Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (6)

Being perfected and growing to maturity are two closely related aspects of our Christian life. When we become mature and are perfected, we match New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemIn 1 Corinthians 3:1-3  Paul expresses concern about the Corinthians remaining “infants in Christ.” He desired that they grow. Likewise, Hebrews 5:12 expresses concern (sadness?) that the believers were spiritually young children. Then 6:1 urges, “let us be brought on to maturity.” Let us grow until we match New Jerusalem.

Likewise, the desire in Ephesians 4:14-15 is that “we may be no longer little children” but that “we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ.” We grow up into Christ. This implies that we grow out of our self, out of our culture, and out of everything natural. We grow out of the old creation to match New Jerusalem in the new creation.

In Colossians 1:27 Christ is in us as our hope of glory, our hope of participating in the glory of New Jerusalem. In 1:28 Paul tells us that his announcing of the indwelling Christ has the goal to “present every man full-grown in Christ.” Sooner or later every believer will be full grown in Christ and will share in New Jerusalem.

This growth is not anything outward. Spiritual growth is not measured by physical years as a Christian, not measured by quantity of activities, not measured by knowledge or eloquence. Rather, as members of the Body of Christ, we “grow with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19).

God, in Himself, is perfect; He does not grow. But in us God needs more room, more flexibility, to grow, to spread, especially in our thinking, our emotions, and our decisions. Lord, increase in these aspects of my being!

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

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.* 

We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem

In the New Testament there are several dozen verses which include Greek words translated complete/completion, perfect/perfection, or mature/maturity/full grown. These words all point toward New Jerusalem because every believer will mature in their Christian life to participate in this wonderful/complete/perfect city.

#NewJerusalemThe perfection of New Jerusalem is shown by the multiple “twelves” in its description.
See: Numbers in the Bible
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection (2)

This post begins a look at some verses containing these words, including their relationship to New Jerusalem.

Matthew 5:48 is a good beginning, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Our Christian perfection comes not from ourselves but from the Father’s life within us. His life is perfect and when it matures in us, we will be perfect.

Our Christian life begins with our new birth, as in John 3:5-6 and 1 Peter 1:23. A birth is the beginning. Now we need to grow for a considerable period of time. The beginning of this growth is by the milk of God’s word, just as newborn babies drink milk to grow (1 Peter 2:2-3). But New Jerusalem is not a city of babies; it is mature and complete.

We should heed the words in Hebrews: “everyone who partakes of milk is inexperienced in the word of righteousness, for he is an infant; but solid food is for the full-grown” (5:13-14). This requires spiritual exercise (5:14). So, “let us be brought on to maturity” (6:1). Lord, I am willing; bring me and my Christian companions on to maturity. Give us solid food so that we can grow!

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

New Jerusalem Proclaims the Excellencies of God

New Jerusalem First Peter 2:9 says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Other translations* of “tell out the virtues” include “proclaim/ declare/show forth/make known the excellence/excellencies/praises.”

This telling out/proclaiming/declaring begins now and will be magnified in New Jerusalem. The initial step is regeneration by the incorruptible seed of the word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

The next step is the guileless milk of the word for our growth and our tasting the goodness of the Lord (1 Peter 2:2-3). Then we continually come to the Lord, the living Stone, to be built together into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house is also a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God.

All of these steps are related to New Jerusalem. Regeneration is our entrance. Although we will be full grown in New Jerusalem and not need the milk for newborn babes, eternally we will have the river of life and tree of life to sustain and satisfy us (Rev. 22:1-2). Our being built together also points toward New Jerusalem, which is a spiritual building.

The holy priesthood of 1 Peter 2:5 and the royal priesthood of 2:9 will continue in New Jerusalem. God’s “slaves will serve Him” (Rev. 22:3). The Greek word translated serve means serve as priests. And we “will reign forever and ever” (22:5).

Based on our regeneration, growth, being built together, and serving in the priesthood, we proclaim the excellencies of our God. The proclaiming begins now and amplifies with our growth, building, and serving unto the fullness of New Jerusalem.

* Thanks to biblehub.com.

New Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb

New JerusalemRevelation 19:7: “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb.”
Revelation 21:2: “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

The marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His wife, New Jerusalem, is the conclusion of the Bible.

The New Jerusalem as the counterpart, the bride, of the redeeming God is a fulfillment of a cluster of types in the Scriptures. In typology, certain women in the Old Testament reveal that the church is the counterpart of Christ (Gen. 24:67; 41:45; Ruth 4:13; 1 Sam. 25:40-42). According to type, the position of the church before God is that of a counterpart; in the entire Bible God likens Himself to a man, and He likens the totality of His created and redeemed people to a woman as His counterpart (Isa. 54:5; John 3:29; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9-10). As the Body of Christ, the church receives life from Him for His expression; as the counterpart of Christ, the church receives His love for the satisfaction of His heart’s desire (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:30; John 3:15-16, 29).*

Our receiving eternal life (John 3:15-16) is so that we can match Christ and become His bride, His increase (3:29-30).

Our receiving of eternal life is our being born again (3:3, 5-6). Now we need to grow in this life (1 Peter 2:2-3, Eph. 4:15) by being nourished with the milk of the word (1 Cor. 3:2). This nourishment causes the increase of Christ in us (Col. 2:19) so that we are no longer “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). This growth is our path to New Jerusalem.

Let us not remain infants and let us not merely seek Bible knowledge. Lord, nourish me and cause me to grow in You unto New Jerusalem.

* 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.

We Are Built up into a Holy Priesthood

Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:9-10 tell us that the redemption of Jesus Christ has made us a kingdom of priests, a kingdom which will consummate in New Jerusalem. This is our position, our status. First Peter 2:4-5 speaks of our reality, our experience:

Coming to Him…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

New JerusalemBy redemption we have the position of the priesthood but we still need to come to the Lord regularly for the process of “being built up into a holy priesthood.” By this building process we grow into the reality of functioning as the priesthood.

An illustration of these two steps is a young man who joins the army. When he takes an oath he gains a position in the army. Yet he still needs much training to become a member of the army in reality and to learn how to participate in the life of the army.

Some steps in 1 Peter which precede or support our “being built up into a holy priesthood.”
• We received the Lord’s redemption (1:18-19);
• We were regenerated by the living and abiding word of God (1:23);
• As newborn babes we drink the milk of the word that we may grow (2:2);
• We obey the Lord so that He may fill us with brotherly love (1:22);
• We put away negative things of the old creation (2:1);
• We come to the Lord together with others (2:4-5).

Lord, grant us more experiences of these steps so that we can be built together into Your priesthood. Lord, build us toward New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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.

God Has Prepared, We are Experiencing (2)

New JerusalemHebrews 11:16, speaking of Abraham and his descendants looking toward New Jerusalem, says God “has prepared a city for them.” If God has already prepared the city, why don’t we have any realization of it?

The answer has two parts. One is that God’s view is eternal (prior post), outside of our temporal limitations. The other is that we are gradually growing into what He has done. New Jerusalem has not yet been manifested, but we can grow into some realization of it now.

In regeneration we received the divine life and became children of God. Now we need to grow. As we grow we realize and experience more of what God has prepared and provided for us. Here are some paths for our growth:

• First Peter 2:2 tells us to “long for/desire the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation.” Longing/desiring indicate we should not be passive.
• Hebrews 5 and 1 Corinthians 3 also couple milk and solid food with spiritual growth.
• Colossians 1:5-10 speaks of the word of the truth of the gospel which causes us to know the grace of God in truth. This, coupled with prayer that we “may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”, results in our walking worthily, bearing fruit, and growing.

The main lesson here is that we have to come, with prayer, to the Bible for nourishment, not merely for knowledge. We should pray for increased spiritual hunger and increased spiritual thirst. Pray this chorus:
__Feed me, Lord Jesus, give me to drink,
____Fill all my hunger, quench all my thirst;
__Flood me with joy, be the strength of my life,
____Fill all my hunger, quench all my thirst.
Even better, pray all the words of this hymn (words, music).

Our spiritual eating and drinking will bring forth spiritual growth including an increased realization and appreciation of New Jerusalem.

Experience the Light of Life (2)

New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:23 says about New Jerusalem, “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

The glory of God as the light and the Lamb as the lamp signify that God in Christ is the light of the New Jerusalem in eternity. In the new city there is no need of the sun, the natural light, or any man-made lamp because God Himself will be the light, and Christ will be the lamp, shining out God to enlighten the entire city. This means that God in Christ is everything in the New Jerusalem. In the presence of the greatest light, all the lesser lights count for nothing. Outside the New Jerusalem there will still be day and night, but inside there will be no night (21:25).*

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). God is in Jesus Christ who is our light of life (John 8:12) today. Thus, inwardly we can experience the light of New Jerusalem. This light gives us a sense about things and actions. The sense may be peace or joy, indicating that something corresponds with the light. Or, the sense within may be uneasiness or confusion, indicating something that is of darkness rather than light.

We need first to be aware of this light, this sense, within and then give heed to it. Gradually we learn to live according to this inward divine light. God’s word is a help in our learning to live in the light.

Psalm 119:130 says that the opening, or entrance, of God’s Word gives light. Day by day we need to enter into the holy Word. Then we will see and be in the light, which is God Himself through His Word. Therefore, we should not realize or do anything according to our natural ability or according to the education we have received. We have God as our unique light to apply to our life.*

When we read, we need an attitude of seeking to gain the light of life, not merely seeking to have some knowledge. We need to be nourished by spiritual eating, with praying, meditating, and singing. These are good ways to open to the light of life and experience a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

* These are excerpts from the book Experiencing, Enjoying, and Expressing Christ by Witness Lee, © LSM. See message 431 in online reading.

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

Coming to Him, We Are “Jasperized”

In Revelation 4:2-3 John saw a throne in heaven and One sitting on the throne who was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance. Later he saw the holy city, Jerusalem, having the glory of God and her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone  (Revelation 21:10-11). He also saw that the wall of the city was built of jasper (v. 21:18). Both God and New Jerusalem have an appearance like jasper.

God desires to develop this identical appearance now. First Peter 2:4 says that the Lord is a living Stone and verse 5 says that by coming to Him we are becoming living stones to be built together as a spiritual house.

What is presented in 1 Peter—both He and we are living stones—is the preparation for what John saw—God and New Jerusalem are jasper.

We become living stones as we come to the Lord. Our coming is in Peter 2:4. In verses 2-3 we drink the pure milk of the word of God and we taste that the Lord is good. Then we come to the One we are tasting.

Let us all drink from the word of God. Whether we understand everything or not, whether everything seems applicable to us or not, we can read the word of God. Then:
New Jerusalem• we can say amen to His word
• we can thank Him for His word
• we can pray with what we read
• we can meditate on His word
• we can ask for His speaking
• we can sing His word

Through these practices, God’s word becomes our joy (Jeremiah 15:16) and our nourishment (Matthew 4:4). This gradually constitutes us as living stones and “jasperizes” us for New Jerusalem.

Related post: The Stones Express God

Photo by R Robinson, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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