Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)

New JerusalemRomans 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.” This good, well pleasing, and perfect will is ultimately to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Romans 12:1 shows us that a base for our transformation is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”

This consecration comes out of the foregoing chapters of Romans—realizing that we, as fallen, natural men, cannot please God but need His life in us to enable us to be people for His purpose.

We cannot transform ourselves. Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us that we are transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord; He is the source! Ephesians 4:23 says we should “be renewed in the spirit of our mind.” Our transformation is by renewing and our renewing is accomplished by the Spirit in our spirit.

The first verse of a hymn (music) by Witness Lee speaks of God’s intention, His will, and our consequent need for transformation (see graphic in this post). The fourth verse of the hymn, based on 2 Corinthians 3:18, presents something of God’s goal.
__By the power of His Spirit
____In His pattern He transforms;
__From His glory to His glory
____To His image He conforms.
New Jerusalem, radiating the glory of God (Rev. 21:11), is the fulfillment of God’s will.

The chorus is a good prayer for each of us.
__Lord, transform us to Thine image
____In emotion, mind, and will;
__Saturate us with Thy Spirit,
____All our being wholly fill.

The hymn is © 2001 by Living Stream Ministry, used by permission.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

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.

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.

God’s Purpose: Much Higher than Our Need

New JerusalemIn recent months I have been touched by various phrases like according to God’s will or according to His riches. What God does is not according to man’s need but much higher—according to His purpose. Man’s need is solved by God’s salvation but God’s salvation is for His goal, which much greater than satisfying our need.

Because of this realization I gathered verses which include something like according to His… This is the first of a few posts in which I present these verses in their order in the Bible. These verses are on this New Jerusalem blog because God’s will, God’s riches, and God’s grace all point toward New Jerusalem.

Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We are not called by God because we need to be saved from sin and death; rather we are called according to His purpose. For His purpose He saves us from sin and death as a preparatory step so that we can grow in Him and be built together in His life to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:5: “Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Before creation, before any sin and death, God foreknew us and predestinated us to be His sons, to have His eternal life. We have this life so that God can bring forth His good pleasure in us. This good pleasure, including New Jerusalem, is according to His will.

Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” Even redemption is not according to our need but according to the riches of His grace. God will display the surpassing riches of this grace in the ages to come (Eph. 2:7), including New Jerusalem in eternity.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (4)

God’s spiritual blessings to us are all in Christ. We are in Him and He is in us. This mutual indwelling characterizes New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod’s blessings in Ephesians 1:4-9a include His choosing, holiness, love, predestination, sonship, and grace. Verses 9b-10 speak of, “His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.”

We are on earth for God’s good pleasure. Eternally He has a purpose in Himself which He has now revealed (Eph. 3:3-5). We are here because of Him and for Him. He cares for us, but we should never think that this is the goal of life.

God’s good pleasure is not just for now. His economy (His way of working out His plan and achieving His goal) is for the fullness of the times, the ages. The Bible reveals that New Jerusalem is the consummation of these ages. For New Jerusalem, and for the righteousness and peace which will distinguish the new heaven and new earth, God will head up all things in Christ.

The heading up eventually will include not only New Jerusalem but also everything in the heavens and on earth. Right now, Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22-23). Right now He is working to head us up, to be the practical Head in our daily living.

Ephesians 4:15 charges us to hold onto Him as the reality that “we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.” Lord, train me to take You as my Head in daily life. This is our participation in the unseen new creation now leading to the visible new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemEphesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” The spiritual blessings all lead to God’s glory (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). Hence, they point towards New Jerusalem, God’s city of glory.

What God gives us are “spiritual blessings” (not physical) and they are “in the heavenlies” (not earthly) and they are “in Christ” (not in the old creation). All these characteristics of God’s blessings—spiritual, heavenly, in Christ—are for His eternal purpose and match characteristics of New Jerusalem. (God also promises to take care of our earthly needs but we should not long for or seek material blessings.)

These blessings are in three portions, each ending with the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). These blessings are “according to the good pleasure of His will” (v. 5) and “according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself” (v. 9) and “according to the counsel of His will” (v. 11). These blessings relate to New Jerusalem because this city is the consummation all that God is doing according to the good pleasure of His will.

Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God’s choosing of us was in eternity and it is for eternity, including the eternal city New Jerusalem. God chose us to be holy before Him. This is for the “holy city” (Rev. 21:2) where we will “see His face” (22:4).

God’s choosing is also in love, for the eternal marriage of Christ and His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9). How wonderful that this one verse of blessings in Ephesians has so many pointers toward New Jerusalem. Lord Jesus, we love You!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Eternal Economy unto New Jerusalem

God’s economy is His plan, His administrative arrangement, to accomplish His eternal purpose which consummates in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPaul tells us that grace was given to him to announce the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel. The goal of this announcing is “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” (Eph. 3:8-9).

All things were created for God’s economy. The more we partake of the riches of Christ, the more we see and participate in God’s economy. This is our preparation for New Jerusalem.

All creatures have fallen away from God. Now God is working through His people by causing the riches of His grace to abound to us (Eph. 1:7-8). The result is His “making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ.”

Grace was not only given to the apostles but also to all believers. By this grace we realize the mystery of God’s will, God’s good pleasure. In this way we get headed up in Christ, so that through His Body He can head up all things.

Eventually, in the new creation, everything will be headed up in Christ. Nothing will be out of order. There will be no death and no darkness. Everyone will see New Jerusalem as the outcome of God’s economy, as God’s good pleasure.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Love the Lord Jesus, Rejoice and Exult

New JerusalemWe are in a series of posts on preparation of New Jerusalem. An outstanding characteristic of New Jerusalem is that this city is the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Revelation 19:7 proclaims, “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.”

Love is the critical factor for a bride preparing to be married.

In John 14:23 the Lord Jesus says to us, “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.” The making of this abode, in response to our loving the Lord, is part of the preparation of New Jerusalem as the eternal mutual abode of God and man.

Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” The “good” here is neither outward blessings nor human success, but the accomplishing of God’s purpose as revealed in verses 29-30. Our loving of God causes us to care for His desire regardless of our human situation. And New Jerusalem is the consummation of all the “good” which God is accomplishing in those who love Him.

Second Timothy 4:8 speaks of “all those who have loved our Lord’s appearing.” This is a stark contrast to those who “loved the present age” (v. 10). If we love Him, certainly we will love His appearing. Lord, cause us to love You every day.

A song echoes this prayer:
___Lord, keep my heart always true to You,
___Never backsliding, always viewing You,
___A heart that is pure that sees only You,
___A heart that loves You and treasures only You.

Lord, keep my heart in this wonderful condition from now until New Jerusalem appears.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem Displays the Wisdom of God

Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) and He is God’s wisdom imparted to us (1:30). In His resurrection He as wisdom is manifested through His believers, displayed through the church, and eventually exhibited through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 1:30 says that of God we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God.” This wisdom is not for human activities; rather it is “righteousness and sancti-fication and redemption.” God’s wisdom is Christ our righteousness, Christ our Sanctifier, and Christ as our Redeemer.

In Jesus Christ we have the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). This grace abounds to us through God’s wisdom and prudence (1:8) not for human affairs but for carrying out God’s will according to God’s good pleasure and purpose (1:9). God’s purpose, God’s good pleasure, God’s will, culminates in exhibiting His wisdom through New Jerusalem as the center of the new creation.

Christ as wisdom is spoken by the apostles (1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Peter 3:15) as an expression of the Christ who lives in them. The speaking of the apostles brings forth the church, the Body of Christ. As members of the Body, when we “let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom,” this indwelling wisdom is manifested in our interactions with one another and in our singing with grace to God (Colossians 3:16). We can also “walk in wisdom” (Colossians 4:5).

As we all live out Christ as our wisdom, “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” (Ephesians 3:10). The Greek adjective translated “multifarious” occurs only here in the New Testament. Marvin Vincent says, through the Church God’s wisdom in its infinite variety is to be displayed.* This display is now because it is through the church.

Ultimately the display of God’s multifarious, infinite wisdom through the church will become a display through New Jerusalem.

*Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, reprinted by Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1946 (originally published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887).

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

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