Growth, Transformation for New Jerusalem

The prior posts are about our growth and transformation to bring us into New Jerusalem. The garden of Eden has many parallels with New Jerusalem, but man in the garden was merely a created being without God’s life. Now we have Christ’s redemption, Christ as our life within (Col. 3:4), and we cooperate with this life for growth, transformation, and maturity to manifest God as members of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

These posts are from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, by Witness Lee, © LSM. Here is a highlight from each post, in the order published, with one significant verse (or more) and a link to the post.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God The garden of Eden and New Jerusalem are a paradise. The tree of life is in each one (Gen. 2:9, Rev. 22:2) as the divine life supply.

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place of God (2) Both the garden and the city have the tree of life, the river of life (Rev. 22:1), and precious materials. What God did in the beginning is related to His ultimate goal.

New Jerusalem: God Manifest in Glory God reaches His goal by imparting Himself as life into man. “When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4)

New Jerusalem: Dwelling Place and Bride New Jerusalem is both a glorious city and a prepared bride (Rev. 21:2, 9-11). To reach this goal, the Lord is sanctifying the church to be glorious, without any spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:26-27).

New Jerusalem: God and Man Mingled In the garden man and God were separate. In the city we are mingled through God’s regenerating and transforming work (2 Cor. 3:18).

We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem God builds us into the city by His work in us which conforms us the the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29) so that the city expresses Him.

We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem (2) We do not enter the city as beings separate from it. Rather, God is building us into the city now. Ephesians 2:22—we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

We Are Being Renewed into New Jerusalem Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Colossians 3:10, and Titus 3:5 all speak of the on-going renewing work within us to make us thoroughly new for New Jerusalem.

Built Up to Become New Jerusalem After regeneration, God’s renewing and transforming work in us builds us into the city. Acts 20:32 and Romans 14:19 are two of many verses about this building work.

Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem For the reality of New Jerusalem we need not only Christ as life but more to grow until we arrive “at a full-grown man” (Eph. 4:12-13).

Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem (2) For our maturity we need to see more of Christ, count all else as loss, know Him experientially, and pursue Him daily (Phil. 3:7-15).

Growing in God’s Life unto New Jerusalem Our initial salvation brings Christ as life into us. Now our need is to grow in this life, a growth which transforms us into His glorious image (2 Cor. 3:18)

Growth and Maturity for New Jerusalem (2)

The garden of Eden was God’s beginning with man. Since it was a beginning, no growth was required. New Jerusalem is God’s conclusion, God’s final step with man, and the city requires maturity.

To be in the garden of Eden did not require the growth in life. Once man was created, he was put in the garden of Eden….However, to be in the Paradise of the New Jerusalem requires our whole being—our spirit and soul with our body—to be prepared and completely transformed. It requires the growth and maturity in life so that we may participate in God’s eternal dwelling place.*

New JerusalemThe prior post quoted Colossians 1:28 and Ephesians 3:12-13 about God’s desire that we be full-grown, mature. The concluding words of 1 Corinthians exhort us “Watch, stand firm in the faith, be full-grown men, be strong” (16:13).

Philippians 3:7-15 presents a course to maturity. We need to see Jesus Christ to the extend that things which were gains to us, and even everything else, is counted as loss that we might gain Christ. Then we are “found in Him,” found living Him as our righteousness. Also, we seek to know Him and the power of His resurrection to be saved from self. And we forget things behind and stretch forward, pursuing toward full growth in Christ as our goal.

May the Lord stir in us this attitude and desire to forget everything else to grow in Christ to a maturity that matches New Jerusalem.

* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Built Up to Become New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is God’s full manifestation in the universe, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). God dwells in the city and expresses Himself through the city.

New JerusalemIn John 6:33 and 6:58 Jesus is the One “who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.” This imparts the heavenly, divine, eternal life into men. By this life we are built into New Jerusalem. Ultimately, New Jerusalem “comes down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2).

Heaven is the dwelling place of God. When the New Jerusalem is manifested, this dwelling place of God will be us, and we will be the dwelling place. Heaven is being built into us, and we are being built into heaven. We are not only being joined with God but also with heaven. Thus, God’s thought is not merely that man would be saved, have his sins forgiven, and have God’s life. God wants man to be transformed, to grow in life unto maturity, to let Christ be formed in him, and to be conformed into the Lord’s image. Then man will be built up to become the New Jerusalem, the eternal Paradise.*

The quote above is based on many verses. Some of these verses: transformed—Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18, to grow unto maturity—Ephesians 4:13, Colossians 1:28, Christ formed in us—Galatians 4:19, conformed to His image—Romans 8:29.

All of these operations of the Lord’s life in us are for building up—Acts 20:32, Romans 14:19, 1 Corinthians 14:12, 26, Ephesians 4:29, and many other verses. New Jerusalem is the consummation of God’s building work.

* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.


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, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

Photo by Dr. Dwayne Meadows, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

We Are Being Built into New Jerusalem (2)

Ephesians 2:22 declares that we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit,” Colossians 2:7 that we are “being built up in Him,” and 1 Peter 2:5 that we “are being built up as a spiritual house.” Each of these are God’s current building work in us wich ultimately brings forth New Jerusalem.

Our entering into the New Jerusalem is not simply an entering in. It is God’s working in us to the point that we have become mature and have been thoroughly dealt with to become pure gold and precious stone. At that time we will spontaneously be in the New Jerusalem. Do not think that God will one day put us in the New Jerusalem even if we have not been thoroughly worked on by God and are still men of clay with very little of God’s life, the pure gold, inside of us….The correct concept in the Bible is that God is working in us with His life. This requires our cooperation to allow His life to transform us inwardly so that we may be changed from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).*

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 15:52 does says, “in the twinkling of an eye…the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” This sudden change is in our mortal bodies. But God’s intention is that this change follow our life-long transfor-mation. This process, including our renewing, dispositional sanctification, and transformation is gradual. “Let us be brought on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1).

Paul certainly was active in seeking and cooperating with the Lord and letting the Lord work in him. Yet after about 30 years as a Christian he was still pursuing (Phil. 3:7-14). May we follow this example, always being active for God’s current work to build New Jerusalem into us.

* This post begins the second half of a series with excerpts from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

New Jerusalem: God and Man Mingled

The garden of Eden and New Jerusalem mirror each other. The garden unfolds God’s purpose and the city shows the completion. God and man are present in the garden but are separate. In New Jerusalem God and man are present in a merged, mingled way.

In the garden of Eden in Genesis, we see man, pure gold, and precious stones. The man, the pure gold, and the precious stones are separate from each other. When we come to the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, we see pure gold and precious stones but no man. Where is man? Can anyone find man in the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21? In Genesis we can see man in the garden of Eden, but in Revelation we cannot see man in the New Jerusalem. Why is this? This is because the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 is the issue of God’s work in man throughout the ages. The city, the place itself, is man. In the New Jerusalem, man, the pure gold, and the precious stones are one and cannot be separated.*

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the mingling of God and man, accomplished by man’s willing cooperation with God’s work in man. God’s work begins with His Spirit regenerating our human spirit (John 3:6), making us alive with God’s life. This is the beginning of God’s work in man.

God continues with the Spirit’s transforming work in us and concludes with the transfiguration of our mortal bodies when the Lord Jesus returns visibly. The goal of this work is to conform us to His image, as clearly presented in Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Philippians 3:21.

Because God’s work in us conforms us to His image, New Jerusalem is not only the manifestation of God but even more the manifestation of God in man.

* The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 3, Witness Lee, © LSM.

No Dust in New Jerusalem

Genesis 2:7—”Jehovah God formed man with the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”

New Jerusalem“Dust of the ground” was the material used in the creation of Adam at the beginning of the Bible. But at the end of the Bible we see New Jerusalem composed of pure gold, like clear glass (Rev. 21:18), pearls (21:21), and precious stones (21:11, 18-20).

It is by the divine life, the eternal life, that man is transferred from dust of the ground to the precious city. In Genesis 2 this life is portrayed by the tree of life. In the New Testament this life is Jesus Christ (John 11:25, 14:6).

In eternity past we were foreknown and predestinated by God to this life (but we still need to cooperate in time to receive it). On the cross Jesus Christ accomplished redemption to solve all the problems which shut us out from the tree of life because of the fall of man (Gen. 3:22-24).

Now man can be regenerated, born in spirit with this life (John 3:6) to possess this life. Then, throughout our Christian life on earth, this life transforms us, renews us. This is clearly presented in Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, and Ephesians 4:23. This transformation changes our constitution from dust to precious material so that we match New Jerusalem.

When the Lord Jesus returns He will transfigure “the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21). The is our final step from dust to precious material for New Jerusalem.

More: Five Steps to New Jerusalem (1)  (2)  (3)

 

Transformation, Renewing, Sanctification, Washing for New Jerusalem

Every human being is born into the old creation. Every human being who turns to God and believes into Jesus Christ is born a second time, born again, into the new creation. The culmination of this new creation is “a new heaven and a new earth” with “the holy city, New Jerusalem” as its center (Rev. 21:1-2).

Being born again is a positional transfer into the new creation and a gaining of the life of the new creation. Being born again is also a guarantee that our condition, our inner nature, will change to fully match New Jerusalem in the new creation. In our second birth Jesus Christ as the Spirit enlivens our human spirit and remains within us eternally. He is our guarantee.

New JerusalemHis growth and spreading within us transforms, renews, sanctifies, washes us, changing our inward nature from the old to the new creation, to the shining of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 5 speaks of the “washing of the water in the word.” This is not the printed word of the Bible but the living word which comes through the Bible page in front of us or the Bible memory within us.

This living word is the Spirit and the Spirit is the flow of life in us. John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life…the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” We experience this living word when a passage of the Bible becomes so bubbling in us, or when we receive fresh light on it, or when the Spirit applies it to our personal situation.

In our present experience the living word is irregular but in New Jerusalem the Spirit flows constantly as the river of water of life.

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Prior posts speak of our transformation by the Spirit’s renewing to bring forth New Jerusalem as the full expression of the Triune God. Our transformation and renewing from men of dust in the old creation to living stones in the new creation is also a sanctification, a washing. Transformation, renewing, and washing are not separate actions but three views of the same action.

New JerusalemThere are two washings in our Christian life. One is the cleansing from sins by the blood of Jesus. That is a judicial matter. The other washing is living, by the flow of His life within us. This post is about the living washing.

Titus 3:5: “according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Regeneration, being born again, is a once for all matter. But regeneration brings eternal life into us and this life is a flowing life. This flow, portrayed by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem, washes us continually.

Ephesians 5:25-27 also speaks of our sanctification by this washing: “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things.”

On the cross Christ gave Himself to gain the church. Now He is “cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.” The goal of this washing is that the church, as the forerunner of New Jerusalem, be glorious, radiating the glory of God.

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Both God on the throne (Rev. 4:3) and New Jerusalem (21:11) have the appearance of jasper. In this way, New Jerusalem is the expression of God.

New Jerusalem is a composition of the Triune God and all His people. We were created from dust but through regeneration and transformation, we gain God’s nature and appearance. This makes New Jerusalem the expression of God. Transformation brings our entire being from the old creation to the new creation where New Jerusalem is.

New JerusalemRomans 12:2 tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. This renewing is accomplished by the Spirit who dwells within us from our regeneration all the way into New Jerusalem.

Titus 3:4-5: “When 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.”

We were dead spiritually (Eph. 2:1) but the Spirit has regenerated us, making our Spirit alive. John 3:6b “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The Spirit does not merely make us alive and then leave. Rather, the Spirit dwells within us forever. This indwelling Spirit renews us by spreading from our spirit to our mind, the leading part of our soul, our psychological being.

The renewal by the Spirit’s spreading is actually the Spirit Himself as the newness. He guides us “into all the reality” (John 16:13). Thus we gain the Triune God’s newness for His expression by New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Revelation 4 says that God on the throne has the appearance of jasper and Revelation 21 says that New Jerusalem shines like a jasper stone. Thus New Jerusalem matches and fully expresses God.

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is like a jasper stone because all who have believed into Jesus Christ have not only been regenrated with Him as the eternal life but also have been transformed into His image. Second Corinthians 3:18 speaks of this.

“We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”

From regeneration we are gradually transformed “into the same image,” that is, into the image of our Lord.

This transformation is a renewing (Rom. 12:2) which brings our entire being out of the old creation and into the new creation to match New Jerusalem.

This transformation is also “from glory to glory” which prepares us for New Jerusalem, a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Transformation requires our cooperation. Second Corinthians 3:16-18 shows that transformation occurs as we turn our heart to the Lord. Likewise, the conformation to the image of God’s Son in Romans 8:29 takes place in “those who love God.”

May we all love the Lord and love His appearing thereby letting the Spirit transform us into His glorious image for New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: the Full Expression of God

Revelation declares “He who was sitting [on the throne] was like a jasper stone” (4:3), “her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone” (21:11), and “the building work of its wall was jasper” (21:18). The first quote refers to God, the other two to New Jerusalem.

God’s appearance is like jasper (4:3), and the entire city has the appearance of jasper. This means that the entire New Jerusalem looks like God, which is the fulfillment of Genesis 1:26. God made man in His image to express Himself. When the New Jerusalem comes, all of God’s people will bear God’s expression, God’s image, God’s appearance. All of God’s people will be fully transformed for the full expression of the Triune God.*

New JerusalemGod created man from the dust of the ground. But in regeneration His life enters into us and begins a process of transformation. This gradually changes us from clay to precious stones, of which jasper is foremost in the description of New Jerusalem.

The Spirit works within us for this transformation, and God also uses our outward environment. Romans 8:28-29, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

The “good” toward which everything works is our conformation to the image of God’s Son. At the completion of this work, New Jerusalem, with all God’s transformed-conformed people builded together, will be the full expression of the Triune God.

* The Divine Economy, chapter 15, by Witness Lee

Organic Union with the Triune God

The description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22 is full of spiritual signs. Among these signs are the materials—gold signifying the Father’s divine nature, and pearls portraying the Son’s redemptive death and regenerating resurrection. These become our entrance into the kingdom of God which consummates in New Jerusalem.

In the New Jerusalem the precious stones are we plus the Spirit. The transforming Spirit becomes one with us, His transformed ones. Therefore, the pearls are Christ and we, and the wall of precious stones is the Spirit and we. These two items, the pearls and the precious stones, indicate that the second of the Triune God and the third of the Triune God have made Themselves one with us. Without the Spirit it would be impossible for us as pieces of clay to become jasper, bearing the same appearance as God. But now we have the life-giving Spirit, who is actually the consummated Triune God, in us, making us one with Him. Thus, we are altogether in the organic union with the Triune God.*

New JerusalemThe Lord spoke about this organic union in John’s gospel. For example, He said that in resurrection “you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” The Lord lives in us and we live in Him. In the epistles this thought continues—many verses speak about Christ in us and us in Christ.

Romans 8:9 declares that the Spirit dwells in us and in 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are being transformed by the Lord Spirit. This organic union is for our Christian life today and for eternity in New Jerusalem.

* The Organic Union in God’s Relationship with Man, chapter 6, by Witness Lee.

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