New Creation, Now and New Jerusalem (2)

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). That is an accomplished fact based on our faith in Jesus Christ. Now, through the renewing of the Holy Spirit, we are gradually becoming the reality of New Jerusalem.

Paul the apostle, writing about his Christian living, said, “a new creation is what matters” (Gal. 6:15).

The old creation is our old man in Adam (Eph. 4:22), our natural being by birth, without God’s life and the divine nature. The new creation is the new man in Christ (Eph. 4:24), our being that is regenerated by the Spirit (John 3:6), having God’s life and the divine nature wrought into it (John 3:36; 2 Pet. 1:4), having Christ as its constituent (Col. 3:10-11), and having become a new constitution.

The old creation was old because it did not have God’s element; the new creation is new because it has God as its element. Although we are still the old creation, we experience the reality of the new creation when we walk according to the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25). This new creation fulfills God’s eternal purpose, which is to express Himself in His sonship.*

New JerusalemNot only in New Jerusalem, but even now, “a new creation is what matters.” For this we need to take care of our regenerated spirit, the first part of our being to be made new by Christ’s salvation. This is the fulfillment of the promise in Ezekiel 36:26, ” I will also give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.”

Today our spirit is life and the Spirit in our spirit is life to our whole being (Rom. 8:2-11). And our new heart loves the Lord and His word. This is our experience of the new creation and our foretaste of New Jerusalem.

* Part of Galatians 6:15, note 1, written by Witness Lee, in the online Recovery Version NT.

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New Creation, Now and New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:1 speaks about “a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away.” Recent posts looked at the path from the created earth to this new earth. This new earth, the site of New Jerusalem, combined with the new heaven, is a new creation.

We eagerly await to this new creation but should realize that it is already present spiritually. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). This new creation is the result of the death and resurrection of Christ (5:14-15). We do not make ourselves new, but by faith God has put us into Christ. In Him we partake of the accomplishments of His death and resurrection.

New JerusalemIn Christ, our old man has been crucified (Rom. 6:6) and our spirit has been regenerated in resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). This makes us a new creation inwardly, even though we still need much renewing throughout our Christian life, as presented in Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Ephesians 4:23, and Titus 3:5.

The new creation in the center of our being and our daily renewing are a foretaste of the full new creation with New Jerusalem. First the Lord wants to make us new in every way. Then He will carry out His promise “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

On one hand, we expect the new creation and New Jerusalem revealed in Revelation 21 to be a very big change. On the other hand, we need to realize that the new creation and New Jerusalem is already present in a limited way in everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. We can pray, Lord, thank You for the renewing of the Holy Spirit in me; grant me more cooperation!

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Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)

New JerusalemRomans 12:2 exhorts us “be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.” This good, well pleasing, and perfect will is ultimately to bring forth New Jerusalem.

Romans 12:1 shows us that a base for our transformation is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”

This consecration comes out of the foregoing chapters of Romans—realizing that we, as fallen, natural men, cannot please God but need His life in us to enable us to be people for His purpose.

We cannot transform ourselves. Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us that we are transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord; He is the source! Ephesians 4:23 says we should “be renewed in the spirit of our mind.” Our transformation is by renewing and our renewing is accomplished by the Spirit in our spirit.

The first verse of a hymn (music) by Witness Lee speaks of God’s intention, His will, and our consequent need for transformation (see graphic in this post). The fourth verse of the hymn, based on 2 Corinthians 3:18, presents something of God’s goal.
__By the power of His Spirit
____In His pattern He transforms;
__From His glory to His glory
____To His image He conforms.
New Jerusalem, radiating the glory of God (Rev. 21:11), is the fulfillment of God’s will.

The chorus is a good prayer for each of us.
__Lord, transform us to Thine image
____In emotion, mind, and will;
__Saturate us with Thy Spirit,
____All our being wholly fill.

The hymn is © 2001 by Living Stream Ministry, used by permission.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 19 Brings Us to New Jerusalem (3)

Revelation 19 has much to say about Jesus Christ Himself and His accomplishments to end this age, bring in the next age, and open the door for New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven.

In verse 19:14, “The armies which are in heaven followed Him on white horses, dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” The white and clean garments indicate that these believers are approved by the Lord. These garments are not merely gifts to them. Rather, the garments manifest the believers inward condition and daily living.

This clean living includes the cleansing of our sins, and also the transformation of our inner being. The first is the forgiveness by Christ’s redemption (Eph. 1:7). The second is accomplished by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) and also the purifying of our souls by our obedience (1 Peter 1:22).

New JerusalemThe garments qualify us 1) to attend the marriage dinner of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), 2) to be part of His victorious army, and 3) to participate in New Jerusalem.

Forgiveness of sins is a necessary step in becoming part of New Jerusalem, but it is not the only step. We also need the renewing of our inner being to match the newness of New Jerusalem. This is the renewing of our mind by the Spirit in our spirit (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23).

Those who are wearing white garments are on white horses. These match the white horse on which the Lord sits (v. 11). By the Spirit’s renewing, we are being renewed according to the Lord’s image (Col. 3:10), thus matching Him in many ways. We thereby become His expression now as the new man (Col. 3:10-11) and eternally as New Jerusalem.

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life

God’s unsearchable riches will be displayed through New Jerusalem. These riches are not only for New Jerusalem; they are for us to experience in our Christian life now.

New JerusalemGod’s rich mercy and kindness brought salvation to us. And the Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). By this Spirit in us we have a daily renewing.

As the Spirit imparts the riches of Christ into us, our hearts are “being knit together in love and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ” (Col. 2:2). Like prior verses, here we see that there is no separating the riches from the Person of Christ.

We can also “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). This dwelling helps, and is helped by, “singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Even in New Jerusalem, Christ, the living Word, will be dwelling in us. I believe that in New Jerusalem we will still be singing with grace to God. Besides singing now, it is also good to pray and praise with the word.

Furthermore, we can call on the name of the Lord. Whether almost silently or very loudly, we can call O Lord Jesus. “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him” (Rom. 10:12).

All these Christian practices keep us holding our Head, Christ, and growing up into Him. This bring us to the building up of the Body of Christ by the rich supply out from Him (Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19). This present, living building up is for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal building.

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 outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Oneness with Christ for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemPrior posts showed that our oneness with Christ and oneness in Christ distinguish us from the nations around New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24).

One verse about this is Colossians 3:10-11 which says that in the new man “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” Assuredly, in New Jerusalem Christ will be everything.

First Corinthians 1:30 declares that it is of God that we are in Christ Jesus. This is our position, which is unchangeable. But, is our daily living always, sometimes, or rarely in Christ Jesus? To what extent can we honestly say “for me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)?

If our daily living is according to our upbringing, or is unconscious habit, or is governed by our culture, or is because “everyone does it this way,” then we are not living Christ. Those ways of living might not be bad, but the source is the old creation rather than Christ in us.

Or, we might try to explain our living by “that’s the way I am” or “I was born that way.” Again, these ways might not be bad, but they are not Christ and hence cannot correspond with New Jerusalem.

Our need is expressed in Colossians 3:10. It says we “have put on the new man” and now the new man “is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” Lord, we open to be renewed to match Your image. Renew us into the reality of the new man in our daily living. Conform us to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Our Destiny is New Jerusalem

As a believer in Jesus Christ, what is your future? The important answer is not college, career, family, social action, etc. If, according to 2 Corinthians 4:18, we regard the unseen, eternal things, our future is New Jerusalem, as presented in this excerpt from A&C:*

New JerusalemEphesians 1:5 says that we were predestinated unto sonship, which is for the New Jerusalem. Ephesians 1:11 says that we were predestinated according to His purpose, which is to have the New Jerusalem. Romans 8:29 says that we have been predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son. This is to have the many sons for the New Jerusalem. All this was determined in eternity past.

In time we have been regenerated, and eventually, we will be sanctified, renewed, transformed, conformed, and glorified to become the New Jerusalem. Concerning this, there can be no doubt, for the apostle John saw the New Jerusalem existing as a reality in the sight of God.

Regeneration, our new birth, was quick. Our position, our status is now securely in Christ. But, what about our condition? After our regeneration, we continue in a process of sanctification (Heb. 10:14), renewing (Titus 3:5), transformation (2 Cor. 3:18), and conformation (Rom. 8:29). All these aspects of the Lord’s operation within us bring us toward New Jerusalem.

The final step of this process is glorification (Rom. 8:17) by which our mortal body, the body of our humiliation, may “be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21). This will bring forth New Jerusalem as the composition of all the glorified believers with the glorifying God. This is what John saw and reported to us in Revelation 21–22.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications by authors over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of my posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

New and Being Renewed for New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:1-2, John tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem.” Both the creation and the city are new. We are looking at an article in the Christian journal Affirmation & Critique*. It states,

The new creation is new because God has been wrought into it; the New Jerusalem is new because it is full of God. In order to be part of the New Jerusalem—the new creation of God and for God—the believers in Christ need to be thoroughly and absolutely renewed (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23). Since Christ Himself is the realm of newness, the New Jerusalem will be the ultimate consummation of Christ as the realm of newness and as newness itself.

New JerusalemChrist is the realm of newness and because of this, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). To get into Christ by believing is to have a positional change from the old creation to the new creation.

After this beginning, we still need an ongoing, inward, experiential renewing. This dispositional change is presented to us in Romans 12:2, “be transformed by the renewing of the mind” and Ephesians 4:23, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

In the daily process of renewing (2 Cor. 4:16), God’s element of newness is added into our being to replace and discharge our old element, as the renewing Spirit (Titus 3:5) imparts the divine newness into our being to make us a new creation with the divine life and nature. Through this process of renewing, we are transferred from the realm of the old creation into the realm of the new creation to become the New Jerusalem (Col. 3:10; Rev. 21:2).

First we believe into Christ to become the new creation in Him. Then the Spirit works within us throughout our Christian life to renew our whole being, including inward attitudes and outward living. This produces an organic transfer in us which brings us fully into the new creation for New Jerusalem.

* Affirmation & Critique (A&C) is a Christian Journal published twice a year, © Living Stream Ministry. A&C presents Bible truths in a scholarly manner, with references to and citations from a variety of publications over the entire Christian era. A&C exhibits much appreciation for the person and work of Jesus Christ and our life with Him. This group of posts has short extracts from the article The New Jerusalem—the Consummation of the Divine Economy according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation by Ron Kangas in the Fall 2010 issue.

Created and Saturated for New Jerusalem

God’s eternal purpose was hidden in Him before time. It expresses His desire and points to New Jerusalem in eternity future. As presented in the first half of the song we are reviewing, God wants to dispense Himself into people to build them together in Himself for His glory and praise.

God created all the plants, fish, birds, and animals according to their own kind (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24, 25). In contrast, God did not create man according to man’s kind; rather, God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26) because God created man especially for fulfilling His purpose, .

The man created for God’s purpose has a human spirit as the center of His being. Zechariah 12:1 says, “Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” Here the spirit of man is ranked with the heavens and the earth.

New Jerusalem4_As the center, as the kernel,
____Of God’s plan our spirit is;
__Calling on the name of Jesus
____Makes our spirit one with His.
__From the center to circumference
____God would saturate each part;
__Feeling, mind, and will renewing,
____Making home in all our heart.

The first action God takes in us to fulfill His plan is to enliven our human spirit. This is to be born again, to be regenerated. John 3:6b says, “that which is born of the [divine] Spirit is [our human] spirit.” This regeneration is our first experiential step towards New Jerusalem.

The result of being born again is 1 Corinthians 6:17, “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” From our spirit, God desires to spread to our mind, emotion, and will; for example, Ephesians 4:23 speaks of “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

This renewing by the Spirit (Titus 3:5) in our spirit makes us divinely new to match New Jerusalem, the consummation of all the newness in the Bible.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

According to God’s Mercy He Saved Us

New JerusalemThe prior post focused on Ephesians 2, where God’s mercy is brings us to salvation “that He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of this display.

Titus 3:4-5 say, “the kindness and the love to man of our Savior God appeared, not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

Titus 3:3 (like Ephesians 2:1-3) presents our fallen condition, requiring God’s mercy. Then Titus 3:4-5 (like Ephesians 2:4-6) presents God’s mercy and our salvation. This salvation renews us to be God’s people for the building of God’s habitation.

First Peter 2:9-10 is similar—“you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but now are the people of God; who had not previously been shown mercy but have now been shown mercy.”

Again, mercy has come to us to make us God’s people, His royal priesthood, His holy nation. An issue of this is that we tell out/declare/show forth/proclaim His virtues, His excellencies. Eternally, New Jerusalem will be this telling out, this showing forth, of God’s excellencies.

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 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.

Our Father, Thou Art Forever New !

“He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Only God can make all things new. We are already new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17); corporately we are the new man in Christ and we are being inwardly renewed to His image (Colossians 3:10-11). Ultimately everything God has done will be displayed in the new heaven and new earth with New Jerusalem at the center.

New JerusalemThe first verse and chorus of a hymn* extols God’s newness and freshness:
__Our Father, as the evergreen,
____Thou art forever new;
__Thou art the ever living Lord,
____Thy freshness as the dew.

Chorus
O Father, Thou art unchanging,
__Thou never hast grown old;
Thru countless ages, ever fresh,
__Thy newness doth unfold.

The fourth verse of the hymn speaks about us. We are a new creation and we have a new spirit and new heart, which were promised in Ezekiel 36:26.
__Now we Thy new creation are —
____New spirit and new heart;
__We’re daily from the old renewed,
____New life Thou dost impart.

The fifth verse includes the new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, and the tree of life bearing twelve fruits (Revelation 21:1-2, 22:2).
__The earth and heavens will be new
____And Thy new city share;
__New fruits each month will be supplied,
____For all is newness there.

Eternally New Jerusalem will manifest the ever new God with His thoroughly renewed people as God’s masterpiece in the new creation.

* author: Witness Lee, composer: George F. Rootwordsmusic.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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