirit (John 3:6). This is wonderful. Thank the Lord for this!

Another part—our mind—is being transformed by renewing (Romans 12:2) indicating that our mind is old, separated from the newness of God. And Philippians 3:21 speaks of a third part of our being as “the body of our humiliation” because sin dwells in it (Romans 7:14-18).

What should we do? One answer is in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18. These verses say that whenever our heart turns to the Lord the veil—anything of time and the old creation which separates us from the Lord—is taken away. Then the Lord, the Spirit transforms us.

This transformation is “from glory to glory” taking us toward the ultimate glory of New Jerusalem.

Read more about the three parts of man, their condition, and God’s salvation or watch a 5 min video.

Earth rise from Apollo 11 in lunar orbit, photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of Everything Positive in the Bible (4)

New Jerusalem is the eternal consummation of everything positive in the Bible. This consummation includes

God, man, eternal life, redemption, the Spirit, light,
love, holiness, glory, the kingdom, the priesthood,
righteousness, resurrection, and marriage

There are too many items to list individually, so here are some groups:

New JerusalemFruit of the Spirit: since the Spirit is in New Jerusalem, all the fruits brought forth by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in God’s people should also be there.

More Fruit of the Spirit: this note on Galatians 5:22 links to New Testament verses which mention additional virtues which proceed from the Spirit in us.

God’s Actions in Eternity: God foreknew us, selected us, and predestined us. In time, these eternal actions bring us to salvation and eventually to New Jerusalem.

Judicial Salvation: redemption was included in a prior post, but the death of Jesus also accomplished forgiveness, positional justification, and reconciliation. All of these prepare us for God’s organic salvation. Some verses which speak of both the judicial and organic aspects of salvation are John 19:34, Romans 5:10, Galatians 3:13-14, and Revelation 22:14.

Organic Salvation: God’s salvation in life begins with our regeneration. It continues with nourishing, dispositional justification, renewing, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and glorification. The ultimate step of glorification, the consummation of the other steps, is clearly seen in New Jerusalem.

Image and Dominion: According to Genesis 1:26, God created man in His image so that man could express God, and gave man His authority so that man exercise dominion for God. These objectives are fully fulfilled in New Jerusalem which radiates the glory, the expression, of God, and which is the eternal kingdom of God with His throne and His slaves reigning with Him.

These items paint a broad picture but much more will be in New Jerusalem.

We Cooperate with Our Guarantee

New JerusalemRomans 9:23 tells us that God will “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.” Ultimately this glory will fill and radiate from New Jerusalem; unto glory implies unto New Jerusalem.

The Bible presents our involvement with God’s glory in two views. One view is a gradual process with the Triune God’s operation—the Father’s leading, the Son’s washing, and the Spirit’s transforming. This process requires our cooperation.

An example of our cooperation is in 1 Thessalonians 2:12. Paul told the believers that his care was “So that you might walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” On one hand God calls us into His glory. On the other hand we cooperate by walking worthily of this calling.

The other view is a completed fact, because the eternal God is not bound by time. An example is Romans 9 where God has prepared us before unto glory. Before what? Paul does not tell us what, so probably before means before everything, in eternity.

Another example of God’s eternal view is Romans 8:30, “Those whom He predestinated, these He also called; and those whom He called, these He also justified; and those whom He justified, these He also glorified.” We think of predestination as complete but think of glorification as our future. However, in God’s view we have already been glorified.

Conclusion: we need to cooperate with a proper Christian walk and by turning our heart to behold and reflect the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:16, 18). However, our glorification and our participation in New Jerusalem depend not on us but on the Triune God’s operation. God’s person and operation is our guarantee.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and copyrighted 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 copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry.

The Twofoldness of Divine Truth

Revelation 21:1-2a says, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” God revealed and John saw New Jerusalem as a finished product.

The title of this blog is the title of a booklet* by Robert Govett, a Christian who lived in England 1813 to 1901. I mentioned this booklet in one prior post. The particular twofoldness of truth addressed in my recent posts ( ) is that on one hand New Jerusalem has been completed and on the other hand we are participating every day in God’s New Testament building by growth in life (Eph. 2:21-22; 4:16; 1 Peter 2:2-5).

Brother Govett uses some specific examples of “seemingly opposing truths” in the Word of God, but his conclusions are not limited to those examples. Here are some quotes in regard to “seemingly opposing truths.”
• Which are we to believe of the two statements? Both! The same God who spoke one spoke the other also. It is enough that the Word of God distinctly affirms both.
• Both are to be received whether we can reconcile them or no. Their claim on our reception is not that we can unite them, but that God has testified both.
• God is one, and His Word is one, though its beauty and its glory is that it views truth on all sides.

He likens the two sides of divine truth to the two reins of a horse and urges us, Do not always pull at one of them, lest you land yourself and your horse in the ditch. He concludes by praying that the Lord will give us the teaching of the Holy Spirit so that each part of His Word may leave its due impression on us. Therefore, based on the words of the Bible, we praise the Triune God that we are already in New Jerusalem and at the same time we consecrate ourselves to His current building work in us.

* The copy I have is published by Christian Publications Inc., Harrisburg PA and is undated.

Lord, Keep Us Pursuing Toward the Goal

Revelation is a prophecy composed of visions given to John. Revelation 1:2 tells us that John “testified the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even all that he saw.” Almost 50 times in Revelation John says, “I saw” including, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem” (v. 21.2). With God’s eternal view, New Jerusalem is here and all who have believed into Jesus Christ can declare, I am in New Jerusalem.

Although Revelation emphasizes the eternal view, the New Testament epistles mainly take a temporal view of what God in Christ Jesus is accomplishing in us during our Christian life. Example verses are in the prior post. Other examples that touch ongoing Christian progress are:
• 2 Corinthians 4:16 says our inner man is being renewed day by day
• Galatians 4:19 speaks of labor until Christ is formed in us.
• 1 Peter 2:5 says we are being built as a spiritual house.

Since New Jerusalem, the consummation of the Bible, is complete in God’s sight, why is the progressive aspect of the Christian life emphasized so much in the epistles? PERHAPS the answer is that, if the completion of our Christian life was emphasized throughout the New Testament, we would not be motivated to cooperate with the indwelling Lord. PERHAPS, to counter our ever-present danger of relaxing, the New Testament emphasizes cooperation for reaching the goal. In any case, since we are encouraged to pursue toward the goal, to come forward, and to supply diligence, let us pray that our living be this way.

Lord, daily attract us to Yourself that we may pursue toward the goal to which You have called us. Lord, keep us coming forward to You and diligently following You.

The Faithful Are in New Jerusalem Now

In Revelation 21:2a John said, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This verse was part of my prior post “I Saw New Jerusalem” and the title of this post is a response I received to that post. Since receiving this response, I have been considering it. In my blogging, several times I said that we are in the foretaste of New Jerusalem. Here are links to some posts with those words: .

In “I Saw New Jerusalem” I mentioned the eternal view and the temporal view. In God’s view, New Jerusalem is an accomplished fact which was shown to John. Hence, John said “I saw.” In our human time-constrained view, New Jerusalem will descend out of heaven in the future. With the eternal view we must declare, I am in New Jerusalem now. With the temporal view we say that we have a spiritual foretaste of New Jerusalem. Should we discard the temporal view and hold only the eternal view? No, because the New Testament uses both views.

Samples of the eternal view:
• Romans 8:30 says we have been glorified.
• Ephesians 2:10 says we are God’s masterpiece.
Samples of the temporal view, showing development in our Christian life:
• 1 Corinthians 1:18 says we are being saved.
• Hebrews 2:11 says we are being sanctified.
Samples of the temporal view, showing a future conclusion of our Christian life:
• Romans 8:23 says we are eagerly awaiting the redemption of our body.
• 1 John 3:2 says that when He is manifested, we will be like Him.

Because the New Testament uses both views, we too should use them. Based on Revelation, we can declare that we are in New Jerusalem now. Based on verses in the epistles, we also should say that we are cooperating with Christ’s growth in us unto the full reality of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Toby Shelton.

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