The Wife of the Lamb, New Jerusalem,  Made Herself Ready (7)

Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Ephesians 5:25-27, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself New Jerusalemglorious.”

Does the wife, New Jerusalem, make herself ready or does Christ do it by His sanctifying washing? BOTH! The wife prepares herself by cooperating with the Lord’s operating in her.

Peter’s failure the night the Lord was arrested, the foolish virgins not gaining the oil, and the wicked servant saying that his lord delays all show us that in ourselves we cannot get ready. We need the washing of the Lord’s living word to wipe away all the negative things in us and to bring in more of the divine nature so that the church can become glorious.

The Lord’s desire is to sanctify us to become His glorious bride, the church now and New Jerusalem eternally. However, the Lord will not force Himself on us. We must choose to cooperate. To initially receive His redemption and His eternal life is once for all. But to cooperate with Him for this sanctifying is a life-long process. The word faithful appears about 50 times in the New Testament.

Our faithfulness is the fruit of the Spirit’s work in us (Gal. 5:22). Our faithful cooperation brings us forward to readiness and to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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.

Let Us Pursue the Things for Building Up

Jesus is the Builder of the church, which is His Body. He builds by living in and working through His members, those who have believed into Him. This is the third post (firstsecond) on our cooperation with His building work. Romans 14:17-19 says,

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in this is well pleasing to God and approved by men.  So then let us pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.

New JerusalemRomans 14 speaks about our Christian life. Our participation in the kingdom of God today is not defined by outward practices such as eating and drinking. Our participation is a matter of righteousness and peace and joy from the Holy Spirit in us. And we serve God and serve others in this same Holy Spirit*.

When we serve in the Holy Spirit we are pleasing to God. We should pursue this serving because this will result in building up of other believers. At the same time we neither despise nor judge other believers; rather, we all live to the Lord (Romans 14:1-9). By this living we are at peace and we build up one another.

Let us take note of Romans 14:19 and pursue peace and building, always remembering that God’s New Testament building is in spirit. This is the building up that will eventually bring us to New Jerusalem.

* In v. 18 this is singular, referring to the Spirit, not plural referring to righteousness and peace and joy.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

One Drink, Many Streams

New JerusalemIn Genesis 2 the one river becomes four branches to reach all men. This one river pictures the one river of water of life in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2).

Although the river is unique, John 7:37-39 speaks of rivers (plural). Similarly, Psalm 46:4 says “There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.” The unique river has multiple streams. There is a spiritual significance to this.

The unique river portrays the unique Spirit of the Triune God. This Spirit is of life (Romans 8:2) and gives life to us (John 6:63 and 2 Cor. 3:6). In our experience the one flow of the Spirit has many aspects. One time we drink the living water we feel peace. Another time we become joyful (as in Psalm 46). Other times we become able to fit in a situation not to our personal preference. At times we are saved from anger.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.” Here are nine streams from the one river. The river, the Spirit, is of life and also the word fruit in this verse indicates that what the river brings forth is of life. We should not limit the flowing Spirit to these nine streams. The river also has streams of lowliness, compassion, righteousness, and holiness*. This flow also brings forth humility, dignity, calmness, purity, and more in us. How rich is this river!

We can drink now in many ways—asking, praying, calling, singing, rejoicing. The river is for us to experience every day now while awaiting the ultimate flowing in New Jerusalem.

* See the note on Galatians 5:22 in The New Testament, Recovery Version online,  published and © 1997-2013 by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo of petrified wood, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service. Just as the flow of natural water transforms wood into stone, so the flow of living water transforms us to have the virtues of Jesus Christ.

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