We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)

#NewJerusalemMany New Testament verses speak about our growth. Growth is needed so that we will mature in the divine life to match New Jerusalem.

First Peter 5:10 says, “But the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” With our cooperation, God Himself will perfect us. All the sufferings we go through are for our perfecting, for our reaching God’s goal, New Jerusalem.

Paul expresses this cooperation as counting all things loss for the excellency of Christ (Phil. 3:7-8), an excellency fully manifested by New Jerusalem. He sought to gain Christ and be found in Him (3:8-9). He was also pressing onward toward the goal, the fullest experience of Christ, which would prepare him for the prize, New Jerusalem (3:13-14).

When we have a goal different from New Jerusalem, our attitude is not like Paul’s and we try to escape the sufferings and we hold on to all things. But Paul was a person fully for God’s eternal purpose. His desire was to live Christ and magnify Christ whether through life or death (Phil. 1:20-21), whether his outward circumstances were bountiful or pitiful (4:11-12).

On the road to New Jerusalem, outward circumstance do not matter. Our attitude should be, “we do not regard the things which are seen but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). The sufferings are “things seen” but New Jerusalem is among “things not seen.”

Lord, turn my view away from the temporal things to Your eternal things.

Seek the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemThe riches of God‘s kindness, forbear-ance, long-suffering, assurance, grace, and glory are to us today and will fill and radiate from New Jerusalem. This “good news” is “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8).

We can all learn as Paul did (Phil. 4:12), “I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack.” Whether we abound or are abased in human terms, the riches of Christ are available.

Similarly to Paul, the Lord Jesus tells the believers in Smyrna (Rev. 2:9), “I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are rich).” They were humanly poor but divinely rich. In such circumstances, may we be “rich in faith” (James 2:5). This faith substantiates and carries us toward the presently unseen New Jerusalem.

These riches will abound in New Jerusalem, but don’t wait. Consider two paths to being rich in Christ. One is Ephesians 3:14-19. Paul prayed that the Father grant us, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened that Christ may make home in our hearts. (This strengthening is much higher than if it were according to our lack.) Father, grant me the strengthening I need for Your Son to make home in me!

A second path is in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” His words are spirit and life (John 6:63), so His words can live in us. Lord, cause Your word to live richly in me!

“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable His ways!” (Rom. 11:33 – sing it) Praise Him now; praise Him in New Jerusalem!

Photo by Randy Roberts, courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

 

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.

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