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.

God Strengthens Us, According to the Riches of His Glory, unto New Jerusalem

This post continues verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… all of which are surpassing and excellent and which culminate in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit…” Ephesians 1 has a prayer for our seeing and Ephesians 3:14-19 is a prayer for our experience.

For such experience, we do not depend on our own strength. Rather, God strengthens us according to the riches of His glory. This strengthening is for Christ to make home in our hearts (3:17) so that we can be filled unto all the fullness of God (3:19) to glorify God in the church (3:21) and in New Jerusalem (3:21).

Philippians 3:21: “Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to His operation by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.” Currently our body is a body of sin and death (Rom. 6:6, 7:24). This in no way matches New Jerusalem. But our Lord Jesus Christ is able to conform us to His body of glory to match the city of glory. This is not according to our need but according to His all-subjecting operation.

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will fill your every need according to His riches, in glory, in Christ Jesus.” God fills our need but not according to our need. God fills according to His riches. And this filling is in glory, corresponding to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

Colossians 1:11: “Being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy.” We are empowered to “walk worthily of the Lord” (1:10) but this empowering is not merely to match our shortage. Instead it is far higher, according to the might of His glory, another pointer toward New Jerusalem.

We can pray, Lord, turn my view from myself, my situations, and my needs to You, Your riches, Your glory, Your operation, and Your power

New Jerusalem is Pure, Transparent, Bright

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is pure, clean, clear, and transparent. New Jerusalem, as the bride of the Lamb, is also bright: “it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).

Within New Jerusalem is “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceed-ing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street” (Rev. 22:1). The brightness is from the Lord Jesus Himself. He says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16). When He appeared to Saul from heaven, He was “a light from heaven beyond the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13).

New Jerusalem is a composition of God in Christ dwelling in all God’s redeemed people. The city is bright not only because the Lord Jesus is bright. It is bright because He is living with every redeemed person and will make each one bright with Him.

The Lord spoke about this in Matthew 13. At His second coming, His angels will cast out all who are stumbling blocks and all who practice lawlessness (v. 41). “Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (v. 43). “Father” here indicates that the righteous will shine forth because of the Father’s life, which is Christ in us.

The righteous will shine because their living is Christ, who becomes their practical, experiential righteousness. This is the longing expressed by Paul in Philippians 3, to be found in Christ, having the righteousness which is out of God and based on faith.

To be in Christ and to be positionally righteous in Him is a fact. To be found, to be seen by others, in Him and to be found living out God’s righteousness, is much more. Such a living produces the shining in the kingdom and the bright clothing of the bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

New Jerusalem—Magnification of Christ (2)

The prior post presented Paul’s individual magnification of Christ (Phil. 1:20) as a miniature of the corporate magnification of Christ in New Jerusalem. The Greek verb translated magnify means to declare to be great, to glorify, to praise, to exalt.

Although magnify is not in Revelation, the magnification of Christ is seen in the glory of the city: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:10-11a)

New JerusalemBased on Paul’s example, we magnify Christ today by living Him, by believers praying for us, by the bountiful supply of the Spirit, and by His excellency motivating us to count everything else as a loss (Phil. 1:19-21, 3:7-8).

Another magnification is in Luke 1:46-47, “Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior.” First, Mary’s spirit exulted in God; then her soul magnified the Lord. Her praise to God issued from her spirit and was expressed through her soul. Her spirit was filled with joy in God her Savior, and her soul manifested that joy for the magnifying of the Lord.*

Based on Mary’s example, our magnification of Christ is by the joy of the Lord. In our-selves and our situations we often feel we cannot rejoice, but we are in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). In Him we can rejoice now and we will rejoice in New Jerusalem. Philippians 3:1 and 4:4,

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Acts  16:25 describes an undesirable situation, a prison: “about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.” Christ in us is able, any place, any time, any situation, for our praising to magnify Him; how much more in New Jerusalem!

* from footnote on Luke 1:47 in NT Recovery Version Online.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Pursue toward the Goal to Gain Christ

New JerusalemGod has already prepared a city for His people (Hebrews 11:16). This is New Jerusalem. At present we can have a spiritual foretaste of New Jerusalem but we do not have a full realization of it.

The foretaste combined with the lack of full realization should motivate us to rise up and pursue. “We are not of those who shrink back” (Hebrews 10:39). Rather, as Paul said, “I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12).

What then should we pursue? Jesus Christ!!  Paul’s pursuing in Philippians 3:12 is defined in prior verses: “that I may gain Christ” (v. 8) and “to know Him” (v. 10).

We have Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and our Life. Yet we still should pursue to have increasing realization and experience of Him. A song based on Philippians 3:10-14 begins,

__Press on, press on toward the goal—
____The all-inclusive Christ.
__To gain the prize of God’s high call,
____Press on, press on to Christ!

May the words of this song be our attitude, our aspiration. The fuller our realization of Jesus Christ, the more we will taste the reality of New Jerusalem. Let us be encouraged by the Lord’s word in Philippians and by its expression in this song.

__Press on, press on, this one thing do,
____Forget the things behind;
__Press onward to the Christ before,
____Press onward with this mind!

Let us pursue, let us press on, to the fullest gaining and knowing of Jesus Christ. This is our path to 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 pdphoto.org.

Forgetting, Stretching, Pursuing

New JerusalemGod has already prepared a city for His people—“He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16). This is New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 12:22 says further that we “have come forward to…the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” Our coming forward is by faith.

God has prepared and we have come forward. So why don’t we see New Jerusalem? Why aren’t we fully conscious of it? Prior posts (one two) responded to this question.

Although God has prepared the city, it has not been manifested. This absence should motivate us to pursue, to come forward, not to relax, not to be passive. This is Paul’s attitude in Philippians 3:12-14:

“Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal…”

Paul received much revelation and grace from the Lord. Yet, he did not boast in that. Nor did he count that as sufficient. Rather, he pursued. The Lord is ever new, ever fresh, ever unfolding His riches. We need not fear dropping the past because there will always be something more of Him before us.

May the attitude and desire expressed in Philippians 3 be infused into us! May we all be saved from passivity. Let us pursue more of the Lord daily. This is our path to New Jerusalem.

Photo by Willem van Aken, courtesy of CSIRO Australia

God Has Prepared the City, But …

We are in a series on the preparation of New Jerusalem. Hebrews 11 speaks about people of faith. Regarding Abraham and his descendants it says, “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (v. 16).

New JerusalemThis verse says that God has already prepared the city of New Jerusalem. This is the city which has foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God (v. 10).

But … why don’t we see the city? It is because we are stuck in time. God (and what God does) is eternal, outside the limitations and sequential order of time.

But … why don’t we see the city? It is also because we are partially stuck in the old creation. One part of our being—our human spirit—has been born of the Spirit (John 3:6). This is wonderful. Thank the Lord for this!

Another part—our mind—is being transformed by renewing (Romans 12:2) indicating that our mind is old, separated from the newness of God. And Philippians 3:21 speaks of a third part of our being as “the body of our humiliation” because sin dwells in it (Romans 7:14-18).

What should we do? One answer is in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18. These verses say that whenever our heart turns to the Lord the veil—anything of time and the old creation which separates us from the Lord—is taken away. Then the Lord, the Spirit transforms us.

This transformation is “from glory to glory” taking us toward the ultimate glory of New Jerusalem.

Read more about the three parts of man, their condition, and God’s salvation or watch a 5 min video.

Earth rise from Apollo 11 in lunar orbit, photo courtesy of NASA.

Those Who Are Ready Will Enter

In Matthew 25:1-13 the Lord Jesus speaks about virgins going forth to meet a bridegroom. In the whole universe He is the real Bridegroom and all His believers are individually virgins and corporately His bride, New Jerusalem.

Our going forth is our cooperation with God’s preparation of New Jerusalem as the bride (Revelation 21:2). Matthew 25:10 says, “those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast.” The virgins who were ready “took oil in their vessels with their lamps” so that their lamps were shining with a good supply of oil rather than “going out” (v. 8).

New JerusalemOil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 25:9 indicates that a price must be paid to be filled with the Spirit. In Matthew 16:24-25 the Lord said that to follow Him we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and lose our soul life. This is the price to gain extra oil in our vessels so that we shine brightly.

We can pray, Lord, I desire to follow You. Grace me to deny myself.

An example of paying a price is in Philippians 3:7-8. Paul tells us, “What things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ. But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ.”

We can pray, Lord, I want to be ready to go in. Manifest Your excellency to me and show me what I need to count loss so that I may gain more of You today. Lord, I want to get ready for You and for New Jerusalem.

Related post: We Have Oil in our Vessels, We are Burning

The Spirit Gives Life for New Jerusalem

In resurrection we walk in newness of life and we serve in newness of spirit. Resurrection, the divine and eternal life, the Spirit with our spirit, and newness are all essential qualities of New Jerusalem. These qualities all proceed from God.

In 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Paul says that “our sufficiency is from God, who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

New JerusalemServing in spirit is new and ministry of the Spirit is new and life giving. Without the Spirit moving through and with our human spirit, our service and ministry is old and of the killing letter.

Paul also says that in the New Testament way we “serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). When we serve by the Spirit of God, our service has God’s newness. However, if we have confidence in our flesh—our natural talents, our natural training, and our natural experiences—our serving will not be in newness.

In Philippians 3:3, the Greek word translated serve means to serve as a priest. It is the same Greek word as in Revelation 22:3, “His slaves will serve Him.” Our serving now should have the same spirit and the same newness as our serving in New Jerusalem.

Lord Jesus, make us people of the Spirit, people in resurrection walking in newness, people serving in spirit, people ministering the Spirit and life. This is our foretaste of New Jerusalem and our preparation for New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem: Incorruptible Inheritance

New Jerusalem is a city in resurrection and is the ultimate portion of our incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-4). First Corinthians 15 fuses resurrection and incorruption. In this chapter:

New Jerusalem Our physical body is buried in corruption (v. 35) but raised in incorruption (v. 42). “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body” (v. 43-44). Incorruption, glory, power, and spiritual are characteristics of New Jerusalem.

 Our physical body of flesh and blood, due to the presence of sin and death, is corrupt and “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 50). In this verse to inherit the kingdom of God is to inherit incorruption. The ultimate stage of the kingdom of God is New Jerusalem with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” and in which their slaves “will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:1, 5).

 The dead in Christ “will be raised incorruptible” and the believers who are alive “will be changed” (v. 52). This resurrection and changing will be the transfiguration of our physical bodies, from humiliation to glory (Philippians 3:21), completing God’s process of sonship (Romans 8:23).

 “When this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality, then the word which is written will come to pass, ‘Death has been swallowed up unto victory.’ ” (v. 53-54) Death is the last enemy to be abolished (v. 26). What a glorious victory!

The devil, the source of sin and death, and death itself will be in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10, 14). New Jerusalem will be full of and constituted with sons of God in glory. It will be a city of glory, resurrection, and incorruption.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory (3)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of everything positive in the Bible. Recent posts are on the consummation of glory. Here is a sampling of some verses on glory in epistles through Colossians; more in the next post.

New JerusalemIn Romans 3:23 we were sinners having no share in the glory. But we were justified through the redemption in Christ Jesus (v. 24). Now we can “boast because of the hope of the glory of God” (v. 5:2). This hope is solid; it is Christ in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Our hope will be fully fulfilled in New Jerusalem, the city having the glory of God.

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are beholding (spiritually, not physically) the glory of the Lord. While we behold, the Spirit transforms us “from glory to glory,” developing in us the glory which will be manifested when the Lord returns and manifested even stronger in New Jerusalem.

In Ephesians 1:6, 12 what God is doing in us is to the praise of His glory. What He does is eternal and the praise will continue eternally. This is Ephesians 3:21—praise to God in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever.

In Philippians 3:21 Christ Jesus “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory.” Transfiguration will complete and manifest the hidden transformation being carried out now. Thus we will match Christ Jesus for a harmonious display of glory in New Jerusalem.

Transfiguration is a matter of life, as in Colossians 3:4, “when Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.” Transformation and transfiguration are a life process corresponding with New Jerusalem as a city of life (Revelation 22:1-2), a city in resurrection.

New Jerusalem in a Divine Metaphor

Galatians 4:21-31 presents a metaphor in which Hagar, Abraham’s maidservant, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife, correspond to the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem. Let’s look at characteristics of the heavenly Jerusalem, New Jerusalem, in this metaphor.

Free: Sarah is the free woman and “the Jerusalem above is free.” Here is real freedom:
• John 8:36 “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”
• 2 Corinthians 3:17 “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
• Galatians 5:1 “for freedom Christ has set us free.”
• Romans 8:21 “the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
We experience real freedom when we are one with the Triune God. This freedom is “the freedom of the glory” ultimately seen in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemPromise: God promised Isaac (Genesis 17:16-19, 18:10, 14) and Isaac was born as a result of God’s promise. Isaac’s birth was not a result of Abraham and Sarah’s human capabilities for both had become “dead” with respect to having a child (Romans 4:19). New Jerusalem is produced the same way—not by human effort but by God’s operation in humans who are willing to open to Him.

Above: New Jerusalem is not earthly but heavenly. This wonderful city has a heavenly nature because its source and constitution are God.

Mother: The Jerusalem above is allegorically linked to Sarah and to the new covenant. “The Jerusalem above is our mother” indicates that the new covenant is our mother. Our new birth came from and rests upon and in the new covenant established by Jesus Christ.

Spirit: As the human components of New Jerusalem, we are born of the Spirit in our spirit (John 3:6), transformed by the Spirit in our soul (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18), and will be transfigured by the Spirit saturating our body (Romans 8:11, Philippians 3:21).

All of these five characteristics are of the Triune God. None have their source in us. Praise Him that we have such a marvelous gift both now and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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