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.

No Lie, No Falsehood, in New Jerusalem

The devil has no part in New Jerusalem nor in the entire new creation because he has been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

The devil is the father of lies, the source of lies is his nature, and in him is only falsehood, no reality (John 8:44). This is a total contrast to Jesus Christ who is the reality (John 14:6), the expression of God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

New JerusalemThe truth has come to us in word of the truth of the gospel (Eph. 1:13, Col. 1:5). By our receiving this word of truth, the Spirit as the anointing entered into us.

Now the Spirit of reality is living in us, anointing us with the reality. This anointing “is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). When we abide in the Lord, we abide in the reality, the truth; here there is no lie, no falsehood. This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 14:1-5, 144,000 are on the heavenly mount Zion with the Lamb. Verse 5: “And in their mouth no lie was found; they are without blemish.” “No lie” indicates nothing of the devil is with them.

Furthermore, they are without blemish. They have been washed by the Lord with the water in His living word (Eph. 5:26-27). This washing not only eliminates blemishes, all of which originated with the devil. The washing also imparts the Lord’s holiness so that we “would be holy and without blemish.”

The holiness matches the holy city, New Jerusalem. The city is not merely without lies, falsehoods, and blemishes. Much more, New Jerusalem is saturated with God’s holiness and glory to express God.

Here is a summary of all posts about what is NOT in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Not Outside of New Jerusalem

Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and makes a lie.” Outside means outside the city, New Jerusalem, in verse 14.

Where is this outside location? Revelation 21:8 tells us, “The cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the false, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

New JerusalemAll of these negatives are outside because New Jerusalem is holy (Rev. 21:2), pure (21:18, 21), bright and clean (19:8). We might think that we are clean, but we are not clean up to the standard of New Jerusalem.

Only God is holy, pure, bright, and clean. Thank Him that He has come to us in Christ Jesus. Now we can repent and receive Christ. Furthermore, every day we can confess our sins and He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are also clean by letting the Lord’s word come to us (John 15:3), pure by His working within us (Phil. 1:6, 10) and by obedience to the truth and brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22), and bright by taking our Lord Jesus as the bright One (Rev. 22:16).

God in Christ becomes our holiness to constitute us part of the holy city, New Jerusalem. Our Lord Jesus establishes our hearts “blameless in holiness” (1 Thes. 3:13) and our Father disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness” (Heb. 12;10). And Christ is sanctifying the church, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word so that the church will be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

We praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the One who qualifies us to be in New Jerusalem, the holy, pure, bright, and clean city.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God Chose Us unto Sanctification

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2). God has given Jesus Christ to us as our holiness objectively. Now He is sanctifying us subjectively, experientially, while we cooperate by pursuing holiness.

Do not get discouraged by looking at your condition. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul declares, “we ought to thank God always concerning you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” God’s choosing includes the sanctification of the Spirit.

Thank God always. Paul had to write some words to the Thessalonians to adjust their Christian living. However, the faults in their condition were subordinate to God’s choosing them unto salvation in sanctification, so Paul could thank God.

Neither be discouraged by the outward environment. Hebrews 12 speaks of the discipline of children by earthly fathers and by our heavenly Father. Verse 10 says, “For they disciplined for a few days as it seemed good to them; but He, for what is profitable that we might partake of His holiness.”

Whatever outward discipline comes to us is in His sovereignty. The goal of the environmental discipline is that “we might partake of His holiness.”  This prepares us to participate in the holiness of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem, as the holy city, is the consummation of all the holiness in the Bible. We will be there. God chose us to be holy, called us with a holy calling, regenerated us and sealed us with the Holy Spirit, put us into Christ who is our sanctification, and is experientially sanctifying us for New Jerusalem. Thank God always.

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

Washed by the Water in the Word to be Holy

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city. Jesus Christ has accomplished and God has given Him to us as our holiness objectively. Thus, in position, in status, we match the holy city. Throughout our Christian life we gradually enter the subjective experience of this holiness.

First Corinthians 3:17 says, “the temple of God is holy, and such are you.” This is an objective fact. God put the Corinthian believers into Christ and made Christ their sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:29-30). Because of God’s action, Paul could say that the Corinthians were the holy temple of God.

However, consider their condition as described in 1 Corinthians: divisions, fornication, lawsuits, denying resurrection, etc. They were sorely lacking in experience of the fact that God had given them. They were fleshy and infants in Christ (v. 3:1).

Ephesians 2:21 says that in Christ “all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” “Being fitted together” and “growing” indicate a subjective, on-going experience. This experience will bring us into the reality of the “holy temple in the Lord” a temple which has the same constitution as the holy city.

To match New Jerusalem, we need the daily renewing of the Holy Spirit, the renewing which began from our regeneration (Titus 3:5). Ephesians 5:25 says that Christ gave Himself for the church. Verses 26-27 tell us that He is working to “sanctify* her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious…holy and without blemish.”

Lord, grant us the daily renewing and the washing of the water in Your word. Infuse us with Yourself that we may be holy and without blemish to match New Jerusalem.

* Reminder from a prior post: although the English words holy/holiness (from Anglo-Saxon) and sanctify/sanctification (from Latin) seem very different, they are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Have Been and Are Being Sanctified

New Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2), Jesus Christ is the Holy One, and in Him we are God’s saints, God’s holy people. God chose us to be holy, called us with a holy calling, sealed us with the Holy Spirit, and gives us the renewing of the Holy Spirit.

New JerusalemFrom the day we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, we have Him as our holiness and we have the status of saints. However, there is still much that needs to be accomplished in us.

Hebrews 10:10 says “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” This speaks of a fact accomplished by the Lord and applied to us.

Hebrews 10:14 says “by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” This speaks of His gradual application (with our cooperation) of the fact in all our being and to all our living.

Hebrews 2:11 says “both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers.” This does not speak about the accomplished fact but about the ongoing application of the fact. This is based on the accomplished fact and brings us into the reality and experience of the fact.

Spiritual facts, and their imputation to us, are objective. The permeation of these facts through our being and their outworking in our living are experiential, subjective. Objectively we have the holiness of the holy New Jerusalem. Subjectively we are gradually being infused with the holiness of New Jerusalem. God will accomplish His purpose and we will be with Him in the holy city.

Jesus Christ is Our Sanctification

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2, 10) and Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God. When we receive Him, His holiness becomes ours, which enables us to participate in the holy city.

First Peter 1:2 says that we were “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father in the sanctification* of the Spirit unto the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” This is the Triune God’s operation. The Father chose us in eternity past. The Spirit sanctified* us, separating us from all else to bring us to Jesus Christ in order that we could obey Him and receive forgiveness of sins based on His blood shed in death.

As a result of our response to the Spirit’s sanctification, 1 Corinthians 1:30 declares that of God we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” It is of God, not of ourselves, that we are in Christ Jesus. And, since we are in Him, He is our sanctification, our holiness. He is the source, we are not. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 1:31 says, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

Because our sanctification of from Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ, we are saints. We are saints in Him, not in our natural being. Romans (1:6-7) was written to those in Rome called by Jesus Christ, the called saints. Ephesians (1:1) was addressed to the saints in Ephesus and Philippians (1:1) to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.

Our holy position in Christ and our status as saints (sanctified people) in Him are because God’s operation put us on the path to the holy city New Jerusalem. Our position and status today match New Jerusalem!

* Although the English words holy/holiness (from Anglo-Saxon) and sanctify/sanctification (from Latin) seem very different, they are translations of closely related New Testament Greek words.

Jesus Christ Becomes our Holiness

New JerusalemIn Revelation 21:2, 10 and 22:19 New Jerusalem is called the holy city. New Jerusalem, as the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people.

God is unchangingly holy; His plan is to impart Himself into His people so that we may be holy with Him. This post is the first of a series looking through the Bible at God’s operating to make His people holy. This series will concentrate on God’s people; it will not touch holy days, holy garments, holy places, etc. Even so, this series will touch only a minority of the verses about God’s holy people; you are welcome to add verses in the comments.

Regarding holiness, God’s basic word to us is in Leviticus 11:44-45 and quoted in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy because I am holy.” We shall see that this is not an outward imitation of His holiness but rather the result of God in Christ becoming our holiness.

In the Old Testament God’s people would be a holy nation to Him if they obeyed His words and kept His covenant (Exo. 16:5-6). In the New Testament we are a holy nation as a result of the life received in regeneration (1 Peter 2:9, 1:23). Eventually New Jerusalem will be the holy nation including God’s people from all the ages.

The verses in the prior two paragraphs clearly present God’s desire. New Jerusalem is called the holy city because God will fulfill this desire to make all His people holy! Praise Him.

Photo of Liège, Belgium, from International Space Station, courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center.

New Jerusalem is the Eternal Marriage (8)

New Jerusalem as the eternal marriage is portrayed and prophesied many times in the Bible, including Ephesians 5:22-33. Verse 22 speaks about husband and wife but verse 23 shows that husband and wife are a picture of Christ and the church.

New JerusalemVerses 25-27 present three stages leading up to the marriage of Christ and the church:
• Christ loved the church and gave Himself unto death to redeem her (v. 25);
• Now Christ is sanctifying her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word to purify her to match Him (v. 26);
• Soon He will present the church to Himself glorious and holy, not having spot, wrinkle, or blemish (v. 27).

His work to sanctify the church by the washing of water in the word will result in a glorious and holy church without any negative element. This condition matches New Jerusalem, which is also glorious and holy with nothing negative.

Verses 28-33 continue to speak about both husbands and wives and about Christ and the church. Verse 32 shows Paul’s emphasis,
_This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
Since this is a spiritual mystery, we should ask the Lord to grant us “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). Then, by revelation (not by natural effort) the mystery can be made known to us (Ephesians 3:3).

The preparation of the church as the bride is also for the preparation of New Jerusalem. The more this mystery is revealed to us, the more it will operate in us, and the more we will be prepared. Lord Jesus, grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Lord, reveal this great mystery in me.

 

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of Everything Positive in the Bible (2)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of everything positive in the Bible. The prior post presented the consummation of God, man, and life (the eternal life of God we receive in Jesus Christ). Here are a few more wonderful topics in the Bible which will be present in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRedemption: man fell and was shut out of the garden of Eden, forbidden to receive God as life. Nevertheless, Genesis 3 has a picture of redemption with lambs slain to properly clothe Adam and Eve with coats of skins. In the gospels, Jesus came as the real Lamb of God to accomplish redemption. When we have Him, we have redemption. New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, the Lamb is on the throne, and the Lamb is the temple and lamp of the city.

Spirit: in Genesis 1 the Spirit of God was moving. This moving continues through the Bible. Eventually the Spirit is seen as the flowing river of life in New Jerusalem.
• The Spirit, The Bountiful Supply, The River of Water of Life
• The River of Water of Life is Flowing Today

Light: in Genesis 1 God said, “let there be light.” In John we learn that the Lord Jesus is the light of the world. In 1 John God is light and we walk in the light. New Jerusalem is pure and clear to let God as light shine through.

Love: simple—God, who is love (1 John 4:16), will be in New Jerusalem.

Holiness: 1 Peter 1:16 quotes from Leviticus that we should be holy because God is holy. Eventually New Jerusalem is the holy city because God is holy.

Glory: God’s glory filled the tabernacle in Exodus and the temple in Kings. Isaiah saw God’s glory. So did John (John 1:14). New Jerusalem has the glory of God.

Your comment could suggest other topics which consummate in New Jerusalem.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem

New JerusalemOn April 19 I began a series looking at similarities between the garden of Eden and New Jerusalem. Since then this comparison, of Genesis 2–3 with Revelation 21–22, has grown. Thank the Lord for how His word unfolds as we dig into it. Here is a summary of this series; each ❖ symbol links to a specific post.

God was present in the garden as the Creator and is present in New Jerusalem as the redeeming and life-imparting Lamb-God.

Man was created in God’s image in Genesis and is one with God in life in Revelation.

Redemption is portrayed in the garden; completed redemption is seen in the city.

God and man, although speaking face to face in the garden, were separate; in the New Testament, including New Jerusalem, God in Christ lives in His believers and they live in Him.

The tree of life is in both the garden and the city; Jesus Christ is the reality of this tree and is available to us now.

A choice between life and death is shown by the tree of life and tree of knowledge in the garden; man faces this choice through the Bible although not in the new creation.

The river of life is in both the garden and the city; the Spirit is the reality of this flow of life reaching us today.

Three kinds of precious materials were in the garden; three kinds of precious materials are built together in the city.

Eve, the bride of Adam, who came out of Adam, is a picture of the church and New Jerusalem coming out of Christ and returning to Him as His bride.

God’s building of the rib from Adam’s side into Eve is a picture of building the church and New Jerusalem with the unbroken life which flows out from Christ.

God’s glory, holiness, and righteousness are seen in the garden, in the redemption of Christ, in our Christian life, and in New Jerusalem.

A photo of Ireland from space, courtesy of European Space Agency.

A related post: The Central Thought of God, by Stefan at aGod-man.com

God’s Holiness and Righteousness in our Christian Life

New JerusalemEarlier posts in this series were about God’s glory, holiness, and righteousness in the garden of Eden, in Christ’s redemption, and in New Jerusalem. The prior post and this one briefly touch these divine attributes in our Christian life.

Hebrews 10:10 tells us that “we have been sanctified* through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” And 1 Corinthians 1:2 says that the church is composed of “those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus,” This positional sanctification is complete and it is ours. Thank Him!

Hebrews 10:14 tells us that by the same one offering mentioned in verse 10, “He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Here, and in Hebrews 2:11, “we are being sanctified.” This is an ongoing, dispositional sanctification.

Acts 13:37 speaks of “He whom God has raised” and verse 39 tells us that, “in this One everyone who believes is justified*.” Romans 3:24 says that we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Also, Romans 9:30 says that we have “a righteousness which is out of faith.” This positional justification is complete and by faith we now possess it.

Second Timothy 2:22 exhorts us to “flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” By daily pursuing this righteousness we are “filled with the fruit of righteousness, which is through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11). This is dispositional.

Gradually God’s glory, holiness, and righteousness will saturate our being and be expressed in our living. Eventually these divine attributes will be thoroughly and eternally manifested in New Jerusalem.

*Sanctification and holiness, although appearing different in English, are from closely related Greek words in the New Testament. Likewise, justification and righteousness, are from closely related Greek words.

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