Christ Loves the Church & New Jerusalem, 3

This is the next verse of a song about Christ’s love for the church as His wife. This love extends to New Jerusalem, His eternal wife.

New JerusalemIt begins with mercy and love. Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of our fallen condition but 2:4 declares the contrast, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Through mercy and love, God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together with Him.

Ephesians 2:7 tells us that God’s desire is that “He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” The ability to produce this display out of our fallen condition manifests God’s unsurpassed wisdom and is through His grace, both mentioned in the verse and the song.

Certainly we can sense the love of God and must thank Him for this love, yet we are limited. We should expect, as in the song, that the fulness of this love is only comprehended by God.

This verse of the song ends with Christ laying down His life as a fragrant offering. The Lord spoke of this in John 10:11, “the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” And Ephesians 5:25 tells us, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

The fragrance at the end is clearly typified by the fragrance of the offerings in Leviticus and implied by the Father’s word “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight” (Matt. 3:17).

God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth (5)

God created the earth and placed man on it for His purpose. However, man fell and was captured by Satan’s system, the world. This problem has become an opportunity for God to demonstrate His unlimited wisdom (Eph. 3:8-11). This demonstration involves many actions, including Jesus Christ dying to redeem us, save us from the world, and give us eternal life. The goal of all of these actions is New Jerusalem, the consummation of everything positive in the Bible.

Today we have eternal life in us so that we may cooperate with God to manifest His wisdom through the church on the way to New Jerusalem. Yet, although we are not “of the world” the world still tries to attract us. James warns us, “Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever determines to be a friend of the world is constituted an enemy of God” (4:4).

New JerusalemThat is serious, but we should not try to avoid the world by our own effort! Peter tells us that God “has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world by lust” (2 P. 1:4).

It is by the rich supply in God’s word that we escape the attraction of the world. We need our physical Bibles but must also realize that “the word of God is living and operative” (Heb. 4:12). In coming to the Bible, we open to the Lord so that He may be life to us and operate in us as we read and muse on the written word*. This saves us from the attraction of the world.

To be saved from the world is for God’s purpose but the real purpose is that we partake of the divine nature to have it expressed through us on the earth in the church and on the new earth in New Jerusalem.

* For more, click on Pray-Reading the Word.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (3)

God’s spiritual blessings to us in Ephesians 1:3-14 are unto the praise of His glory, both in this age and eternally with New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom [the Beloved, v. 6] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.” Because all men were constituted sinners, Jesus Christ died, shedding His blood to accomplish redemption. When we respond by faith we receive forgiveness. “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). With the shedding of Jesus’ blood, there is forgiveness.

New JerusalemEverything of God’s plan is in Christ. We are blessed “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), chosen “in Him” (v. 4), “in whom” we have redemption (v. 7); we are being headed up “in Christ” (v. 10) “in whom” we were designated as God’s inheritance (v. 11), and “in whom” we were sealed (v. 13). All of these “in” facts are consistent with New Jerusalem in the Triune God.

The redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness we receive, is not according to our need. Rather, it is “according to the riches of His grace.” The measure of redemption and forgiveness is God’s measure, because this step was taken as part of the fulfillment of His eternal plan to bring forth New Jerusalem.

God caused His grace “to abound to us in all wisdom and prudence” (Eph. 1:8). Everything happens within the scope of God’s wisdom and everything works together toward His goal.

Ephesians 1:9 continues, “Making known to us the mystery of His will.” While God’s grace is abounding to us, He is making known the mystery of His will. This mystery was hidden in prior ages but now God willed to reveal it to us through His word; the riches of this mystery is Christ in us! (Col. 1:25-27).

New Jerusalem is the conclusion of all the spiritual blessings, the essence which are Christ is us and us in Christ.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

The consummation of the Bible is the new heavens and new earth with New Jerusalem as their center (Revelation 21:1-2). Recent posts showed how much God’s mercy is involved in bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

One of the recent posts included a few lines from a song. I will now share the whole song (spread over several posts) and comment on it. Here are words and music.

New Jerusalem1_God eternal has a purpose,
____Formed in His eternal past,
__Spreading to eternal future;
____’Twixt these ends all time is cast.
__For with time there is the process,
____Time for His accomplishment;
__And in time we’re merely travelers—
____For eternity we’re meant.

God’s purpose has been in Him from eternity. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. His purpose does take care of the problems in the universe but His purpose is not a reaction to these problems.

Here are some verses which speak about God’s purpose from eternity (before time).
• We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom which has been hidden, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
• 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. (Ephesians 3:9)

The universe was created for the carrying out of God’s purpose, His plan, according to His heart’s desire. We were created for this purpose, which means we were created for New Jerusalem. Even before creation, God took some actions in regard to us.
• God, 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. (2 Timothy 1:8b-9)
• Eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages. (Titus 1:2)

God’s purpose, God’s grace, and God’s eternal life were given and promised before time began. They operate in time to bring us to New Jerusalem, where we will be after time is finished. As the song says, “For with time there is the process” and “For eternity we’re meant.”

We are in the process of growing in eternal life in time and we are traveling to New Jerusalem in eternity.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

God’s Eternal Goal is New Jerusalem

Romans 11 speaks of God’s work among the Jews and among the non-Jews. All of this work is unto His eternal goal, the New Jerusalem.

Mercy is intimately involved in God’s work through the ages. Romans 11:30-32 says,

For just as you [believers not of the Jews] once disobeyed God, but now have been shown mercy because of their [the Jews] disobedience, so these also now have disobeyed, so that because of the mercy shown to you they also now may be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.

New JerusalemGod wants to show mercy to all. He will do it in His way and in His time. Nevertheless, we should cooperate. We should cry out to Him for mercy. We should also come forward to the throne of grace to receive mercy.

We should praise God. We do not understand all His working and cannot comprehend why He does things a certain way, but we should recognize that He is infinitely wise and knows the best way to accomplish everything. Romans 11:33-36 proclaims, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!…To Him be the glory forever.”

Finally, in the words of Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.” We are objects of His mercy! Let us glorify Him now and unto New Jerusalem.

Photo by Bruce Fritz, courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

New Jerusalem Displays the Wisdom of God

Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) and He is God’s wisdom imparted to us (1:30). In His resurrection He as wisdom is manifested through His believers, displayed through the church, and eventually exhibited through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 1:30 says that of God we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God.” This wisdom is not for human activities; rather it is “righteousness and sancti-fication and redemption.” God’s wisdom is Christ our righteousness, Christ our Sanctifier, and Christ as our Redeemer.

In Jesus Christ we have the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). This grace abounds to us through God’s wisdom and prudence (1:8) not for human affairs but for carrying out God’s will according to God’s good pleasure and purpose (1:9). God’s purpose, God’s good pleasure, God’s will, culminates in exhibiting His wisdom through New Jerusalem as the center of the new creation.

Christ as wisdom is spoken by the apostles (1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Peter 3:15) as an expression of the Christ who lives in them. The speaking of the apostles brings forth the church, the Body of Christ. As members of the Body, when we “let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom,” this indwelling wisdom is manifested in our interactions with one another and in our singing with grace to God (Colossians 3:16). We can also “walk in wisdom” (Colossians 4:5).

As we all live out Christ as our wisdom, “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” (Ephesians 3:10). The Greek adjective translated “multifarious” occurs only here in the New Testament. Marvin Vincent says, through the Church God’s wisdom in its infinite variety is to be displayed.* This display is now because it is through the church.

Ultimately the display of God’s multifarious, infinite wisdom through the church will become a display through New Jerusalem.

*Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, reprinted by Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1946 (originally published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887).

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

%d bloggers like this: