Our God, Our Dwelling, is the Living Temple

New JerusalemThe prior five posts look at the living New Testament temple. This began with the Lord Jesus in John 2, with His body, the real temple of God, “destroyed” by the Jews in crucifixion but raised up in resurrection. The living temple concludes with God and the Lamb as the temple of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

This living temple was typified by the physical tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament, but this physical structure was not God’s eternal intention.

Moses, who oversaw the building of the tabernacle, realized this. In Psalm 90:1 he declared, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” In eternity, in New Jerusalem, the Lord will still be our dwelling place.

Isaiah speaks similarly, “You shall sanctify Jehovah of hosts; He shall be the One to fear and He shall be the One to be awed by. Then He will become a sanctuary” (8:13-14a). When our heart pursues sanctification, the Lord becomes our sanctuary, our dwelling place, our temple. The ultimate stage of this is the holy (sanctified) city New Jerusalem.

We have been sanctified positionally at our initial salvation. Now we need to pursue experiential sanctification, that is, being separated unto God from everything else by being saturated with His holy nature. In this way He becomes our sanctuary, our temple.

Both Moses and Isaiah saw beyond the outward pictures of the tabernacle and temple. They saw that the real temple is the living God Himself. Lord, bring us to the same realization that they had; We want to experience dwelling in You as our living temple not only in New Jerusalem but also in this age.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

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.

Pursue Now, unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemA recent post encourages us to
Pursue the Incorruptible New Jerusalem
I am convinced that we should do this, although this phrase is not explicitly in the Bible.

While praying on the phone with a brother, he touched 2 Timothy 2:22, which is about pursuing. That motivated me to look at New Testament verses on pursuing and how the objectives pursed relate to New Jerusalem. Here are the verses which touched me.

Romans 14:19 exhorts us to “pursue the things of peace and the things for building up one another.” First Peter 3:11 also urges us to pursue peace. Pursuing peace is certainly related to New Jerusalem because the name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace” (one two). Building up is a central feature of the New Testament (e.g. 1 Cor 3:6-12, Eph. 2:19-22, 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:4-5) and New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s NT building.

First Corinthians 14:1 charges us to “pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Love is not mentioned in the description of New Jerusalem but the God who is love is on the throne at the center of the city. How does prophesying relate? He who prophesies builds up (1 Cor. 14:3-5, 12).

In Philippians 3:12, 14 Paul tells us that he was pursuing toward the goal. He was such an advanced Christian by that time, yet he still pursued because there is always more of the unlimited Christ to be gained. His goal was to gain Christ, be found in Christ, know Christ experientially, to attain to the out-resurrection, and to lay hold of Christ (3:9-12). New Jerusalem will be the fulness of all these aspirations.

Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification.” Peace is as in Romans 14:19.  The ultimate stage of *sanctification is the “holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2, 10).

Lord, draw us to pursue You every day as our peace, our love, our building up, our sanctification, our goal all the way to New Jerusalem.

* The Greek words translated sanctification and holy are very similar. The apparent difference in English is that one word comes from a Latin root and the other from an Anglo-Saxon root.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Pursue with Those Who Call on the Lord   Out of a Pure Heart

New Jerusalem is revealed in Revelation 21–22 as a bride prepared for her Husband. This preparation involves many things including God’s sending of John the Baptist, God coming in the man Jesus, His offering of Himself to death in the body prepared by God, and God preparing us as vessels of mercy. On our side, the preparation includes our repentance and confession of sins, the exercise of our spirit to receive the deep things God prepared for us, and our holding the living word of God in faith.

New JerusalemOur cooperation with God’s preparation is also seen in 2 Timothy 2:21-22, “If therefore anyone cleanses himself from these, he will be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared unto every good work. But flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

In these verses:
• We cleanse ourselves (by opening to the Lord and His word, not by our own effort) from things of dishonor, not passively waiting for the Lord to cleanse us.
• We flee youthful lusts (even if we are not young).
• We pursue spiritual virtues with others who have the same pursuing and who call on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:12-13).

Our heart is a key to our preparation. Lord, work in me to purify my heart, and purify the hearts of those with whom I pursue and call. This is a part of our journey to New Jerusalem.

With this preparation, we can be vessels unto honor, prepared unto every good work. These are the good works which God prepared for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). This is much higher than what is “good works” in the human realm. The highest good work is to minister Christ as life to other people for them to receive eternal salvation and for them to be knit together in the Body of Christ consummating in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Pursue a Holy Manner of Life

New Jerusalem, the holy city, the consummation of everything positive in the Bible, is the ultimate expression of God’s holiness through His people. God chose use to be holy, called us with a holy calling, and is now sanctifying us unto New Jerusalem. Second Peter 3:10-12 says,

The day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements, burning with intense heat, will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up. Since all these things are to be thus dissolved, what kind of persons ought you to be in holy manner of life and godliness, expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements, burning with intense heat, are to be melted away?

New JerusalemBecause the old creation will be consumed, we should seek a holy manner of life. How? First Peter 1:15 says, “according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life.” Our holy manner of life is not from our natural being nor by our own effort. Our holy manner of life depends on The Holy One.

This dependence involves prayer with thanksgiving. We first thank the Lord that He has become sanctification to us objectively (1 Corinthians 1:30). Then we can thank Him that He is the One sanctifying us subjectively (Hebrews 2:11).

We can also thank God for choosing us to be holy (Ephesians 1:4) or for calling us with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). At times it is good to pray with these verses.

We can also pray, asking the Lord to sanctify us, even petitioning concerning specific aspects of our daily living where we have a hard time remembering Him or where we know our need of sanctification. We do not need to beg; He wants to sanctify us, needing only our cooperation.

When we are living a holy manner of life, we are expecting the Lord’s return. Our holy living even hastens His return per 2 Peter 3:12. Come, Lord Jesus! Bring us onwards to New Jerusalem.

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

Pursue Sanctification to See the Lord

New Jerusalem is the holy city. God has given Jesus Christ to us as our holiness objectively. Throughout our Christian life we are experiencing the Lord’s washing in the water of His word that we may be holy subjectively. Through this process we will match the holy city in reality.

New JerusalemOn one hand the Holy Spirit is renewing us (Titus 3:5) and the water in the living word is washing us (Ephesians 5:26-27). This is the operation of the Triune God to sanctify us wholly that our “spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

On the other hand we need to cooperate. Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “pursue peace with all men and sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.” To partake of His holiness is to experience it, which is beyond having it imputed to us objectively. This requires our pursuing.

Second Corinthians 7:1 says “let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Cleanse ourselves points to our cooperation to gain the living reality of holiness. This cleansing is not by us independently but by our confessing and accepting the forgiveness in Christ and by seeking to be renewed away from repetitions of defilement.

Cooperation is also seen in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy because I am holy.’” We exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.

The result of cooperation is that sanctification is gradually worked into us to bring us to the holiness of New Jerusalem.

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