New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God (2)

From incarnation, in Jesus Christ “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). From resurrection and ascension the church, His Body, is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Eventually New Jerusalem will display the fullness of the Godhead.

The Body of Christ is the fullness now. Nevertheless, we need to experience much of God’s operating to enter into this reality. Paul prayed for this in Ephesians 3. He said, “I bow my knees unto the Father,” (v. 14) for us to be brought through four stages of experience.
New Jerusalem• “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16)
• “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (v. 17a)
• “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (v. 17b-19a)
• “that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” (v. 19b)

The outcome of this filling is in verses 20-21, “to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”

There is no question about glory in New Jerusalem eternally. But, for glory in the church now, we need to echo Paul’s prayer, Father, strengthen me into my inner man today. Strengthen us that we may be filled for glory to You in the church now. God is able! To him be the glory.

God and New Jerusalem, Forever and Ever

God is eternal. His new creation, with new heavens and a new earth, is eternal. New Jerusalem, the center of the new creation is eternal. Here is a list of the recent “forever and ever” posts which speak about the eternal God in the eternal New Jerusalem.

Glory to God in New JerusalemTo God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in Paul’s epistles and Revelation 1. The glory is to our God, and New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in first Peter. We function as good stewards of the grace of God that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever (4:10-11).

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever: in Jude and Revelation 5 and 7. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever (5:13).

New Jerusalem: Reign Forever and Ever: the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever (Rev. 11:15). God’s slaves also reign forever and ever because they are one with the reigning God (Rev. 22:3, 5). New Jerusalem is the center of this eternal reign.

Jesus Christ, Living Forever and Ever: He is the One who became dead and is living forever. He is our life and life supply in resurrection for us today and in New Jerusalem.

Here is a hymn praising God who flows as living water forever and ever.

Second Corinthians 4:18 reminds us “…the things which are seen [physically/humanly] are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The glory, reigning, and living of God and His city, New Jerusalem, are eternal, forever and ever.

Praises in the Book of Revelation

New JerusalemThere are many praises in Revelation. Some are for what God and the Lamb are and some for what God and the Lamb do. All the praises relate either to judgements on the old creation or bringing forth the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center.

Revelation 4:11: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created.” God created everything according to His will and for His purpose. There is glory and honor to God now and these will be amplified in New Jerusalem.

Revelation 5:12: “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who has been slain to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is a great turn in the universe. Everything of the old creation was put to death and the new creation came forth in resurrection. We do not yet see the out-working of this turn, we should declare Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.

Revelation 7:10: “And they cry with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb.” If we have a heavenly vision, we see God and the Lamb on the throne now, and praise now. In the new creation everyone will see God and the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem and everyone will praise.

Revelation 7:12: “Saying, Amen. The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” We can echo this praise now and certainly will echo it in New Jerusalem forever.

Glory to God Now and in New Jerusalem

Jude 25, ” To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.” Because this verse includes “unto all eternity” it is speaking about New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemGod our Savior and Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the Lamb of God, will be on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3). Because God through Jesus Christ is our Savior, we will share New Jerusalem with Him.

Jude 25 speaks of three time periods: “before all time and now and unto all eternity.” The “before” period has passed but we can cooperate with the Triune God now and unto eternity. What God seeks “unto all eternity” He wants to develop in us “now.”

“Glory, majesty, might, and authority” are four characteristics of the Triune God to be developed in us “now” and displayed “unto all eternity.” Glory is the expression in splendor; majesty, the greatness in honor; might, the strength in power; and authority, the power in ruling.*

Whether we understand these four characteristics or not, we know from Jude that God wants them expressed and we should be assured that the development of this expression is “through Jesus Christ.” We can pray simply, Lord, develop these characteristics in me and in the Christians around me.

Since “glory, majesty, might, and authority” will be to God in eternity, they certainly will be to God in New Jerusalem and in the whole new creation.

*A note in the Online Recovery Version New Testament

The Promise: New Creation, New Jerusalem

This post concludes our look at New Testament verses with the words according to God’s... These eternal characteristics of God bring forth New Jerusalem and constitute us into it.

New Jerusalem1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Regeneration is our first step into New Jerusalem. There is nothing we can do to qualify ourselves for regeneration; Jesus Christ has done it all and according to God’s great mercy we can receive what He has accomplished.

2 Peter 3:13: “But according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” The new creation, with New Jerusalem as its center, is not our uncertain human hope; it is according to God’s promise. New Jerusalem will be full of “eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the times of the ages” (Titus 1:2). God’s promises are from eternity to eternity. Thank Him!

In the verses in this and four prior posts (1 2 3 4) we see God’s eternal plan carried out according to His great mercy, good pleasure, will, purpose, counsel, promise, riches of glory, riches of grace, and the operation of the might of His strength.

All of these divine characteristics are eternal. They are manifested in His actions in eternity past (e.g. predestinating in Eph. 1:5), now (e.g. making known to us the mystery of His will in Eph. 1:9), and at His second coming (e.g. conforming our body of humiliation to His body of glory in Phil. 3:21).

These characteristics and the actions carried out through them have eternal results in New Jerusalem, where we will forever enjoy the riches of His grace and proclaim the riches of His glory.

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

God Supplies Strength for God’s Glory

New JerusalemWe continue in verses with “forever and ever” because these point toward New Jerusalem, the “forever and ever” city.

First Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, as speaking oracles of God; if anyone ministers, as ministering out of the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever.” Here both glory and might are forever and ever. The might links to “the strength which God supplies” and the result is glory.

First Peter 5:11 and Revelation 1:6 also declare, “To Him be the glory and the might forever and ever.” We in ourselves are not qualified to glorify God nor to participate in New Jerusalem. But He supplies us so that He can work in us and through us. This supply is seen also in Philippians 1:19-20:

“For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death.”

The Spirit bountifully supplies us in every kind of situation that we may magnify Christ with God’s boldness (not our own boldness). For this we pray for one another, per Paul’s word “your petition.” The river of water of life (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal bountiful supply, and New Jerusalem is the ultimate magnification of Christ.

Revelation 7:12 is the result of God’s rich and varied supply to us throughout our Christian life. “The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever.” In New Jerusalem we will eternally praise God in all these ways.

 

New Jerusalem: God’s Eternal Glory

New Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). Romans 16:27 says, “To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever.” Because the glory here is forever it points to New Jerusalem. Because this glory is the conclusion of Romans, it shows that the whole of Romans looks to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAfter writing the prior post, I began to wonder how often “glory forever and ever” is in the New Testament. Here are those written by Paul (Peter and John in later posts).
Galatians 1:5, “To whom be the glory forever and ever.”
Ephesians 3:21, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever.”
Philippians 4:20, “Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.
2 Timothy 4:18b, “to whom be the glory forever and ever.”
Hebrews 13:21b, “to Him be the glory forever and ever.”

These verses speak of glory to God, to our God and Father, and to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one glory because, as the Lord said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”

This eternal glory dwells in and is expressed by New Jerusalem, because New Jerusalem, as the conclusion of the Bible, is the consummation of all positive things in the Bible.

Additionally, Hebrews 1:8 says “But of the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” This eternal throne is “the throne of God and of the Lamb” in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 3). One throne for both God and the Lamb also bespeaks their oneness.

To paraphrase the verses above, Glory be to our God and Father both now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of US National Park Service.

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever

The conclusion of Romans is “Now to Him…to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (16:25-27) This anticipates New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

In its conclusion this book [Romans] …gives glory to the wise God. This unveils that all the matters discussed in this book, such as how God selects us, how He saves us from sin and death, how He redeems us and justifies us, how He makes us, sinners who were dead through and through, His divine sons, how He transfers us out of Adam into Christ, how He sanctifies and transforms us in Christ, how He makes us the members of Christ for the constituting of the Body of Christ, and how He causes us to be the local churches appearing in different localities as the expressions of the Body of Christ on the earth in this age — all these matters are planned, managed, and accomplished by God’s wisdom, in order that He, the unlimitedly rich Triune God, may be glorified, that is, that His incomparable glory may be completely and fully expressed through us.*

New JerusalemRomans 3:23 says that sin separated us from the glory of God. Nevertheless, God has worked in Christ to incorporate us with His glory.

This work, described in the excerpt above, includes redemption, regeneration, transfer from Adam to Christ, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and participation in the Body of Christ. These all conclude with glory to God in Romans 16:25-27, pointing to the glory of New Jerusalem.

This work is God “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10). However, glory is not only a realm into which we enter. Second Corinthians 3:18 says we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” and 2 Thessalonians 1:10 says our Lord Jesus Christ “comes to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed.” God’s operation in us today is bringing forth New Jerusalem’s glory.

*From the footnote on Romans 16:27 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Photo courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

The Riches and Fullness of the Triune God

The Triune God is unsearchably rich. These riches are in Christ and have been announced to us as the gospel, the good news (Eph. 3:8). The announcing enlightens us to see the mystery of God with the result that “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” now (Eph 3:9-10) and through New Jerusalem in eternity.

The riches of Christ are all that Christ is and has and all that He has accomplished, attained, and obtained. The fullness of Christ is the result and issue of our enjoyment of these riches. When the riches of Christ are assimilated into our being metabolically, they constitute us to be the fullness of Christ, the Body of Christ, the church, as His expression.*

Lake Leman near Lausanne

Here are prior posts about the riches and the fullness of God.

The Riches of God’s Glory In Ephesians 3 Paul prayed that the Father would strengthen us “according to the riches of His glory.” The outcome is an upward progression resulting in glory to God now in the church and eternally in New Jerusalem.

O the Depth of the Riches & Wisdom of God! Romans 11:33-36 is praise of “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” It concludes, “To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Riches of God’s Glory, Now, New Jerusalem Romans 9:23: God wants to “make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory New Jerusalem, the city of God’s glory, is a mystery. But God “willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

Unsearchable Riches in New Jerusalem God works on and in us according to His riches, so  “That He might display in the ages to come the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Christ as the Riches in Christian Life The Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). Through the renewing of this Spirit, we become new to match New Jerusalem.

The Good News of the Riches of Christ A hymn (words music) says, “O the riches, O the riches, Christ my Savior is to me! How unsearchable their measure, Yet my full reality!”

New Jerusalem has the Fullness of Christ Ephesians 4:11-13 speaks about all the believers being perfected “unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all arrive…at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

New Jerusalem: Fullness of the Triune God In this age the church “is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). In eternity New Jerusalem will be this fullness.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ Another hymn (words music) says, “Riches of Christ we should enjoy And then His fulness we will be; Partaking of His very self, His testimony men will see.”

*From footnote 3 on Ephesians 3:19 in NT Recovery Version Online.

Glory to God, Now and New Jerusalem

In my Bible reading, I came to Jude. Verses 24-25 say, “But to Him who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you before His glory without blemish in exultation, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, might, and authority before all time and now and unto all eternity. Amen.”

New JerusalemThe phrase “before His glory” reminded me of New Jerusalem, which radiates the glory of God, and the throne in New Jerusalem which is the source of the radiant glory. Of course, “before His glory” is also when the Lord returns visibly (Matt. 25:31) and in His kingdom.

God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord brings us to the glory “without blemish.” For us to be in the glory and to be glorious, we must be without blemish.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us “to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God is faithful to accomplish what He has said! Ephesians 5:25-27 tell us that Jesus Christ gave Himself for the church (in death), that He is washing the church in the water in His word (now), and that (at His return) He will “present the church to Himself glorious…without blemish.” This is His operating to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

We cannot be glorious nor be without blemish by our own effort, but we can cooperate with His operation. Philippians 2:12-15 speak of our “working out our own salvation” by cooperating with “God who operates in us” that we may be “children of God without blemish” shining in the world. The shining is a precursor to the glory of New Jerusalem.

Peter also speaks of our cooperation. He says that since we are expecting new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13), including New Jerusalem, we should “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (3:14).

We thank our God and Savior for choosing us, dying for us, washing us, operating in us, and guarding us. May He now keep us cooperating daily. To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory!

Photo courtesy of Burning Well.

Church, City Full of Christ to Express Christ

Recent posts have been about the riches of Christ to us and the fullness of God. By enjoying the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8), we are filled to the fullness of God (3:19). This brings forth glory to God both now and eternally in New Jerusalem (3:21).

New JerusalemThe first verse of a hymn (words music) by  Witness Lee is:
__Riches of Christ we should enjoy
__And then His fulness we will be;
__Partaking of His very self,
__His testimony men will see.

God’s testimony today is the church; in eternity it will be New Jerusalem. What we take in is what we express. If we eat much garlic, we put forth the aroma of garlic with no difficulty. If we spent many hours every day watching the Olympic Games, that is what we effortlessly talked about.

If we enjoy riches of Christ, He will be expressed both in our speaking and also in our living. God desires to bring us to such experiences, so that God may be expressed now, and even more by New Jerusalem.

The last verse of the hymn is:
__Christ’s riches are Himself within,
__His fulness is the Church without,
__As His expression, full of Him;
__The Church with Christ is built throughout.

“Christ’s riches are Himself.” I could send you a rich gift by UPS or FedEx but that would be separate from my person. Christ is different! John 8:12—He is the light; when we receive light (one of His riches), we receive Him. Likewise in John 14:6—He Himself is our way, our reality, and our life. Jesus often says, “I am…” because He is!

Christ’s riches are Himself within, both today and in New Jerusalem. His fulness is the Church today and New Jerusalem in the future, both as His expression.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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