God Gave Us a Guarantee

Three verses in the New Testament speak of the Spirit as a pledge/deposit/guarantee/ down payment*. A fuller meaning is that which is assured by God to believers…the Divine pledge of all future blessings**. These future blessings include New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemSecond Corinthians 1:22 tells us that God has “sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” The Spirit as a pledge, a down payment, means that we will receive more of the Spirit in the future. Eternally, the Spirit is portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

Second Corinthians 5:5 also speaks of the Spirit as a pledge. Our guarantee is not a thing or a legal document; rather it is the Spirit Himself, the Spirit who is the reality and who guides us into all the reality (John 16:13).

Ephesians 1:13b-14 says “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.”

God put His Spirit within us and also sealed us with this Spirit. This sealing keeps us for our divine inheritance, which is much more of the Triune God in the next age and the fullest portion in New Jerusalem for eternity.

In Ephesians 1 the Spirit as a pledge guarantees the redemption of our mortal body “to the praise of His glory.” God’s glory will fully shine forth from New Jerusalem and the entire universe will praise Him.


* Various translations in these verses, thanks to Bible Hub.
** Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

Two Aspects of Redemption on Our Path to New Jerusalem (2)

In Christ Jesus we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, through which we become sons of God. This redemption has been fully accomplished and is eternal. This is the first step on our path to New Jerusalem.

Based on redemption, we become sons of God by His life entering into us. This is the new birth, the regeneration, of our spirit. This life gradually spreads into our soul to renew and transform us*. Now, as Christians, “who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23).

New JerusalemWe already are sons of God, but we are in the initial stage of sonship. We eagerly await the full sonship, “the redemption of our body.” This is the second step of redemption on our path to New Jerusalem. This will transpire at the Lord’s second coming.

Ephesians 1 tells us that we were sealed with the Holy Spirit “who is the pledge/ guarantee of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession.” God is our inheritance both today and in a fuller way when our body is redeemed.

We need to cooperate to reach this goal. Ephesians 4 cautions us, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.” The Spirit is working in us to transform our soul, to prepare us for the redemption of our body and take us unto New Jerusalem. We hinder this work and grieve the Spirit when we disobey the Spirit and live according to the flesh.

* See verses (and footnotes) in Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:18, Eph. 4:23, Titus 3:5.

Spiritual Blessings for New Jerusalem (6)

Ephesians 1:3-14 presents God’s spiritual blessings to us in Christ. Three times we are told that these blessings are to the praise of His glory. This goal links Ephesians 1 with New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

New JerusalemEphesians 1:13 says, “In whom [Christ] you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise.” Like many prior phrases, the actions here are “in Christ.”

We heard the word of the truth, the gospel of our salvation. We heard because God is “the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). Our hearing generated faith within us (Rom. 10:17). This faith brought us salvation. This salvation includes the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

The seal indicates that we belong to God. It is like a name tag on an object, except that it is living and inward. We belong to God for His purpose which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

We are sealed with “the Holy Spirit of the promise.” This promise includes all of God’s blessings in Christ. The concluding portions are “the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15) and “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13) both of which point to New Jerusalem.

The Holy Spirit of the promise is also “the pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:14). First Peter 1:4 tells us that this inheritance is “incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.” Like the promise in verse 13, the inheritance in verse 14 ( ) points to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Partake of God’s Holiness for the Holy City

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

Regensdorf-Watt, SchweizA series of posts looked at God’s impartation of His holiness into His chosen people. This series did not touch holy days, holy garments, holy places, etc. and only looked at a minority of the verses about God’s holy people.

Here is a summary and link to each of the posts.
A. God’s basic word is in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy because I am holy.” Our being holy is a result of the life we received in regeneration (1 Peter 2:9, 1:23).
B. Jesus Christ came to establish the new covenant promised in Jeremiah 31. He was “begotten of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20), is “the Holy One” in His human living (John 6:69), in His death and resurrection (Acts 3:14), and in His ascension (Revelation 3:7).
C. It is of God that we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
D. God “saved us and called us with a holy calling…” (2 Timothy 1:9) and we “were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
E. Hebrews 10:10 says “we have been sanctified…once for all.” This speaks of a fact accomplished by the Lord and applied to us. Hebrews 10:14 says we “are being sanctified.” This speaks of His gradual working of the fact into all our being and all our living.
F. Ephesians 2:21 says that in Christ we are “growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” This is an ongoing experience by the washing of the water in the word (Ephesians 5:26-27).
G. We pursue sanctification (Hebrews 12:14) and exercise to be holy by contacting the One who is holy. Such contact is in spirit by our prayer, singing, praising, reading, or speaking.
H. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says “…God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” He disciplines us “that we might partake of His holiness.” Don’t be discouraged; God’s choosing and discipline will bring forth our sanctification.
I. As we are pursuing a holy manner of life, we are “expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12). Come Lord Jesus!
J. In Hebrews 2:10 God is leading many sons into glory and in verses 11-12 the Lord (“He who sanctifies”) is singing praises to the Father in our (“we who are being sanctified”) singing.

God’s choosing and calling of us, Jesus Christ the Holy One as our sanctification, and the Spirit’s sanctifying work in us bring us onward to “the coming of the day of God” and New Jerusalem.

Reminder: the English words holy/holiness (from an Anglo-Saxon root) and sanctify/sanctification (from a Latin root) seem very different, but they are translations of closely related NT Greek words.

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.

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.

The Holy Spirit Renews Us

New Jerusalem is the holy city, Jesus Christ is the Holy One, and in Him we are God’s saints, God’s holy people.

New JerusalemWe are not holy in ourselves nor because of our doing. Rather, God “chose us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). That was in eternity.

Now, in time, according to the will of God, Jesus died, and by His death “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

Based on this once-for-all offering, God “saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:9). As a result of this holy calling we “heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation” and believed in Jesus Christ, and we “were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise” (Ephesians 1:13).

Furthermore, in Titus 3:5 we read that God, “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.” The Holy Spirit renews us to match both the holiness and newness of New Jerusalem.

All of these steps of sanctification are of God and according to His purpose, which ultimately is to mingle with His holy people in the holy city, 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.

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