Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (2)

#NewJerusalemOur Christian life is a time for our growth and perfecting in this life so that we may match New Jerusalem.

In Luke 6 the Lord spoke quite a while about the proper living standard of His disciples. In verse 40 He said, “A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who has been perfected will be like his teacher.” He is indicating that He expects us to be perfected.

We must be perfected to match the perfection of New Jerusalem, but how? Part of the answer is in Matthew 5:48, “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The divine life of our heavenly Father, growing in us, enables us to be perfected.

Similarly, the Lord prayed in John 17:23, “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one…” He is “the life” and He is in all His believers. This is how we can be “perfected into one” and perfected in any other way. Thank You Lord that You have become our life to work in us and perfect us.

This perfection into one is also the oneness in Ephesians 4:13, the oneness of New Jerusalem. This eternal city has one throne, one street, one river, one light; it is the perfection of oneness, the final answer to the Lord’s prayer in John 17.

Second Corinthians 7:1: “Therefore since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Here it seems that we are doing the perfecting work. However, in ourselves we cannot do it, but “the fear of God” indicates our cooperation with Jesus Christ as the perfecting life in us. This perfecting causes us to match New Jerusalem, the holy city (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem: Oneness in the Triune God

The prior post spoke of New Jerusalem as the ultimate answer to the Lord’s prayer for His glorification that He might glorify the Father (John 17:1-5). In John 17 the Lord also prayed for our oneness. New Jerusalem is also the ultimate answer to this aspect of the Lord’s prayer. He prayed:
• that they [all believers] may be one even as We [Triune God] are (v. 11)
• that they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us (v. 21)
• that they may be one, even as We are one (v. 22)
• I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one (v. 23)

New JerusalemThe Lord prayed for a perfected oneness, a oneness of the highest standard—the oneness of the Three of the Godhead. This is seen in the “even as” phrase of verses 11, 21, and 22 above. “They may be one even as We are.”

How is such oneness realized? The Lord’s prayer reveals how. This highest oneness is IN the Triune God—”they also may be in Us” (v. 21) and this highest oneness is by the Triune God IN us— “I in them, and You in Me” (v. 23).

New Jerusalem is the consummation of this oneness. The city has one river flowing in one street (Rev. 22:1) indicating one supply of life for walking in one way. This life supply is the Spirit (John 7:37-39) and Christ is the way (John 14:6).

New Jerusalem is one because the city is in the Triune God and the Triune God is in it. This is the enlargement of John 15:4, “Abide in Me and I in you.”
Where is New Jerusalem? The Triune God and 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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Experiencing Christ as our Broad Street

New JerusalemThe description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 includes, “the street of the city was pure gold” (v. 21). This street of gold symbolizes the divine nature as the pathway for our Christian walk both now and in eternity.

The Greek word translated “street” means broad. Many English Bibles (e.g. ESV, NASB, NCV, KJV, Darby) simply have “street” in Revelation 21:21 but we can also find “great street” (NIV) and “broad street” (HCSB).

This broad street portrays the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8) as the motivation and supply for our Christian living, our Christian walk. The more He makes home in our hearts, the more we are able to grasp what is His breadth (3:17-18). How wonderful that we may live in this unlimited Christ both now and in New Jerusalem.

In contrast, in Matthew 7:13 the Lord warns us that “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.” The Greek word translated “wide” is the same word used in Revelation 21:21. Why is this word used in two opposing contexts??

In Matthew the Lord is warning us about taking a gate and way apart from Him, which allow pride, self-glorification, love of money, lusts, and many other negative things to go with us. In Matthew we need the Lord’s narrow gate to exclude all those things. When we go through the narrow gate and have the fallen things stripped off, we walk on the constricted way with the Lord and find that He is broad, spacious, unlimited.

Today, we are still beset by sin, the flesh, the old man, and the world. We need the narrow gate and path to eliminate those things. In Revelation 20 all remaining negative things are cast into the lake of fire, so there will be no further need for the narrow gate and way. Then in Revelation 21 and 22 we have only New Jerusalem with its broad street and river of water of life.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Stay on the Living Street of New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is a living city, constituted with the Triune God and all God’s people. Revelation 21:21b says,

“the street of the city was pure gold.” 

In Revelation 22:1, the river of water of life is flowing “in the middle of its street.” This street is part of the living composition of New Jerusalem. The gold symbolizes the divine nature, of which we are partakers (2 Peter 1:4) and according to which we walk.

New JerusalemThere is only this one street in New Jerusalem. We see this first in John 14 where the Lord Jesus told us, “I am the way.” There is no way to the Father apart from Him. He is our unique way.

The one street is an expression of the oneness which is an attribute of the divine nature. This oneness is seen in John 17 where the Lord Jesus prayed that we all may be one, having a oneness matching His oneness with the Father. The one street also corresponds with the one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one God and Father in Ephesians 4:3-6.

Revelation 21:21 and 22:1 both say “the street” (singular). We should not look at human cities with their thousands of streets and apply that model to New Jerusalem. No. We should not impose our natural concepts on a city that is spiritual, heavenly, living, and in resurrection.

Let us say “amen” to the word of the Bible—“the street of the city.” The city is one, the street is one, the Triune God is one, and we are one in the Triune God. Jesus Christ in us is our unique way now and in 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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

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

 

 

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