New Jerusalem Comes from Divine Riches and is Without Human Poverty (2)

God’s goal is not to solve problems related to human poverty. His goal is to display His unsearchable divine riches in New Jerusalem. As a side effect, these riches overcome our poverty.

Colossians 2:2 tells us that believers “hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ.” God’s desire is not a minimal nor even an adequate understanding to compensate for our shortage; His desire is a rich, full understanding, especially to know Christ as the embodiment of all that God is.

New JerusalemThis knitting together in love and unto all the riches is for the Body of Christ (Col. 2:19) as a forerunner of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:7 declares that the result of God’s work with us is “that He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” In the future, including New Jerusalem, God will not display how much He saved us from. His goal in saving us is to display the riches of His grace.

Colossians 1:27 declares that “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Again, God’s will is not so low as to merely end poverty. His will is to make know His glory, even the riches of His glory.

This glory is God in Christ. Now Christ is in us, so the glory is in us. This glory is not yet manifested but it is our present hope, which will be fulfilled in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

See also No Money in New Jerusalem.

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.

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.

Faith & Grace Bring Us to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Romans 4:16: “the inheritance is out of faith that it might be according to grace.” We inherit a foretaste in this age, much more in the kingdom age, and the utmost in New Jerusalem. This verse shows that faith and grace are keys to our inheriting.

Romans 4 makes much use of the example of Abraham. Hebrews 11 also includes him in the discourse on faith. By faith Abraham “eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (v. 10). This clearly points to New Jerusalem, the city which has foundations (Rev. 21:19).

Are we eagerly waiting for New Jerusalem? Or is our eagerness toward a human achievement, a human honor, greater income, a nicer home, or a special vacation? Lord, have mercy on us; align our eagerness with that of the faith people of Hebrews 11.

Romans 3:23-24 say, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Because we were sinners, we were separated from glory and couldn’t inherit anything of God, including New Jerusalem, the city full of the glory of God. But by grace we have been justified by the redemption accomplished by Christ Jesus through His death, which qualifies us to inherit.

Romans 3 and 4 strongly declare that works, human effort according to the law, is not the way to inherit from God. God’s way is by faith and by grace. Faith and grace carry us to New Jerusalem.

Neither faith nor grace originate with us. Peter says that God has allotted faith to us (2 Peter 1:1). Paul says the grace of God was given to us (1 Cor. 1:4). God’s eternal plan, expressed in His creation (Gen. 1:26), is to have a corporate man to express Him. For this, God wants us to be part of New Jerusalem, and to make this possible He has provided faith and grace. Thank Him!

Photo courtesy of US Forest Service.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (2)

Ephesians 1:3-14 presents our God and Father’s spiritual blessings to us. These blessings all point toward His glory which ultimately is manifested in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:5 speaks of, “Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” God predestinated us in eternity past according to His eternal purpose for His eternal consummation.

Our predestination is “unto sonship”—we become sons of God with His eternal life (John 6:47) and His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This life brings us partici-pation in the city of life, New Jerusalem, a composition of all God’s sons. This is the good pleasure of God’s will.

Ephesians 1:6 tells us that God’s blessings in verses 4 and 5 are, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved.” We benefit from all these blessings, but their goal is praise to God.

The praise is not directly to God but praise to the glory of His grace. Glory is God expressed. God’s desire is to express Himself through man. Thus He created man in His image (Gen. 1:26) so that man could be His vessel to contain Him for His expression. God’s desire is to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:23).

Grace is God in Christ enjoyed by man. The result of this enjoyment is visible. Barnabas came from Jerusalem to Antioch and “saw the grace of God” (Acts 11:23). What he saw is being multiplied in many believers in many cities to produce the ultimate expression of God’s grace in New Jerusalem. Grace, God enjoyed by all His people, is expressed in New Jerusalem’s glory (Rev. 21:11), resulting in eternal praise to the glory of His grace.

New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned

New JerusalemRevelation 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

What is the adorning of New Jerusalem? Let us ask the Bible, putting aside any natural ideas. The first use of adorn in the New Testament is Matthew 23:29, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build up the graves of the prophets and adorn the tombs of the righteous.” Any outward adornment without inner reality is hypocrisy; surely this is not New Jerusalem.

Next, Luke 21:5 says that “the temple…was adorned with beautiful stones and consecrated offerings.” In the following verse the Lord says this will be torn down; clearly this outward adorning was not precious to God.

Thirdly, 1 Timothy 2:9 instructs “that women adorn themselves in proper clothing with modesty and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing.” Again, adorning (both in this age and for New Jerusalem) is not something outward but rather inward virtues. First Peter 3:3 is the same.

Titus 2:9-10 exhorts “slaves to be subject to their own masters in all things, to be well pleasing, not contradicting, not pilfering, but showing all good faithfulness that they may adorn the teaching of our Savior God in all things.” This teaching, which is with grace (v. 11), should soak into our inner being to become our pleasantness and faithfulness and wash us from arguments and greed. This is an adorning for which the Lord looks. First Peter 3:5 is comparable.

These verses tell us that the adorning of New Jerusalem is inward, not outward. The next post will look more specifically at what constitutes the adorning of New Jerusalem.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Not a Physical Building

The church as the house of God and New Jerusalem as the city of God are both living entities, the building together of God’s people.

Referring to the Old Testament temple in Jerusalem, Acts 7:47 says, ” Solomon built Him a house.” However, this physical house was only a picture. Acts 7:48-50 continues, “Yet the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands, even as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feetNew Jerusalem. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has not My hand made all these things?'”

The phrase “the Most High does not dwell in that which is made by hands” is a most clear word that God’s house and eventually New Jerusalem will not be something physical. The spiritual and non-physical nature of God’s house and city is also shown in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

Acts 7:49-50 quotes from Isaiah 66:1-2. After the quoted words, Isaiah continues, “But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” God is looking to men, especially to men whose seek Him in spirit. It is with these men that God is building His spiritual house, as in Ephesians 2:22 and 1 Peter 2:5.

Today we should be “burning in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11) and “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). Our supply is “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:23). God’s spiritual house today is built with such humans through our cooperation with the Lord. This house will become the spiritual city, New Jerusalem.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

Endeavoring to Experience New Jerusalem

In July of this year I presented portions about New Jerusalem from the Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique. That issue focused on New Jerusalem. The Spring 2013 issue focused on the One New Man (Eph. 2:15, Col. 3:9-11). One article in the spring issue is The Consummation of the New Man: The New Jerusalem by David Yoon. This begins,

The progressive accomplishment of the divine economy in God’s move among humanity is revealed in four significant expressions used in Paul’s Epistles: the first man [created], the old man [fallen], the second man [Jesus Christ], and the new man [His Body] (1 Cor. 15:47; Eph. 4:22, 24).

The majority of this article looks in detail and with many Bible verses at “The Correspondence between the Characteristics of the New Man and the Features of the New Jerusalem.”

New JerusalemBoth the new man and the New Jerusalem are a composition of God’s sons, the product of God’s grace unto His glory, the expression of God’s glory, the expression of God’s righteousness and holiness, the means of God’s administration, a composition of the Jewish and Gentile believers, a corporate entity characterized by peace and oneness, and the masterpiece of God. If we see the correlation between the new man and the New Jerusalem, our stance toward the New Jerusalem will not be passive—one of merely waiting to go someday to a physical city. Instead, by the grace of God we will adopt an active attitude, endeavoring to experience the spiritual realities of the new man throughout our Christian life.

Such an attitude and pursuit on our part matches the closing of Peter’s second epistle. Here, speaking of the change from the old creation to the new (3:10-13), he says, “what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God.” Hence, we should live a holy life by living Christ as our holiness to hasten the judgment day of God. This day will bring in the new creation of which the center is New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © by Living Stream Ministry. 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. Fall 2012 Spring 2013

New Jerusalem: Praise, Glory, and Grace

The Fall 2012 issue of Affirmation & Critique* is on New Jerusalem. Here is a brief portion of the third article, The New Jerusalem: A Sign of the Consummation of the Operation of Grace as Allegorized in Galatians and Hebrews (by John Pester).

The economical operation of the Triune God is an operation of grace, and the consummation of this operation produces a coinhering expression of the Triune God in Christ in redeemed, transformed, and glorified humanity, which is manifested as a mutual dwelling place of God in spirit, a dwelling place that is to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph. 1:6; 2:22).

The believers’ participation in the economy of the grace of God is a continuing matter of faith (Heb. 10:38-39), and this continuing operation in the New Testament produces a consummation that is allegorized and signified as the New Jerusalem in Galatians, Hebrews, and Revelation (Gal. 4:22-26; Heb. 11:10; 12:22; Rev. 21—22).

New JerusalemGrace is God in Christ coming to us. John 1:14 and 17 tell us, “the Word became flesh…full of grace and reality” and “grace and reality came through Jesus Christ.” This grace is now with our human spirit (Galatians 6:18, Philippians 4:23) and our spirit is a “spirit of faith” (2 Corinthians 4:13).

Ephesians is a book on the building of the Body of Christ, which consummates in the New Jerusalem. For this, Ephesians says much about grace. Grace is to us (1:2), by this grace we are saved through faith (2:8), and grace was given to each one (4:7). We can speak grace to others for building up (4:29) and God will display the riches of His grace toward us in the coming ages (2:7).

All the grace given to us now is for our participation in God’s building work, a work which consummates in New Jerusalem “to the praise of the glory of His grace.”

* 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.

Photo courtesy of