New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God

Colossians 1:19 declares that in Christ “all the fullness was pleased to dwell.” This fullness is the expression of all the riches of God.* Colossians 2:9 says “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” By incarnation, all the fullness of the Godhead is in the God-man Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:22-23 go further, saying that the church, the Body of Christ is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Not only Christ Himself, but now in resurrection also the Body composed of all His believers, is the fullness. The corporate Body will become the corporate New Jerusalem, so New Jerusalem will be the fullness of God.

The Body is the fullness because “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Ephesians 1 is a prayer for revelation that we might see all that God has operated in Christ unto the church. This is somewhat objective. Receiving grace upon grace is definitely subjective. This grace constitutes the church as the fullness in reality, preparing us for New Jerusalem.

We receive grace and we minister grace to one another, that we may be “good stewards of the varied grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). For this ministry the members of the Body specially gifted by the Head (Eph. 4:11) labor to perfect all of us “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ” (4:12). This building of the Body is also the preparation of the bride (in Eph. 5), which becomes New Jerusalem.

Our ministry (Eph. 4:12) results in all arriving at the practical oneness, “at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The goal of our Christian growth is the fullness of Christ, His Body now and New Jerusalem in the future.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

* See this footnote on Col. 1:19 in the Online Recovery Version NT.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever (2)

The phrase “Glory to our God and Father forever and ever,” found in many New Testament books, points to the eternal New Jerusalem which has the glory of God. The prior post looked at Paul’s epistles and Revelation 1.

New JerusalemFirst Peter twice ascribes both glory and might to God. In both portions Peter links present grace with eternal glory.

First Peter 4:10-11: “Each one, as he has received a gift, ministering it among yourselves as good stewards of the varied grace of God….that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.”

Here Peter reminds us that every believer has been gifted. Each gift is a manifestation of the Spirit who regenerated us and is now operating within us. Based on this inner moving, we should minister the Spirit to one another for the building up of the Body of Christ. The Body, as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, is New Jerusalem’s precursor in glorifying God.

First Peter 5:10-11: “The God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you. To Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.

Here Peter tells us that the God of all grace has called us into His eternal glory; that is, He has called us into New Jerusalem. Now He is gracing us in our sufferings to perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground us that His glory may be displayed through us.

To the God of all grace be the glory and the might now and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Ephesians 4:16 also speaks about the functioning of every believer for building up.

The Mystery of God Revealed in Spirit to Those Who Love God

This is the era of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 2:1), of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11), of God’s will according to His good pleasure (Eph. 1:9), of Christ (Eph. 3:4), of the gospel (Eph. 6:19), and of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16). These are not separate mysteries but multiple facets of one mystery.

New JerusalemThe mystery will reach a conclusion (Rev. 10:7), and everything of God will, pleasure, and purpose will be manifested. Nevertheless, the contents of the mystery—God, Christ, the kingdom, God’s will, the gospel, and godliness—will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

How can we see and enter into this mystery? Revelation in spirit and grace are necessary. For our sake, the apostles received a revelation in spirit (Eph. 3:3, 5) and received grace to minister it to enlighten us (3:7-9). This is according to God’s eternal purpose (3:11) so it surely includes New Jerusalem.

The mystery of God proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 2 was not according to human wisdom. To grasp God’s wisdom, our first key is “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (2:9). Natural senses (eye, ear, etc.) cannot touch the things God has hidden. Our need is to love Him. O God, we love You.

Our second key is “We have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things which have been graciously given to us by God” (2:12). We have received the Spirit and, the things which God has prepared, “God has revealed them through the Spirit” (2:10). O God, grant me a spirit of revelation to see the things You have revealed by Your Spirit.

To see more of New Jerusalem, which is mysterious to the natural man, we love God and receive the Spirit’s revelation.

Love the Lord to see New Jerusalem

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Mystery and the End of the Mystery

In Mark 4:11 the Lord Jesus spoke of “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” This mystery includes New Jerusalem, the ultimate stage of God’s kingdom.

New JerusalemPaul often speaks of this mystery, as in Romans 16:25, “…my gospel, that is, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which has been kept in silence in the times of the ages.” And Colossians 1:26, “The mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations…”

This mystery, even the existence of this mystery, was hidden in God before the Lord Jesus began to minister. The Lord said something about it in His parables. Paul spoke further, for example “I came to you, brothers,…announcing to you the mystery of God” (1 Cor. 2:1).

Paul and his companions were “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). And he asked for prayer “that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known in boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19).

He was announcing the mystery because God predestinated the wisdom hidden in it “before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7). Since the wisdom of the mystery is for our glory, it is for our glorification and participation in New Jerusalem.

Today we are in the age of mystery and New Jerusalem surely is part of this mystery. But, “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he is about to trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished” (Rev. 10:7).

“The seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). This is from the second coming of Christ unto eternity, including New Jerusalem.

Photo by Scott Mecum, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

God’s Economy in Faith unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemGod’s economy is God’s household administration, God’s working out of His plan. In this economy we receive grace. This grace gradually develops our spiritual vision, enabling us to realize God’s mystery all the way to New Jerusalem. This is Ephesians 1:7-12 and 3:8-11.

First Timothy 1:4 tells us that God’s economy is in faith. It is neither physical nor psychological but in the spiritual realm of faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that our faith makes the unseen things (including New Jerusalem) real to us.

In the New Testament faith and the Spirit are often coupled. For example:
• “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5, 11:24)
• we “receive the Spirit…out of the hearing of faith” (Gal. 3:2, 5)
• we “receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14)
• we build ourselves up “upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20)

We have a “spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13) with which we speak the things of Christ Jesus, things which produce God’s economy (1 Tim. 1:3-4). This is what Paul did in announcing the unsearchable riches of Christ.

The announcing of the riches of Christ builds up His Body. This announcing is the outflow from Christ the Head, through all the members, which “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). Ultimately these unsearchable riches produce New Jerusalem and are displayed by New Jerusalem.

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.

The Multifarious Wisdom of God Manifested thru the Church then thru New Jerusalem

New JerusalemChrist as the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30) is manifested through His believers, through the church, and eventually through New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 3:8-10 says, “To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel and to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is…in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here grace is given for announcing the unsearchable riches of Christ. As we receive this bountiful supply, we are enlightened to see God’s purpose, God’s economy, for both this age and eternity. The issue of our seeing is the manifesting of God’s multifarious/multi-faceted/manifold/all-various/infinite* wisdom through the church to subdue the negative powers in the universe. Eventually, all the negative powers will be in the lake of fire but God’s infinite wisdom will eternally be manifested through New Jerusalem.

• In John 1:14-17 grace comes in Jesus Christ,
• in Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches are of Christ,
• in Ephesians 1:17-18 our being enlightened is to see our Lord Jesus Christ,
• in Colossians 2:3 Christ is the embodiment of all the treasures of God’s wisdom,
• in Ephesians 3:10 this Christ, God’s wisdom, is manifested through the church,
• and in Ephesians 3:11 God’s eternal purpose is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Apart from Him we have nothing and in Him we have everything.

Today in the new man Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). In eternity Christ will be all and in all in New Jerusalem.

* Various translations in Ephesians 3:10, thanks to Bible Hub.

Springtime photo from space, courtesy of ESA and Flemish Institute for Technological Research.

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