New Jerusalem: No Blemishes, No Spots (2)

God chose us in eternity past to “be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 1:4) and in eternity future New Jerusalem, the holy city, will be holy and without blemish.

The prior post presents the Lord’s work to make us without blemish. In addition to the verses there, Colossians 1:22 says, “He now has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and without reproach before Him.” His death, for our reconciliation, has the goal of New Jerusalem holy and without blemish.

New JerusalemDespite what He has accomplished, we should not wait passively. Philippians 2 exhorts us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (v. 12). We work by cooperating with God who operates within us (v. 13).

By this cooperation, we will be without murmurings and reasonings (v. 14), “that you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (v. 15). In this shining we present the word of life to worldly people (v. 16).

Our cooperation with God’s operation in us causes us to be without fallen humanity’s blemishes and with divine shining as channels for the word of life, that God’s salvation might reach people in this crooked generation.

Peter, based on our expectation of the new creation with New Jerusalem, exhorts us “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (2 Peter 3:14).

In Revelation 14:1-5 we see overcomers, firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. Part of their description is that they “are without blemish.” Surely these overcomers lived according to the exhortations in Philippians 2 and 2 Peter 3. Not only are they without negative blemishes, they are also singing a heavenly song of praise, a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Nick Pitsas, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

According to God’s Purpose, Grace, Mercy

New JerusalemThis post has more verses with the pattern according to God’s…everything. God’s ways and His acts are marvelous and culminate in New Jerusalem.

Colossians 1:29: “For which also I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power.” Paul labored much, but not by his own effort. His labor was according to the Lord’s operation in him. This is the Lord Jesus, carrying out, through faithful believers, His declaration in Matthew 16, “I will build My church.”

2 Timothy 1:9: “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.” God’s calling of us, like so many other steps He takes, is according to His own purpose. This calling is also according to His grace, His coming to us to be experienced by us.

Titus 3:5: “Not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:3 describes us as “…once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving as slaves various lusts and pleasures…” As such we were not qualified for God’s purpose and had no share in New Jerusalem. But when the kindness and love of God appeared (Titus 3:4), He saved us according to His mercy.

Hebrews 2:4: “…distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His will.” Likewise, we were not qualified to receive the Holy Spirit, but, based on His mercy, God gave the Spirit according to His will. In ourselves we are not suitable for New Jerusalem because of God’s mercy the Spirit will constitute us for this city.

Thanks be to our God and Father for His rich provision.

God Strengthens Us, According to the Riches of His Glory, unto New Jerusalem

This post continues verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… all of which are surpassing and excellent and which culminate in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit…” Ephesians 1 has a prayer for our seeing and Ephesians 3:14-19 is a prayer for our experience.

For such experience, we do not depend on our own strength. Rather, God strengthens us according to the riches of His glory. This strengthening is for Christ to make home in our hearts (3:17) so that we can be filled unto all the fullness of God (3:19) to glorify God in the church (3:21) and in New Jerusalem (3:21).

Philippians 3:21: “Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to His operation by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.” Currently our body is a body of sin and death (Rom. 6:6, 7:24). This in no way matches New Jerusalem. But our Lord Jesus Christ is able to conform us to His body of glory to match the city of glory. This is not according to our need but according to His all-subjecting operation.

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will fill your every need according to His riches, in glory, in Christ Jesus.” God fills our need but not according to our need. God fills according to His riches. And this filling is in glory, corresponding to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

Colossians 1:11: “Being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy.” We are empowered to “walk worthily of the Lord” (1:10) but this empowering is not merely to match our shortage. Instead it is far higher, according to the might of His glory, another pointer toward New Jerusalem.

We can pray, Lord, turn my view from myself, my situations, and my needs to You, Your riches, Your glory, Your operation, and Your power

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.

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