A Reward: Inherit Eternal Life

New JerusalemThe prior two posts (one two) are about our rich inheritance from God and God’s inheritance of His riches in us. All of this inheritance, whether now or in the next age, points to New Jerusalem.

A big part of this inheritance is eternal life. The Lord Jesus says, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My name’s sake shall receive a hundred times as much and shall inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).

In John 3 we receive eternal life and are born again. How (or why) do we inherit eternal life when we already have it from our new birth? Here is an answer from Life-Study of Matthew (chap. 54, sec. 2) by Witness Lee:

To inherit eternal life is to be rewarded in the coming age (Luke 18:29-30) with the enjoyment of the divine life in the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens.

And more from Life-Study of Matthew (chap. 53, sec. 3):

To have eternal life in John is to be saved with God’s uncreated life that man may live by this life today and for eternity, whereas to have eternal life in Matthew is to participate in the reality of the kingdom of the heavens in this age and to share in its manifestation in the coming age.

Eventually this eternal life brings us to New Jerusalem that we may live this life and reign with God and the Lamb for eternity (Rev. 22:3-5).

New Jerusalem: Our Eternal Inheritance

Hebrews 9:15: Jesus Christ “is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” This eternal inheritance will be New Jerusalem with all that the Triune God is for us and to us.

New JerusalemIn the New Testament “inherit,” when used in a positive sense, is usually associated with eternal life and the kingdom. Both are characteristics of New Jerusalem. It is a city of life and it is the center of God’s eternal kingdom. In this kingdom we “will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

We are born into this kingdom by receiving the eternal life. Today we have this life and we are partakers of the inward reality of the kingdom, as John was even when in exile on Patmos (Rev. 1:9). As this life increases in us we “reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17). Ultimately this life and kingdom are realized as New Jerusalem.

Besides eternal life and the kingdom, the New Testament speaks of our inheriting salvation, God’s promises, and blessing. All of these are what God in Christ has done for us, is doing in us, is to us and will be to us.

No blessing can compare with God Himself. We should not expect physical blessings in New Jerusalem. Rather, Christ being life to us in the fullest degree, unlimited in any way, will be our eternal blessing and inheritance.

Life and New Jerusalem
Eternal Life and New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem is a Living City, a City of Life

New Jerusalem, the Eternal City (2)

New Jerusalem is eternal and all the positive eternal things in the New Testament are related to it. Christ’s eternal redemption cleansed us and His resurrection released the eternal life to us. The eternal redemption is practical into us through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14) and the eternal life is Christ Himself living in us.

New JerusalemThe blood Christ shed for eternal redemption is “the blood of an eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20). In this covenant all that Christ is and all He has accomplished is guaranteed to us. And He becomes “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9).

Because “Christ, through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God,” His blood acts to “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). We serve God now and will serve Him in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3). While we are serving, we have the gift of “eternal comfort and good hope in grace” (2 Thes. 2:17).

Outwardly we have trials and sufferings but these do not negate the eternal salvation. Rather, “our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). Based on this vision, Paul said, “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” (2 Tim. 2:10).

Salvation with eternal glory brings glory into us and brings us to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.


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 LSM.

Photo by S.L. Wong via pexels.com.

New Jerusalem, the Eternal City

New Jerusalem is an eternal city. All the positive eternal things in the New Testament point toward this city. This is the first of a few posts looking at these eternal things.

Romans 16:26 speaks about “the eternal God.” And Ephesians 3:11 says that this God has an eternal purpose. God has a definite purpose underlying His creation of the universe. This purpose is to gain a corporate humanity for a wonderful expression of Himself.

God’s purpose is first indicated in Genesis 1:26, where man was made in the image of God. This man fell away from God but God’s purpose is eternal. God came in the man Jesus and through death created a new man (Eph. 2:15). This new man fulfills God’s purpose and expresses God here on earth now and becomes New Jerusalem, the city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

New JerusalemThe new man expresses the eternal God by having the eternal life. This eternal life is emphasized in John and 1 John and is also touched in about 20 other verses in multiple New Testament books.

This eternal life comes to us through “the eternal redemption” accomplished by Christ shedding blood on the cross and bringing it into the heavenly holy of holies (Heb. 9:12) as the reality of Leviticus 16.

The Lamb of God on the throne of New Jerusalem reminds us of the eternal redemption, and the river of water of life is the eternal life flowing to supply the entire city, the city of life, for eternity.

A City of Life, without Miracles

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city of life, a city in resurrection. From the throne at its center flows a river of water of life and beside the river grows the tree of life yielding its fruit every month. This life is the supply for every member of this city.

Miracles are of power, not of life. They are sometimes called works of power in the New Testament. These works might be done by a believer mature in the divine life, or by an immature believer. An example: the Corinthians did not lack in any gift (1 Cor. 1:7) but were babes in Christ (3:1), very immature in divine the life. Also love, which is of life, is contrasted with gifts and power in 1 Corinthians 13.

There are many miracles in the Gospels and Acts, but the Epistles which follow them turn the emphasis to growth in life for the manifestation of virtues of the Christian life. Paul speaks of growth in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, Ephesians 4:13-16, Colossians 1:6, 10 and 2:19, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, and other verses, some of which include full grown. Peter speaks of growth in 1 Peter 2:2 and 2 Peter 3:18. John, in his epistles, speaks much about a life lived in righteousness, truth, and love.

The emphasis on Christ as our life, our growth in this life, and our living out its virtues prepares us for New Jerusalem. The city is full of life and manifests the life that Jesus manifested to us through His incarnation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Creation: Now or Later?

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is on the new earth as the center of the new creation. As the outcome of God’s last judgments in Revelation 20, John tells us in 21:1, “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.”

One aspect of this new creation is revealed much earlier, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” And concerning our Christian life, Galatians 6:15 tells us, “a new creation is what matters.” This is inward, spiritual, a forerunner of the full new creation revealed at the end of Revelation.

The old creation is our old man in Adam (Eph. 4:22), our natural being by birth, without God’s life and the divine nature. The new creation is the new man in Christ (Eph. 4:24), our being that is regenerated by the Spirit (John 3:6), having God’s life and the divine nature wrought into it (John 3:36; 2 Pet. 1:4), having Christ as its constituent (Col. 3:10-11), and having become a new constitution….Although we are still the old creation, we experience the reality of the new creation when we walk according to the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25).*

Today we experience the inward new creation when we live in Spirit. When we reach Revelation 21, the entire creation, inwardly and around us, will be new with the full reality of New Jerusalem.


* Part of footnote 1 on Gal. 6:15 in the Recovery Version NT; footnotes written by Witness Lee.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

The Two Ends of Our Christian Life

New JerusalemThe New Testament begins with repentance and ends with New Jerusalem. These are the two ends of our Christian life.

The New Testament begins with a call to repent “for the kingdom of the heavens” (Matt. 3:2), “and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15), and “for forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3). When we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, we are forgiven and we also receive eternal life. These two steps bring us into the kingdom.

The New Testament ends with New Jerusalem; at the center of this city is the throne of God and the Lamb from which the river of water of life flows. Here the Lamb is a memorial of our forgiveness, the river is the divine life supply, and the throne indicates the kingdom.

Everyone who has been regenerated has had the initial experience of repentance. As we go through our Christian life, we might need more times of repentance. For example, Simon had believed and been baptized (Acts 8:13) but Peter exhorted him to repent. And Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians brought forth repentance among them (2 Cor. 7:9-10).

In Revelation 2 and 3 the Lord charges us to repent. This is to return to our best love to Him (2:5), to turn from false teachings and immoral actions (2:16, 22), and to rise out of deadness and lukewarmness (3:3, 19). These needs, or other actions which keep us from the Lord, require our repentance. This is part of our journey from initial repentance to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Where Does the River Flow Today?

In New Jerusalem there is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1).

Where is this river today? The answer is in John 7. “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit.”

New JerusalemThe river of New Jerusalem in Revelation is “of life” and this life is the eternal life of God. This is not a physical river but a spiritual river.

This river flows in everyone who comes to the Lord. To come is to drink. This drinking is spiritual: “we were all given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

How do we drink? The Lord invites us to come to Him. We can pray honestly and simply to Him, telling Him whatever is on our heart. First Peter 5:7 asks us to cast “all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you.”

Isaiah 12:3, “Draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation.” When we praise the Lord, we are drinking. And Isaiah 55:1, 6, “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….Call upon Him while He is near.” The Lord is rich to all who call upon Him; this is another way to drink the river.

The river of New Jerusalem is the same flowing Spirit we drink today.

Take Freely the Water of Life

 

 

The Gospel: a Promise of Resurrection and Incorruption

“Our Savior Christ Jesus, nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). His resurrection nullifies death and His resurrection life changes our corruption into incorruption, thus preparing us for New Jerusalem.

In Acts 13 Paul spoke of “the gospel of the promise made to the fathers.” This gospel is characterized by resurrection and incorruption. The first step for us, as mentioned in Acts 13, is forgiveness of sins as God’s response to our repentance. This is Luke 24:47, “Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations.”

Based on this forgiveness, we receive God’s eternal life, an incorruptible life, the life of resurrection. This life matches New Jerusalem, the city of resurrection.

When we receive this life, the first action in us is that our deadened spirit is made alive. Then gradually this life spreads in our being to renew our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—making our soul life. Gradually this life is imparted into our mortal body, an impartation which will be completed at the Lord’s return so that “the body of our humiliation” may be “conformed to the body of His glory.”

This life saturating our being makes us people full of life and full of incorruption, swallowing all the death and corruption in our being. Through this development, we get fully conformed to New Jerusalem to become a part of this city “having the glory of God.”


Some phrases about this development of life:
Eph. 2:5 God, “when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ”
Rom. 8:10 “if Christ is in you…the spirit is life because of righteousness.”
Rom. 8:6 “the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”
Rom. 8:11 God will “give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”

Life and Incorruption through the Gospel

Second Timothy 1:10 speaks of “the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.” This life is the eternal life of God, the only life present in New Jerusalem. 

New JerusalemThe incorruption is the result of long-term operation of this life in all the believers. Our present thoughts are corrupt at various times and our body’s corruption is shown by illnesses, weaknesses, and pains. 

First Corinthians 15 is a chapter of resurrection. The concluding verses are about our current corruption being changed to incorruption. This chapter quotes Isaiah, “the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory.’” 

This incorruption in our being and this victory will be manifested first in the kingdom age and more fully in the new creation. Since this incorruption comes to light through the gospel, the gospel points to the kingdom and to the new creation including New Jerusalem.

We should keep in mind that it is “our Savior Christ Jesus” who accomplished everything presented in 2 Timothy 1:10. And He brought these things to light through the gospel. Ephesians 2:17 tells us “coming, He announced peace as the gospel to you who were far off [the non-Jews], and peace to those who were near [the Jews].” The gospel is presented to us not merely by believers but by our Savior’s coming through these believers. His coming brings to us now the life that will bring us to incorruption and to New Jerusalem.

Additional posts about incorruption:
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
Resurrection is the Incorruptible Answer
New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Deny the Self for New Jerusalem (4)

New JerusalemThe Lord Jesus laid down His soul life to release eternal life to us (John 10:10-11). This eternal life is the life of New Jerusalem and brings us to New Jerusalem.

The Lord also asks us to deny our self, which is to lay down our soul life. To help us understand this, consider some words of the Lord about denying Himself.

Matthew 26 records His prayer shortly before His arrest, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” The Lord denied Himself by denying His own will.

In John 14 He told us, ” The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself, but the Father who abides in Me does His works” and ” the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” The Lord denied Himself by not speaking His own words but taking the Father’s words.

To deny ourselves is needed to follow the Lord and to follow Him is the path to New Jerusalem. This requires us to deny our will, our words, and our works. Our will, our words, our works have no place in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem (2)

John saw in New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). This river is the Spirit, because John 7:38-39 tells us that the Spirit will be rivers of living water flowing out of us.

New JerusalemJohn 7:39 says “the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” The Spirit of God was moving in Genesis 1:2 but the Spirit that can enter into us and flow out of us was not yet at the time of John 7. The need was for Jesus to be glorified.

Comparing Luke 24:26 and 46, we see that for Him to be glorified was for Him to be resurrected. Then in resurrection “He breathed into them [the disciples] and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

To be resurrected, Jesus first had to go through death. At the end of His crucifixion, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.” The blood is a symbol of our redemption and the water signifies the flowing Spirit as our eternal life.

The reality of blood and water remain with us through our entire Christian life and into New Jerusalem. In 1 John 1, if we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to cleanse us and to forgive us. In this same chapter the life brings us into fellowship with God and with one another.

In New Jerusalem is the throne of God and of the blood-shedding, redeeming Lamb, a memorial of our redemption. In New Jerusalem there is also the flow of the Spirit, the river of water of life as our eternal supply.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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