Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)

We are growing and being perfected in our Christian life. Our maturity in life and our perfection (Matt. 5:48) match New Jerusalem. This is not merely human maturity and human perfection; rather, it is Christ growing in us, Christ formed in us (Gal. 4:19), Christ making home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Christ in us becomes our maturity and perfection.

In 1 John 2:5 His word is for our perfection: “whoever keeps His word, truly in this one the love of God has been perfected.” In John 14:23 the Lord Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.” On one hand we need the word for our perfecting in love. On the other hand we need love to keep the word. Growth in Christian life is often bidirectional like this, not a matter of a sequence of steps. Lord, keep me loving You and Your word.

#NewJerusalemGod’s love is perfect, but there is a need for it to be perfected in us. This perfection saves us from all other loves, as in 1 John 2:15. And this perfection prepares us for New Jerusalem.

In 1 John 4:12 we love one another because God’s love is in us. While we are loving, God abides in us. The result is that God’s love is perfected in us. This shows that the perfection is not our human doing but is our cooperation with God working in us. “His love is perfected in us!

Then in verses 16-17 God is love in us. We open ourselves to this love, and then we and God have a mutual abiding and His love is perfected in us. Again, it is God in Christ perfecting us by being formed in us. Our cooperation with God’s perfecting work in us is the preparation of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: No More Tribulation (2)

In the New Testament, tribulation refers to the persecution of the Lord’s people throughout this age (e.g. Matt. 24:9, Acts 14:22) and to the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19), the last three and a half years (Rev. 12:14) of this age, immediately prior to the Lord’s visible return.

#NewJerusalemGod, in His sovereignty, uses both aspects of tribulation to prepare His people for New Jerusalem. Here are more verses about this.

Acts 14:22, “Establishing the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” This was spoken by Paul and Barnabas in caring for relatively new believers. Tribulations would not be rare to them, but through these they were brought into the reality of the kingdom, which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

To participate in this entrance, we must continue in the faith. Some ways to do this are to read and say amen to God’s word, to sing about our Lord, and to praise Him. Also, since Romans 8:35 promises that neither tribulation nor other difficulties can separate us from the love of Christ, we can continue by declaring, Lord Jesus, I love You.

Revelation 1:9: “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” John partook of the endurance in Jesus to suffer tribulation for the word and the testimony. May we follow his example.

At that time John tells us that he was in the kingdom. This was the spiritual reality. Like the believers in Acts 14:22, John was still waiting for the entrance into the manifestation of the kingdom at the Lord’s return and the fullest experience of the kingdom in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Seek the Riches of Christ

New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s work through all the ages. For New Jerusalem God manifests “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering” (Rom. 2:4), “the riches of His glory” (multiple verses), “forgiveness according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), “the surpassing riches of His grace” (Eph. 2:7), “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8), and “the riches of the full assurance” (Col. 2:2).

New JerusalemAll of these riches continue into New Jerusalem and we should seek them, regardless of whether we are rich or poor humanly. Moses was this kind of seeker, considering “the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb. 11:26).

Monetary riches are deceitful (Mark 4:19) and hinder our entrance into the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-24), which ultimately is New Jerusalem. These physical riches are a root of evil (1 Tim. 6:10), full of uncertainty (1 Tim. 6:17), and can bring in many problems (James 5:1-3).

By grace, the churches in Macedonia were a strong contrast in their liberal giving to needy believers. “That in much proving of affliction the abundance of their joy and the depth of their poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2 Cor. 8:2).

Hebrews 13:5 exhorts us, “Let your way of life be without the love of money.” If we love human riches we will seek them and our heart will be on them (Matt. 6:19-21). But, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ we will seek Him and our heart will be set on heavenly matters.

May the Lord be merciful to us all. Whether we have human riches or scarcity, let us be those who seek the riches of Christ, who seek to gain Christ (Phil. 3:8), who seek the present reality of 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 at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo by Randy Roberts, courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

The New Jerusalem is the Real and Consummate Shulammite, a Corporate Shulammite

Here is another good post about New Jerusalem from Stefan’s blog, agodman.com. The name Shulammite (SS 6:13) in the subject is the feminine form of the name Solomon. The use of this name means that the lover of Christ—an individual in Song of Songs, the believers collectively in the New Testament—become a duplication of Solomon (Christ) to express Him in love. This is the Body of Christ today and New Jerusalem in eternity.

New Jerusalem

From the angle of the divine romance, the New Jerusalem is the real and consummate Shulammite – a corporate Shulammite, including all God’s chosen and redeemed people; the New Jerusalem is the consummation of the divine-human romance in the Bible.

God’s purpose, as seen in His creation of man, is to “get married” – He desires to gain a counterpart that would match Him and would be His wife. For this purpose God created man in His image and according to His likeness, and then God said, It is not good for man to be alone… – this actually speaks concerning Himself, It is not good for God to be alone.

In Himself, in His person and being, God is complete, perfect, and with no need; however, God in His economy has a plan to dispense Himself into His people and make them His counterpart, His bride, His wife, for the two of them (the processed and consummated Triune God and the redeemed, transformed, and glorified people of God) to live a marriage life for eternity.

Read all of New Jerusalem is the Real and Consummate Shulammite with graphics, references, and hymns.

ps: A God-man is a man in whom God in Christ dwells. In John 14:20 the Lord Jesus told us that after His resurrection we “will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Our being in Christ and Christ being in us is the reality of a God-man, but we are NOT part of the Godhead.

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 2 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The testimony of Jesus is the centrality of Revelation (19:10). Here are more characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ related to our progress to New Jerusalem (Rev. 2). Some of these characteristics are also in Revelation 1:13-20.

New JerusalemWe see the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of the seven lampstands (1:12-13), the seven churches (1:20) and caring for them in Revelation 2–3. His care is not limited to this age, because the lampstands today are the forerunner of the eternal lampstand, New Jerusalem.

Revelation 2:1 repeats the fact that the Lord is “He who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” His walking and speaking care for the churches. As our High Priest, His care brings us to Himself and ministers Himself to us. His goal is to be glorified in us when He returns (2 Thes. 1:10) and in New Jerusalem.

Our response to His care should be the best love for Him (2:4) so that our love governs our working for Him (2:2).

In 2:8 the Lord describes Himself as “the First and the Last, who became dead and lived again.” Nothing in our lives starts without Him and nothing ends apart from Him. Therefore, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you” (1 Peter 5:7). Lord, fulfill in us Your word in 2:10, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

In 2:12 He is the One “who has the sharp two-edged sword.” This sword is His living and operative word which is sharper than any physical sword and which can divide all the mixture in our being (Heb. 4:12). By the dividing, He can wash away all our blemishes to present us to Himself glorious (Eph. 5:26-27), causing us to match New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Brotherly Love for New Jerusalem

First Corinthians 2:9b speaks of “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” These “things” are not physical. Rather, they are “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart” (2:9a). These mysterious things planned by God consummate in New Jerusalem.

My prior post is The Mystery of God Revealed in Spirit to Those Who Love God. Less than two weeks ago I attended a Christian gathering focusing on our experience of Christ as seen in Revelation 1–3 and 21–22. This gathering presented a strong tie between loving the Lord and God’s ultimate mystery, New Jerusalem. Here is a highlight.

New JerusalemIn the seven epistles in Revelation 2–3, the first step of degradation was losing the first/best love to the Lord (2:4). This love is seen positively in the sixth epistle, to Philadelphia (3:7-13), a name which means “brotherly love.” This is the atmosphere the Lord desires—that we love Him supremely and, in our love for Him, love all our brothers.

In this atmosphere of love we find the preparation of New Jerusalem. This is shown by the only mention of New Jerusalem in Revelation 2–3. The Lord promises the overcomers, “I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” Such writing indicates that the overcomers in Philadelphia belong to, are one with, and are possessed by God, New Jerusalem, and the Lord.

The atmosphere of love matches the Lord’s word in Matthew 22:34-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” However, we should not try to fulfill this command in ourselves; instead, we apply 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.”

New Jerusalem comes forth in this atmosphere of love seen in Philadelphia; this is the best love becoming the bridal love for our Lord.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

The Angel Brings Us into New Jerusalem

Several posts in January looked at aspects of New Jerusalem portrayed in the early chapters of Exodus. Later, God promised “I am now sending an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared” (Exodus 23:20).

New JerusalemGod prepared and promised the good land to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 15:7, 26:3-4). Ultimately the place God has prepared and promised is New Jerusalem, our eternal good land. Thus, the Angel bringing Israel to their place is a picture of Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

The Angel in Exodus 23 is God in Christ, as shown in Exodus 3:2, 4 where the Angel appears and God speaks. This is also seen in John 10:7-11 where Jesus Christ is the sent “Angel” and the Father is speaking.

Exodus 23:20 says that the Angel will keep us. Then 23:21-22 commands us to “listen to His voice.” He will keep us but we need to cooperate by listening to Him. In John 14:23 Jesus tells us, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Then in verse 24 He tells us, “The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

The Father sent the Son and the Father speaks through the Son. They keep us on the way to New Jerusalem by making an abode with us. The primary “keeping” is not preserving us from outward problems but maintaining our fellowship with the Lord. The key is our loving the Lord. By loving Him, our living, our daily walk, is brought into Him and He becomes the essence of our daily living. This inward reality is our foretaste of the place, New Jerusalem, to which the Angel is bringing us.

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.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Love the Lord to see New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe Bible often uses figurative language, and these symbols, metaphors, parables, and allegories communicate the divine and mystical realities. New Jerusalem is the consummation of the Bible and is described in the Bible’s figurative language.

Revelation has the Lord’s description of New Jerusalem. We must look to Him to show us the deep significance of the figures which He uses. He might show us directly and He might show us through other Christians’ speaking or writing. In our seeking we must heed the Lord’s warning in Matthew 13:15 regarding why many could not comprehend the spiritual significance of His parables.

For the heart of this people has become fat, and with their ears they have heard heavily, and their eyes they have closed, lest they perceive with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and they turn around, and I will heal them.

That the people’s heart “has become fat” means their hearts were calloused, hardened, dull, insensitive. Regarding everything of the Lord, including New Jerusalem, we should never sink to this point.

What went wrong? A scribe asked, “Which is the first commandment of all? Jesus answered, The first is: ‘Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord; and
______you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart
and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.’ ” (Mark 12:28-30)

If we miss this first commandment, nothing will proceed properly. Their hearts were hardened because their hearts were loving something other than the Lord. Lord, keep me loving You every day. Lord, save me from having any love before You. I want to love You to the extent that I can see the reality of New Jerusalem now.

Photo by Keith Weller, courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

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