Our Inheritance and God’s Inheritance

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of our inheritance of eternal life and of God’s kingdom. We partake of both today and will have a far richer participation in eternity.

Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God; on the other, joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.” Ultimately, to be glorified with Christ is to be New Jerusalem with Him.

We are children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Our inheritance with Christ is to be glorified with Him. Our glorification rests to lesser or greater extent on our current sufferings. While suffering, we must remember that these trials are temporary and produce “an eternal weight of glory.”

Paul prayed that God would give us “a spirit of wisdom and revelation” and to enlighten our heart that we may know “what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18). We receive so much from God, including all the blessings in Ephesians 1:3-14. Eventually all these divine riches bring forth the glory in us, and this glory is what God inherits in us.

We inherit all God’s riches to be our life, salvation, glory, and more. In return, these riches wrought into us become what God inherits. The mutual result is New Jerusalem, saturated with eternal life and “having the glory of God.”

Photo by Bill Ingalls, courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem’s Glory: Now or Later?

Revelation 21 describes New Jerusalem as “having the glory of God.” God, in His divinity, has this glory from eternity past. The glory of this divinity was hidden in the humanity of Jesus and revealed briefly on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2). This glory will be revealed openly and permanently when the Lord returns.

New JerusalemToday we are members of the Body of Christ, and in eternity we will be constituents of New Jerusalem, sharing in the glory of the city. When do we partake of this glory?

On one hand, in Romans 8:29-30 Paul writes to us that God foreknew, predestinated, called, justified, and glorified us. All these are past tense verbs. We easily agree with most of these, but has God actually glorified us already? We need to believe God’s word!

On the other hand, Hebrews 2:10 tells us that God is “leading many sons into glory.” And Romans 8:17 says, “we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.” These verses indicate that our partaking of glory is coming, not yet present. Again, we need to believe God’s word!

God is eternal, outside the limits of time. Here we have been glorified. God, through incarnation, entered into time. Here our glorification is a process that is in progress. We cooperate by turning our heart to Him so that the Spirit can transform us from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18), step by step bringing us onward to the glory of New Jerusalem.

Our human cooperation is in the realm of time but in God’s eternal view we are already in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Redemption unto New Jerusalem (2)

At the Lord’s second coming He will redeem our physical body, bringing us into full sonship (Rom. 8:23), which is to transfigure our mortal body to be like His body of glory (Phil. 3:21). This is a step on our path to the city of glory, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe graphic has the second verse of the song about this redemption. Christ is our hope of glory today (Col. 1). He is also the mystery of God (Col. 2:2).

The song says “He shares with me God’s fulness.” This is Colossians 2:9-10, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you have been made full in Him.” John 1:16 is similar, “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” More about the fullness.

Jesus Christ is God; He is in us and we are in Him (John 14:20). We are joined to Him and one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17). The more we are renewed and transformed in our soul, the more we are blended with God. Our transformation is “from glory to glory” and this glory is fully God’s expression, both now and unto New Jerusalem.

In New Jerusalem we will share God’s glory with Him forever. The city “has the glory of God” and “the glory of God illumines it.” This is our wonderful destiny.

Redemption unto New Jerusalem

The prior three posts touched two aspects of redemption: our justification through the forgiveness of our sins by the Lord’s death on the cross and the redemption of our body at the Lord’s second coming. Both aspects are part of our path to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemNow we look at a song (words,
music) about the second step of redemption, our glorification. The graphic has the first verse and chorus.

The song begins with Christ as our hope of glory (Col. 1:27). He is our life (Col. 3:4). His work in us began with regeneration and continues until He comes to change our bodies to be like His glorious body (Phil 3:21).

The chorus emphasizes that “He comes.” We know He is coming and His charge to us is “watch.” He comes to transfigure us (Phil. 3), redemption to apply (Rom. 8), His saints to glorify (2 Thes. 1).

We are His saints because He has sanctified us in position by His death and is now sanctifying our entire inward being by His life. In this way we will match New Jerusalem, the holy city.

His glorifying of us is that “He comes to be glorified in His saints.” Apart from Him we have no glory. He is the hope of glory in us now and He will be the glory radiating through us at His coming. Together all the glorified saints will be the glorious church to become the glorious New Jerusalem.

Our Path to New Jerusalem (2)

New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, is composed of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified people. God’s choosing determined that we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Although we were among fallen men, Christ’s redemption brought us back to God and regeneration gives us God’s eternal life, the life of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemTRANSFORMED: Regeneration is to be born of the Spirit in our spirit, as the Lord spoke in John 3. Transformation is the spreading of divine life into our soul to renew our mind. This renewing is also our transformation (Rom. 12:2).

This is based on our consecration (Rom. 12:1) and is accomplished by our cooperation with the Spirit’s work in us and is “unto glory” that is, unto New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

GLORIFIED: Transformation develops God’s glory within us. However, transformation is in our soul and the expression of glory is still constrained by the body of our humiliation (Phil. 3:21). Glorification, transfiguration, is the divine life saturating our mortal body so that it will “be conformed to the body of His glory.” This is “the redemption of our body” which is the full sonship.

This glorification will occur when the Lord returns, “When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). This, our glorification, is “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8) whose glory we “behold and reflect” (2 Cor. 3:18) throughout our transformation, saturating our entire being and radiating through us that all may behold.

This glory developed in us began with regeneration, continues through transformation, and is concluded by glorification. This causes us to match New Jerusalem, the city which “has the glory of God.”

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemThe Christian life includes sufferings, but our focus is not on them. Instead, we focus on the unseen, weighty, eternal things including Christ as our hope of glory—the glory of His return and of New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:16-18 says, “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God; on the other, joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.”

Romans 8 is clear that we are children of God growing to be heirs. During this growth we suffer, but not by ourselves. “We suffer with Him.” The result is “we may also be glorified with Him.” May we be filled with the attitude that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory, a glory which concludes with New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:35 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?” Verse 40 answers that nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In Romans 5 our hope, which is Christ in us, energizes us to pass through sufferings. In Romans 8 love, which is also Christ in us, energizes us. Then Romans 12:12 encourages us to “Rejoice in hope; endure in tribulation; persevere in prayer.” By rejoicing and praying, we contact the Lord, and He supplies us to walk the suffering path to His return, after which we enjoy New Jerusalem.

 

 

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)

While we are growing in our Christian life we are also being perfected. Our maturity in life and our perfection (Matt. 5:48) match New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemOur perfection includes transformation. Romans 12:2 exhorts us, “…be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.”

The result of transformation is that we corporately show forth the will of God. This will is good, in God’s sight, as is New Jerusalem. However, there may be outward events which help our transformation, which are not “good” according to our understanding.

In the same way, Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” Again, this is God’s view of “good” and it applies to those who love God, those who are foreknown and predestinated by Him in eternity past to go through a process in order to be glorified (8:29-30). This glory ultimately is New Jerusalem.

Our transformation, the renewing of our mind, includes a change in our concept of “good.” God’s view of “good” is that we be transformed, conformed to the image of His Son (8:29), and glorified for New Jerusalem. This is far beyond a good job, a good, car, a good vacation, good food, etc.

Paul was pursuing God’s “good” (Phil. 3:12-14). Hence, in physical things he was content to abound or to be abased (Phil. 4:11-12).

The will of God in Romans 12 is well pleasing to Him, and to us when we are one with Him. God has predestinated us from eternity for His good pleasure (Eph. 1:5). And His good pleasure consummates in eternity with New Jerusalem. The will of God, including New Jerusalem, is perfect since God is perfect.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (3)

New JerusalemIn 1 Timothy 3:15 the church is the living house of the living God. Then we read “great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (v. 16*). This describes a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

The first manifestation of God in the flesh was in the incarnation of Jesus. “The Word was God….the Word became flesh….No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:1, 14, 18).

Today the living church as the dwelling place of the living God is “God manifest in the flesh.” We, the members of the church, the Body of Christ, are outwardly men of flesh but God dwells in us. Today our proper Christian living results in God manifested in the flesh. This is a mystery of godliness.

This living mystery, the manifestation of God in the flesh, continues until “taken up in glory.” This will be our glorification (Rom. 8:17, 30). This glory will be strengthened and expanded to be the glory of New Jerusalem.

In eternity there will be no more flesh for we will have been fully conformed to Christ and glorified with Him. Therefore we should not say that New Jerusalem is God manifested in the flesh but we could say that New Jerusalem is God manifested in those who were flesh or that New Jerusalem is God manifested in redeemed, regenerated, and glorified humanity.

* Originally the New Testament had no chapter and no verse separations. The text continued from one sentence to the next with no break. Thus there is a strong connection between the house of the living God and the mystery of godliness. Look at 1 Timothy 3 in a fourth century Bible.

Photo by Dave Herr, courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

New Jerusalem

“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.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

“We suffer with Christ that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom. 8:17b)

The holy city, Jerusalem…having the glory of God. (Rev. 21:10-11)

More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

Photo courtesy of European Space Agency

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

New Jerusalem

At a recent college students’ conference in Texas the general topic was The Overview of God’s Economy. The last message was
___The New Jerusalem as the Ultimate Consummation of God’s Purpose.
In the conference, we saw that the New Jerusalem is NOT a physical, material city.
• Revelation 1:1, “The revelation of Jesus Christ….He made it known by signs.”
Revelation has many signs—the lampstands, the Lamb, the Lion of Judah, the universal woman, the dragon, etc. The New Jerusalem is a sign. This wonderful city IS:

1. The consummation of the Divine Romance in the Bible*
• Isa. 54:5a, “For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of hosts is His name.”
• Rev. 21:2,  “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
According to the entire Bible, God the creator is male and His chosen, redeemed, transformed, glorified people are female, and there is a divine romance between them. At the end of the Revelation, God is the husband and His people are the wife to match God.

2. The consummation of God’s Building (Tabernacle and Temple)
• 1 Cor 3:16a, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?”
• Rev 21:22, “And I saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God (21:3) and the temple of God (21:22). In the eternity future, our habitation is God Himself. To God the city is the tabernacle and to us it is the temple.

3. The consummation of Mutual Abiding of God and His Redeemed
• John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.”
• John 17:21, “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
We will not live in a mansion; we will live in God and God will live in us. This mutual abiding is the New Jerusalem. The eternal God becomes our eternal habitation.

4. The consummation of Believers’ Transformation and Glorification
• 2 Cor. 3:18, “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.”
• Rev 21:10b-11, “The holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.”
All believers were created as clay, yet in the New Jerusalem all believers are regenerated and transformed into precious stone and glorified for God’s eternal expression in His eternal building.

5. The consummation of God as the Life Supply to us
• Rev 22:1-2a “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.”
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we received the eternal life. Today, we drink one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and in the New Jerusalem, the Triune God is life for our enjoyment for eternity—He is our light of life, tree of life, and water of life!

6. The consummation of the Bible and all the NT Blessings and Realities
• Revelation 21–22 “New heaven, new earth…holy city, New Jerusalem…it had a great and high wall and had twelve gates…there will be no night there…no longer be a curse…His slaves will serve Him…they will reign for ever and ever.”
All of us will be new in the New Jerusalem, and we will reign with Christ for eternity. Oh Lord, make me match the New Jerusalem today in every way!

Thanks!! to Deborah who wrote this post from her college conference notes.

* For each point we have presented a few verses. Here are more verses for each topic.
1. Jer. 3:14; John 3:29a; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25, 27a.
2. John 1:14; 2:16b, 19b, 21; 1 Cor. 3:9b, 12a; Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15b; 1 Peter 2:5a; Rev. 21:3a, 18-19, 21a.
3. John 14:2-3, 20; 17:22-23a.
4. Rev. 21:18-19a, 23-24a.
5. John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13.

Our Destiny is New Jerusalem

As a believer in Jesus Christ, what is your future? The important answer is not college, career, family, social action, etc. If, according to 2 Corinthians 4:18, we regard the unseen, eternal things, our future is New Jerusalem, as presented in this excerpt from A&C:*

New JerusalemEphesians 1:5 says that we were predestinated unto sonship, which is for the New Jerusalem. Ephesians 1:11 says that we were predestinated according to His purpose, which is to have the New Jerusalem. Romans 8:29 says that we have been predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son. This is to have the many sons for the New Jerusalem. All this was determined in eternity past.

In time we have been regenerated, and eventually, we will be sanctified, renewed, transformed, conformed, and glorified to become the New Jerusalem. Concerning this, there can be no doubt, for the apostle John saw the New Jerusalem existing as a reality in the sight of God.

Regeneration, our new birth, was quick. Our position, our status is now securely in Christ. But, what about our condition? After our regeneration, we continue in a process of sanctification (Heb. 10:14), renewing (Titus 3:5), transformation (2 Cor. 3:18), and conformation (Rom. 8:29). All these aspects of the Lord’s operation within us bring us toward New Jerusalem.

The final step of this process is glorification (Rom. 8:17) by which our mortal body, the body of our humiliation, may “be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21). This will bring forth New Jerusalem as the composition of all the glorified believers with the glorifying God. This is what John saw and reported to us in Revelation 21–22.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

God’s Great Salvation unto New Jerusalem

Here is more about New Jerusalem from Affirmation & Critique,* The New Jerusalem—The Consummation of God’s Work in Humanity (by David Yoon):

New JerusalemThroughout church history, the mystery of God’s purpose and that of man’s destiny have been a continuous source for debate and discussion among Christians. According to the divine revelation in the Holy Scriptures, the ultimate answer to these two mysteries is presented in the final vision of the Bible—the vision of the New Jerusalem, the holy city. This vision, described in Revelation 21 and 22, concludes the entire Scriptures and completes the progression of the divine revelation concerning God and His interaction with humankind. As the consummating vision in the Bible, the New Jerusalem unveils the ultimate issue of God’s work upon His elect, the final state of their perfection through their participation in His great salvation (Heb. 2:3). The accomplishment of God’s purpose and the fulfillment of humanity’s destiny culminate and converge in the New Jerusalem.

As stated here, New Jerusalem is the ultimate issue of God’s work in His people. This work includes His foreknowledge, selection, and predestination in eternity past; the creation of man; redemption by Jesus Christ; proclaiming of the gospel; our regeneration, transformation, and glorification; and the building up of the Body of Christ which is the house of the living God, the forerunner of New Jerusalem.

All the steps from eternity through redemption are outside of us. Beginning from regeneration, the Triune God’s work upon us is His work in us: the Father— “it is God who operates in you” (Phil. 2:13), the Son— “Christ may make His home in your hearts” (Eph. 3:17), and the Spirit—He gives life “through His Spirit who indwells you” (Rom. 8:11).

Also, the building up of the Body of Christ is by our growth in life—the life which is Christ in us. Our growth is His increase within us. Eventually, Christ will come “to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10). This completes the Triune God’s work in us and causes us to match New Jerusalem, “having the glory of God.”

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year and available online. It presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. Affirmation & Critique exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. The Fall 2012 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 2) focuses on New Jerusalem.

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