Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (2)

While the eternal life grows in us and perfects us for New Jerusalem, we also have outward sufferings.

Second Corinthians 4:17 tells us that “our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory.” Our afflictions remind us how much we need the Lord. Sufferings remind us that “should not base our confidence on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” The afflictions push us to the Lord, and as He spreads within us, the “eternal weight of glory,” a strong characteristic of New Jerusalem, is developing within us.

With this eternal and glorious view, our attitude about sufferings matches 2 Corinthians 4. “We do not regard the things which are seen but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (v. 18). Lord, turn our eyes and thoughts from what is seen to what is unseen!

New JerusalemRomans 5:2 says that we “boast because of the hope of the glory of God.” This hope is not our determination but is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). This includes the Lord’s visible return as “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10) and culminates in the glory of New Jerusalem.

Romans 5:3 continues “we also boast in our tribulations.” The basis for this boast is a development through a series of steps involving hope, love, and a “much more” salvation in the Lord’s wonderful life
(v. 3-11). This view matches what is in 2 Corinthians 4.

We cannot endure the sufferings/afflictions/tribulations on our own. But Christ is in us! He endured the cross, despising the shame. He is very real, although presently unseen physically. He is our hope of glory, and He will be our glory in the coming age and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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.

Great is the Mystery: God in Christ in Us

New JerusalemThe mystery proclaimed by the apostles includes New Jerusalem. Colossians 2:2 tells us that the mystery of God is Christ. The mystery of God is God embodied in Christ to become a God-man who lived among men, died to redeem all men, and rose to impart eternal life into His believers.

However, the mystery of God is not only Christ Himself, but also Christ in us, as in Colossians 1:27, “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This Christ is our hope of glory, the glory that will be fully manifested in New Jerusalem.

God made this mystery known to Paul (Eph. 3:3) because God’s good pleasure is that we all see and enter into this mystery (Eph. 1:9). Therefore, Paul’s ministry was “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God” (Eph. 3:9).

First Timothy 3:15 says, “great is the mystery of godliness.” This is God incarnated in Christ. It is also Christ entering into us to be our life, to be manifested through us now and much more in eternity.

Ephesians 3:4 and Colossians 4:3 speak of the mystery of Christ. And Ephesians 5, presenting husband and wife as a portrait of Christ and the church, says, “This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church” (v. 32).

The mystery of God is Christ, God manifested in flesh. It is also Christ in us, people who were merely flesh until we believed into Him and received His eternal life. This life produces the mystery of Christ, all His believers as members of His one Body. So, God in Christ in the believers to form His mystical Body is the great mystery. Eventually His Body consummates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Nations around New Jerusalem (3)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the mutual indwelling of the Triune God and His people. Around New Jerusalem on the new earth are the peoples (Rev. 21:3), the nations (Rev. 21:24). Two posts have presented differences between the people who are New Jerusalem and the peoples who are around New Jerusalem ( ).

The most striking distinction is the oneness of all who are in Christ and the plurality of the peoples, the nations.

The nations around New Jerusalem walk by the light of the city (Rev. 21:24). This is a blessing but it is not as high as that of the believers in Jesus Christ, who are the constituents of New Jerusalem and have Jesus Christ within as their light of life (John 1:4, 8:12).

The nations and their kings will bring their glory into New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24, 26). This glory is no doubt very positive since everything on the new earth is wonderful. However, this glory is not as rich nor as outstanding as the glory of Christ in His people. This glory came as “the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4), through which we obtained “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14), which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), and will be consummated when “He comes to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thes. 1:10).

Christ as glory in us becomes the glory of New Jerusalem. This glory shines through and out of the city. Because of this shining “the nations will walk by its [New Jerusalem’s] light” (Rev. 21:24).

New Jerusalem: the Glory to be Revealed

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Bible. It is the high point of everything God has done through the ages, especially what the Spirit has wrought within redeemed humanity. This is why we need to be in spirit and on a high mountain to see New Jerusalem.

When John saw New Jerusalem, he was both in spirit and also carried away onto a great and high mountain [Rev. 21:9-10]….New JerusalemWe need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see God’s dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. In order for John to see the churches, it was sufficient to be on the island of Patmos [Rev. 1:9-12]. But the New Jerusalem is vastly higher than the churches, and in order to see it, John had to be carried to a high mountain. The New Jerusalem is a mountain city, and we must be on a mountain in order to see it. We need to be in the spirit and to get to a high mountain. This is the way to see the vision of the New Jerusalem.*

New Jerusalem is God’s eternal goal. It is also the eternal goal of every one of God’s people. Would you like to know where you are going? In spirit and on a high mountain, we can see the goal.

Remember Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.” And 1 Peter 4:13, “inasmuch as you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice exultingly.”

The present sufferings seem large when we focus on them. But we should look at the coming glory of New Jerusalem and rejoice!

*from Life-Study of Revelation by Witness Lee, © LSM, online reading (chap. 59, sec. 2)

The Merciful and Faithful High Priest  Brings Us Forward to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of all God’s work and the eternal outcome of His mercy toward us.

God’s New Testament mercy began with the sending of John the Baptist, followed by the appearing of Jesus Christ. He became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17)

New JerusalemHebrews 2:5-18 speaks first of the prophecy in Psalm 8 and then about the fulfillment in His becoming such a High Priest. In this fulfillment He destroyed the devil and released us from death. God also subjected all things under His feet. We do not yet see this subjection but we do see Jesus, who was crucified and passed through death, crowned with glory and honor.

Furthermore, Hebrews 2 tells us that as our High Priest, He imparted Himself as life into us to make us individually His brothers and corporately His church. He also sings hymns of praise in our midst to the Father, who is leading many sons into glory. It is very likely that such singing will continue into the next age and into New Jerusalem.

This passage about our High Priest also tells us that God is “leading many sons into glory.” The merciful care for us opened the door for God’s leading us into glory, which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Boast, Rejoice, in Hope of the Glory of God

We had four posts on Christ in us as our hope of glory and on New Jerusalem, the city of glory, as the consummation of our hope. Colossians 1:27 and Revelation 21:10, 11 declare:

Christ in you, the hope of glory

the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God

As a conclusion to the prior posts (one, two, three, four), here are more verses about hope that stood out to me; some were in prior posts, some not. Appreciate:

New Jerusalem God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13)
Christ Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
we were regenerated unto a living hope (1 Peter 1:3)
the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5)
hope is laid up for us in the heavens (Colossians 1:5)
the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23)
the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
God loves us and gave us good hope (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
a blessed hope (Titus 2:13)
the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7)

Reading these verses, saying amen to them, and thanking God for them brings us into Romans 15:4, “through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

We can also apply Romans 5:2 and 12:12—we “boast because of the hope of the glory of God” and we “rejoice in hope.” Don’t boast or rejoice in your accomplishments or circumstances; they will change. Rather, boast and rejoice that the glory of the unchanging God will be manifested in us and in New Jerusalem.

Photo by Frank Balthis, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Glory, Glory, Christ is Life in Me! 
 


 
 
 


 
 
 


 
 
 


 
Glory, Glory, What a Hope is He!

New Jerusalem is a city of glory (Revelation 21:10-11) and Christ in us is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Our hope is not things or happenings. Our hope is Christ Himself. Everything of God is in Him. Whatever we hope for based on the Scriptures will be realized in Jesus Christ. First Timothy 1:1 includes the phrase “Christ Jesus our hope.”

Christ Himself is our hope of glory. “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). When Christ our life matures in us, He will be the glory in us, our glorification (Romans 8:30). In Romans 5:1-2 it is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we “boast because of the hope of the glory of God.”

New JerusalemThe essence of these verses is captured in a hymn by Witness Lee (words music):
___Myst’ry hid from ages now revealed to me,
_____Tis the Christ of God’s reality.
___He embodies God, and He is life to me,
_____And the glory of my hope He’ll be.
Chorus
___Glory, glory, Christ is life in me!
_____Glory, glory, what a hope is He!
___Now within my spirit He’s the mystery!
_____Then the glory He will be to me.

God in Jesus Christ will be the glory to and in all of us, and God in Jesus Christ will be the glory illuminating New Jerusalem.

Christ in us is our Hope of Glory

New Jerusalem is a city of glory (Revelation 21:10-11) and Christ in us is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). He in us will develop into the glory to be displayed through New Jerusalem. Praise God for His plan and His outworking of His plan.

Christ in you, the hope of glory

New JerusalemOur faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21), not in ourselves nor on circum-stances nor on human culture. This hope is in God, from God, and with God in Christ Jesus as the reality of our hope.

In Hebrews Christ’s heavenly priesthood is the source of a better hope (7:19) and Hebrews charges us to:
lay hold of the hope set before us (6:18),
hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end (3:6),
hold fast the confession of our hope unwavering, for He who has promised is faithful (10:23).

Following the charge in 3:6 to hold fast is a section (3:7–4:13) on believing the word of God, not hardening our hearts to what He speaks. This is the key to holding fast to our hope. We say “amen” to God’s word, even if it does not seem to fit our situation. (Which is distorted – God’s word or our view of things?)

We can hold the word by simple prayers like, Lord, I receive Your word. Or, Lord, I stand on Your word. Or, Lord, cause Your word to operate in me. Or, Lord, thank You for Your living word.

Holding fast to the Lord’s word is also in 1 Corinthians 15:2, “you are being saved, if you hold fast the word which I announced to you as the gospel.” We can hold fast “firm to the end” of this age when the Lord returns visibly and “firm to the end” of the old creation after which New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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