Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (3)

“He who has the Son has the life” (1 John 5:12). By believing, we received eternal life (John 3:15-16) and we have this life today. This is the life of the eternal city New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWe let this life abide, be active, move freely, in us (1 John 2:24-25). As this life abides, it grows, it increases in us.

A key contributor to this growth is the word of God. We long for the milk of the word to grow unto salvation (1 Peter 2:2-3). This is “the word of the truth of the gospel” which we heard (Col. 1:5) and which is now growing in us (1:6).

Although we have this life, we still need to cooperate, to turn from other attractions and “lay hold on the eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12). Instead of so much time with worldly pleasures or recreations, we should “lay hold on that which is really life” (6:19). This life is eternal and prepares us for New Jerusalem; all other things delay our preparation.

Galatians 6 also speaks this way. We must not be deceived; if we sow to the flesh we reap corruption, but if we sow unto the Spirit we will reap eternal life. Do not lose heart; we will reap (Gal. 6:7-9). The ultimate stage of our reaping is our participation in New Jerusalem.

Jude 21 also encourages us to be faithful, to cooperate with this life. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have received this life already, we “have the life” (1 John 5:12) yet there is a greater degree of life, a fuller experience of this life ahead of us. This we faithfully await, looking away unto the Lord’s second coming and then unto New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: Christ’s Growth in Us (3)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the enlargement of the house of the living God. This enlargement is God’s growth, His increase, in us (Col. 2:19). This growth is seen in Ephesians 3:14-19.

First we are strengthened into our inner man. Second, Christ makes His home in our hearts. Third, together we apprehend, we take hold of, the vastness of Christ and we know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ. Fourth, we are filled unto all the fullness of God. This is our journey toward New Jerusalem.

These four steps result in glory to God in the church (Eph. 3:21), God’s New Testament people. This will result in greater glory to God in New Jerusalem.

None of the four steps in Ephesians 3:16-19 are possible in ourselves. Likewise glory to God in the church and in New Jerusalem is not possible in ourselves. But, the glory in Ephesians 3:21 is “to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us” (v. 20)

We are not able, but God in Christ in us is able. What He will do is not merely a little beyond us, but “superabundantly above/immeasurably more than/exceeding abundantly above/infinitely more than* all that we ask or think.” This is possible because God in Christ is the power operating in us.

Our need is to cooperate, to give ourselves for the four steps in Ephesians 3:16-19, to ask the Lord to work all these matters in us. He is able, but He will not do it without our cooperation. Lord, make Your home in me, bring me on through all the steps in Ephesians 3. Gain the glory now and bring us onward to New Jerusalem.

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, is online; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

*Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com. _____Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Christ’s Growth in Us (2)

New Jerusalem is the enlargement of the house of the living God. This enlargement is God’s growth, His increase, in us (Col. 2:19). This growth is seen in Ephesians 3:14-19.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16-17 are a prayer for our Father to strengthen us so that Christ may make His home in our hearts. This home-making is in the realm of faith. Likewise, everything related to New Jerusalem is in the realm of faith, in the spiritual realm.

Ephesians 3:17-19 continues. As a result of Christ’s home-making, we “being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.”

The strength in verse 18 is not our human strength; it comes out of Christ making home in us. This strength is Christ living in us. This enables us to apprehend together the vastness of Christ, a vastness which will be manifested to the fullest in New Jerusalem. Then we can know the excellent love of Christ.

The conclusion of Ephesians 3:16-19 is that all the believers together are “filled unto all the fullness of God.” This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem. God desires to fill His corporate people with all that He is in Christ, so that all He is may be manifested through His people. Ultimately New Jerusalem will be our corporate manifestation of all that God is.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem: Christ’s Growth in Us

New Jerusalem is the enlargement of God’s present operation in His people. This enlargement is God’s growth, His increase, in us (Col. 2:19). This growth is seen in Ephesians 3:16-19.

In verse 14 Paul began a prayer. In verse 16-17 he asks that the Father strengthen us into New Jerusalemour inner man so that Christ can make His home in our hearts. This home-making is the growth of God in us, which ultimately is for New Jerusalem.

But, what does it mean for Christ to make home in our hearts? The first three verses of a hymn begin with these lines:
__Deeper, deeper, in the cross of Jesus
__Higher, higher, in the life of Jesus
__Growing, growing, in us He is growing

The fourth verse says:
__Living, living, Christ is all our living, He’s so practical:
__Small things, big things, anything and all things—He’s involved in all.
The fifth verse continues:
__Person, Person, Jesus is our Person, Living now in us.
__He’s our tastes, our attitudes and actions; Oh, how glorious!
The sixth verse includes His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

Certainly His growth in us is by our experience of His death and resurrection, as in the first three verses. Practically, this growth, Christ making home in our hearts, is “He’s our tastes, our attitudes and actions.” All our natural tastes, attitudes, preferences, opinions, desires, and likes and dislikes must be washed away and replaced by His tastes, His preferences, His likes and dislikes, etc. This is an aspect of our growth unto New Jerusalem.

We can pray with this hymn, As life in every way, Be our Person, Lord, each day.
Lord, grow in us toward New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, the Growth of God’s House

New Jerusalem

The church is the living house of the living God and is God manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16). New Jerusalem is the enlargement, the expansion of the church with God’s Old Testament people.

The prior post focused on Colossians 2:19—the church’s growth (increase) to New Jerusalem is by the growth (increase) of God—God in Christ spreading and increasing in us. In Colossians 2:16–3:4 this growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality of every positive thing, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind being set on things of Christ above, by being governed by Christ Himself rather than by outward ordinances, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

All of these contributors to growth characterize New Jerusalem. In New Jerusalem we will be full grown with Christ as the reality of everything, we will be fully occupied with the things of Christ, we will be governed by God and the Lamb on the throne, and He will be our life and our living.

Lord, keep us with Yourself every day that You may grow in us unto New Jerusalem!

New Jerusalem: God’s House Grown in Life

New JerusalemThe holy of holies is where God meets with us. The Old Testament holy of holies was a physical picture, with an enlargement from the tabernacle to the temple. The New Testament holy of holies is the reality, the dwelling place of the living God, which is being enlarged to New Jerusalem.

This enlargement is accomplished by Christ’s growth in us. Colossians 2:19 tells us that by our holding the Head, Christ, a rich supply from Him flows so that “all the Body grows with the growth of God.”

God in Himself is perfect, complete; He does not grow. But in us He needs to grow, to spread, to occupy more of our inner being.

A note* on grows in this verse says, “Growing is a matter of life, which is God Himself. As the Body of Christ, the church should not be deprived of Christ, who is the embodiment of God as the source of life. By holding Christ, the church grows with the growth of God, with the increase of God as life.” Part of the note* on growth says, “the growth of the Body depends on the growth of God, the increase of God’s element, in the Body.”

Today the church is the living house of the living God. In the future New Jerusalem will be the living city of the living God. The growth of God in all His people is the increase of His house from the church today to New Jerusalem.

The key to this growth is our holding to Christ as our Head, as our life, and as the reality of all the Old Testament types and pictures (Col. 2:16-17). The more Christ our life increases in us, the closer we are to the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* Notes (online) in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

God Grows in Us unto New Jerusalem

The prior post is about God dispensing Himself into us for New Jerusalem. Here “dispense” means to supply or impart into. When we believe, Jesus Christ enters into us; since He is God, His entering is God’s dispensing into us.

The New Jerusalem is the enlarged God (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:2-3; 21:10-11)….God is infinite and immutable, and thus He can neither increase nor decrease; He in Himself cannot become larger. Nevertheless, the expression the enlarged God is used because it is solidly based upon utterances found in God’s Word, such as, “He must increase” (John 3:30), and “grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19). Thus, although God in Himself does not increase or enlarge, once God in Christ enters into us, spontaneously there is the opportunity, need, and necessity for God to enlarge in us. This enlargement of God in us results in an expression of God in us, and this expression is the enlargement of God, the expression of the God who has been growing and increasing in us for His manifestation.*

New JerusalemGod being dispensed into us and God growing in us are not common expressions but they fit the revelation of the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 Paul mentions planting and watering but says that only God can give the growth. Why? Because God is the “element” which grows in the believers; only God can provide the growth of Himself.

Likewise, “all the Body…grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19). This growth comes from the rich supply flowing out from Christ the Head. Whether you use “growth” or “increase”, it refers to the expanding of God in us.

Christ in us will grow to full stature; that is, to a full expression of Himself in His Body. Eternally, this growth consummates in New Jerusalem. Even in New Jerusalem, God continues to dispense Himself to all His people by the river of life, the Spirit, flowing out of the throne (Rev. 22:1).

* 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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Grow into Christ for His Building

In Ephesians 2:21-22 all the building is growing and all the believers are being built together into a dwelling of God. In Ephesians 4:15-16 we are growing up into Christ and out from Him comes a rich supply that causes our growth for building up His Body.

For everyone who has received the redemption and regeneration in Jesus Christ:
Our life is Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:4) who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).
We begin this life as babies who need milk to grow (1 Peter 2:2).
• We should not remain as fleshly men who are infants in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1-4).
Growth is the development of life, the increase of Jesus Christ in us (verses below).
Paul labored diligently for believers to grow to maturity (Colossians 1:28-29).

New JerusalemGalatians 4:19: “My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you.” Christ was already in the Galatian believers but He was not formed in them. Hence they were distracted by outward observances and different teachings.

Ephesians 3:16-17a “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.” Christ was already in the Ephesian believers but they needed to be strengthened so that Christ could occupy every part of their hearts.

Colossians 2:19 “holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.” In Himself God is perfect and does not grow. But in us God needs to grow, to spread, to fill our being, to save us from natural living so that we can testify “to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21a).

Our growth today is for building Christ’s Body and  God’s dwelling. The consummation of our growth is New Jerusalem. May we learn to pray simply with these verses. We can pray something like, Lord, grow in me today and make more of Your home in my heart.

We could also sing:
_Into my heart, into my heart,
___Spread into my heart, Lord Jesus;
_Make home today and have Your way
___In all of my heart, Lord Jesus.

Next:

My next posts will be Friday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Jan. 3.
Monday, Jan. 6, I will resume three posts per week.

The Rich Supply for Our Building Up

New JerusalemEphesians 4:16 tells us that a rich supply from the Head, Christ, coupled with His operation in every Christian, causes the growth of His Body unto the building up of itself in love.

What is this rich supply? In Ephesians 4:16 and Colossians 2:19 this supply is what flows out from the Head, Christ. In Philippians 1:19 it is the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. In Galatians 3:5 the supply is the Spirit.

These verses show that the rich supply is the Triune God coming to us as all we need for our Christian life and for the building up of the Body of Christ. The Triune God comes to us as life, light, love, righteousness, joy, peace, meekness, humility, endurance, and more.

This rich supply causes our growth, which is the building up of the Body of Christ and of God’s house (see prior posts on Ephesians 2:19-22 and 4:15-16). In eternity there will be no further building work. The living Body of Christ and God’s living house will be mature and will become the living, eternal city, New Jerusalem.

In eternity everything will be complete and perfect. Nevertheless, there will still be the rich supply from the Triune God to maintain the freshness and vitality of the city. This rich supply of life is the Spirit, portrayed as the river of water of life, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Revelation 22:1-2).

Related posts:
The Triune God in New Jerusalem
The Triune God Flowing to Us

Photo of Ring Nebula by NASA & Hubble Heritage Team.

Holding Christ, We Grow unto Building Up

We are in a series of posts on God’s New Testament building. The Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation all declare that this building is spiritual, not material. The Triune God, and the Triune God in all who believe in Jesus Christ, are the builder and building materials. Ephesians 4:15-16 say:

Holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.

New Jerusalem“Holding to truth” is not merely holding to correct teaching. Much more, it is holding to the Person who declared “I am the truth” (John 14:6). By this holding we grow up into Him. Then, from Him there is an outflow to His whole Body.

By the riches of the life that flow out of Christ, we are joined together and knit together. “Being joined” and “being knit” indicate that this is an ongoing process as part of the building of the Body of Christ.

The outflow from Christ the Head needs some who are “joints of the rich supply” as well as “each one part” (each member of the Body). The result is “the growth of the Body unto the building up.”

Truth, love, growth into Christ, Christ the Head, the rich supply, and the operation in the measure of each one all show that the Body of Christ is a living building which grows. The completion of this growing, building process will usher in New Jerusalem, God’s eternal living building.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Growth and Building Today Produce the Wall

Revelation 21:15, 17-18a declare, “And he who spoke with me had a golden reed as a measure….And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. And the building work of its wall was jasper.” In the description of New Jerusalem, “building work” is mentioned only in regard to the wall. This ties the wall to the building work that is progressing in this age. Many prior posts have touched Christ as our life today for this building work, the building up of His Body, which is the building up of the house of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15).

Here are a few verses on life and building:
• 1 Corinthians 3:9, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s cultivated land, God’s building.
• Ephesians 4:16, “…all the Body…causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”
• 1 Peter 2:5, “We ourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house…”

Our growth in the eternal life is the increase of Christ in us (Colossians 2:19). This growth is the building up of His Body. The growth and building belong to all New Testament believers, for we have all received Christ as our life, and follows the examples of the apostles and benefits from their perfecting work (Ephesians 4:11-12). What we experience today continues into eternity as the building up of the wall of New Jerusalem.

A Mingled Growth

Jesus said, “I am the life” (John 14:6). He is the life both in this age and in New Jerusalem. The life portrayed by the tree of life and by the river of water of life is Christ. Now in resurrection Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4) and we should grow in this life.

A prior post spoke about our growing “with the growth of God.” We might ask, is growth the Lord’s growing in us or is it our growth? The answer is both. As believers we are one with the Lord. His growth in us is our growth in Him. This mingled growth is seen in the parable of the sower. Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8 present this parable and our Lord’s unveiling of the mystery hidden in it. Luke 8:11 tells us, “The seed is the word of God” and Mark 4:14 says, “The sower sows the word.”

In 1 Peter 1:23 we see regeneration by “the living and abiding word of God.” In Matthew 13:1–23 we see growth. Verse 8 tells us that some seeds “fell on the good earth and yielded fruit, one a hundredfold, and one sixtyfold, and one thirtyfold.” Verse 23, speaking about the sowing on the good earth, says, “this is he who hears the word and understands, who by all means bears fruit and produces, one a hundredfold, and one sixtyfold, and one thirtyfold.” In verse 8 the development of life that yields fruit is ascribed to the seed and in verse 23 it is ascribed to the person who receives the seed. This shows that the seed, the word of God, and its receiver have been united. This mingled life with its mingled growth will bring us to New Jerusalem.

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