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

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)

While we are growing in our Christian life we are also being perfected. Our maturity in life and our perfection (Matt. 5:48) match New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemOur perfection includes transformation. Romans 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.”

The result of transformation is that we corporately show forth the will of God. This will is good, in God’s sight, as is New Jerusalem. However, there may be outward events which help our transformation, which are not “good” according to our understanding.

In the same way, Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” Again, this is God’s view of “good” and it applies to those who love God, those who are foreknown and predestinated by Him in eternity past to go through a process in order to be glorified (8:29-30). This glory ultimately is New Jerusalem.

Our transformation, the renewing of our mind, includes a change in our concept of “good.” God’s view of “good” is that we be transformed, conformed to the image of His Son (8:29), and glorified for New Jerusalem. This is far beyond a good job, a good, car, a good vacation, good food, etc.

Paul was pursuing God’s “good” (Phil. 3:12-14). Hence, in physical things he was content to abound or to be abased (Phil. 4:11-12).

The will of God in Romans 12 is well pleasing to Him, and to us when we are one with Him. God has predestinated us from eternity for His good pleasure (Eph. 1:5). And His good pleasure consummates in eternity with New Jerusalem. The will of God, including New Jerusalem, is perfect since God is perfect.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem is Heavenly on Earth

New Jerusalem is heavenly in nature but in position it is on earth. John saw New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2, 10). The phrase “out of heaven,” twice in Revelation 21, means it is no longer in heaven.

Matthew has multiple verses speaking of the “heavenly Father.” New Jerusalem is heavenly because the Father, the source of life, is heavenly. Through regeneration we received this heavenly life so that we can grow up to be the heavenly members of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemBelieving in Jesus Christ for our new birth is our response to the “heavenly calling” which has come to us and of which we are now partakers (Heb. 3:1) . We are called to Jesus Christ, to God the Father, and to the heavenly city Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us that due to God’s rich mercy He made us alive with Christ. Then verse 6, “and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” We were made alive with the divine life, the heavenly life, then seated in the heavenlies with Christ. Physically we are on earth but spiritually we are in a heavenly position

First Corinthians 15:49 declares, “even as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” We have the earthly image because, as human beings, we have an earthly life. Now we have been reborn of a heavenly Father, and are being transformed into His image.

This transformation is presented in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “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.” As we behold the Lord, His glory is infused into us to develop this glorious, heavenly image in us. This matches New Jerusalem, which “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11).

Photo courtesy of Heather Martin.

No Money in New Jerusalem & New Creation

In considering what will not be in New Jerusalem I was attracted to Luke 16:9 where the Lord Jesus tells us that money, the mammon* of unrighteousness, will fail. There will be no money in New Jerusalem.

All forms of human wealth are corruptible and unrighteousness and generate greed, as in the following verses. Hence no money, no human wealth, will be in New Jerusalem.
❖ “Corruptible things…silver or gold…” (1 Peter 1:18)
❖ “The mammon of unrighteousness” (Luke 16:9)
❖ “The deceitfulness of riches” (Matt 13:22)
❖ “The love of money is a root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10)
❖ “Put to death…greediness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5)

New JerusalemDo not imagine that the gold, pearls, and precious stones in the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 are corruptible physical riches. No. These represent precious, divine materials: God’s nature, Christ’s redemption, and the Spirit’s work in us.

The wealth of New Jerusalem is the “surpassing riches of God’s grace” (Eph. 2:7) and the  “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). These riches are not only in New Jerusalem but also for us today. For example, in Ephesians 3:16 Paul prayed that God would strengthen us into our inner man “according to the riches of His glory.”

The Lord concludes His speaking in Luke 16 about unrighteous mammon saying, “No household servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Let us declare, Lord Jesus, I love You; I give myself to serve You. Lord, save me from mammon.

Here are my other “NO” posts, showing what is NOT in New Jerusalem.
New Jerusalem: No Darkness, No Death
Neither Sin nor Death in New Jerusalem
No Tree of Knowledge in New Jerusalem
No Unrighteousness in New Jerusalem
Neither Sin nor Satan in New Jerusalem
No Curse in New Jerusalem
Neither Tears nor Sorrow nor Crying nor Pain in New Jerusalem
NO Physical Gold in New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem: No Night There
No Night in New Jerusalem
No Beasts in or near New Jerusalem
In the Garden of Eden but not in New Jerusalem

* Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning money. At biblehub.com some versions have mammon of unrighteousness, others worldly wealth or unrighteous wealth or unrighteous money. (Aramaic was the common language in Judea in the first century.)

New Jerusalem: God Mingled with Man

A hymn on God’s eternal purpose proceeds from creation in Genesis 1–2 to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Verse 3 of the hymn is about our Christian life today and verse 4 goes on to New Jerusalem. Here they are:New Jerusalem

Verse 3 begins with the rich flowing of God’s life. This flow is portrayed by the river in Genesis 2; the reality is the Spirit as rivers of living water in John 7; and the consum-mation is the Spirit as the river from the throne in New Jerusalem in Revelation 22.

This flow of eternal life transforms us into precious stones and conforms us to Christ for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Verse 4 of the hymn speaks of God mingling with man, making His home in us, and becoming our content so that we can share His glory and express Him. Here is one New Testament verse touching each of these points.
“My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19)
“That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17a)
“You may be filled unto all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19b)
“If indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:17b)
“With all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body” (Phil 1:20b)

It is by Christ as life in us that we become God’s expression, both in this age and in New Jerusalem. God created man to express Him in life. He is not looking for a static expression like a work of art. We are living stones to be the house, the temple, of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16) to serve Him by His life. The Christ we live becomes the Christ we express, today in some limited degree and in New Jerusalem in full.

Living, Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Here is a summary of recent posts on Christ as the chosen, living, and precious Stone and His believers as living, precious stones. These stones are for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Christ is the Chosen, Precious, Living Stone – In 1 Peter 2:4-8 Christ is a chosen, precious, living Stone. In Acts 4 and Eph. 2 He is the Cornerstone in whom we are built together.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem – The Lord is the living Stone. By coming to Him, we become living stones for the building of God’s house today (1 Peter 2:4-5) which will grow into New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Like a Precious Jasper Stone – God on the throne in Revelation 4 has the appearance of a jasper stone, and the whole city has the same appearance. New Jerusalem is the corporate expression of God on the throne.

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem – The precious faith we have received enables us to lay hold of the precious promises given to us by God (2 Peter 1:1, 4). By these we are constituted precious stones.

New Jerusalem Displays the Beauty of Christ – The twelve precious stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem, and the appearance of the whole city as a most precious jasper stone, display the beauty of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

New Jerusalem

Here are links to some older posts about the precious stones of New Jerusalem:

Precious Stones Adorn New Jerusalem – The preciousness is not external but is by the Spirit’s working within us.

Transformation Produces Precious Stones – The Spirit’s working within us transforms us so that the preciousness of Christ may be expressed through us.

Precious Stones on the Foundations – The twelve foundations each correspond to one precious stone; these declare the eternal perfection and fullness of the wall.

The Stones Express God – The whole of New Jerusalem, its wall, and its first foundation are all jasper, expressing the God who sits on the throne.

We All are Living Stones for New Jerusalem

In the New Testament, stones signify living persons. Jesus Christ is a living and precious Stone. God’s New Testament building, including New Jerusalem, is in Him, the Cornerstone in resurrection (Eph. 2:20-21).

New Jerusalem In the natural realm, human beings are vessels of clay (Rom 9:21), earthen vessels (2 Cor 4:7). In contrast, New Jerusalem has no clay, no dirt, only precious materials. How then can men of clay participate in New Jerusalem?

The answer is that in regeneration, in resurrection, the Lord makes us stones. When the Lord Jesus first met Simon, He told Him, “You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).” Both Cephas (Aramaic*) and Peter (Greek) mean “stone.”

This change of name indicates a change of person, a change of constitution. In God’s salvation, the Lord transforms men of clay into stones for His building.

Peter tells us “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This house will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem. We become living stones by coming to Jesus Christ mot only once but by coming to Him continually.

As we come to Him, he infuses us with His stone nature, reconstituting us from clay to stone. This builds us together as God’s spiritual house and prepares us for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal dwelling. In the context of Peter’s epistle, our “coming to Him” involves putting away evil things (2:1) and holding to His living and abiding word (1:22-25, 2:2-3). This is our path to New Jerusalem.

*The common language in Judea and Galilee in the first century.

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.

A House and a City Built Together in Christ

New Jerusalem

Revelation is a book of signs (1:1). New Jerusalem is the consummate sign in Revelation and in the Bible. It is God and all His redeemed people living in mutuality.

Here is an excerpt* about New Jerusalem from the ministry of Witness Lee.

The New Jerusalem is not an actual city just as the lampstands are not actual lampstands but signs of the churches [Rev. 1:20]. The New Jerusalem is a great sign of the totality of all God’s chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people. The church today is a house, the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The house of God today is not an actual house but the totality of God’s people. The church today as God’s temple, God’s house, God’s building, is not an actual physical building but is a sign signifying that the church’s function is to be a house in which the Triune God can dwell.

Today the church is a house, and in eternity the church will be enlarged. When the church is enlarged, it becomes a city. The church as a house is not an actual physical house in the same way that the church enlarged to be the holy city will not be an actual physical city. The New Jerusalem is a city signifying the church’s function in eternity to be God’s dwelling place.

The church today, all the believers in Christ Jesus built together in Him, is a precursor of New Jerusalem. Many verses in the New Testament present this view, and no verse treats the church as a physical building.

Ephesians 2:19-20 declares that we are “members of the household of God, being built…” We, not a physical structure, get built together. Verse 21 continues, “In whom [Christ Jesus] all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” We are being built together in Him, not in a physical location. Also, this building is growing because its essence is the divine life.

First Peter 2:4-5 tells us that “coming to Him, a living Stone…you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Very clear. This is the living house of the living God in 1 Timothy 3:15.

Other verses in the New Testament say the same: we are the materials being built together, the building process is growth in the divine life, and the building work is going on in Christ. These same characteristics are true of New Jerusalem, which is the consummation of all the building and growth in the Bible.

* Witness Lee, The Divine Economy, Chapter 15, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. Read more of this excerpt online. Many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

The Son Comes with Glory and the Kingdom

The Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory in three stages: on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-2), on the clouds (Matt. 24:30), and in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-11).

New JerusalemThe glory on the mountain fulfilled the promise that some would “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (16:28). The glory and the kingdom appear together.

In the glory of His second coming “He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31). The throne indicates the kingdom, again coupling the glory and the kingdom. The glory of New Jerusalem is with “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), again linking the glory and the kingdom.

The union of glory and kingdom matches God’s purpose expressed in the creation of man: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man was created in God’s image so that God may become man’s life and be expressed through man. This corresponds to the glory. Created man given dominion is for God to reign over the earth through man. This reigning is the kingdom.

The glory and the kingdom are with Jesus Christ in Matthew. However, He is not alone. God’s purpose in Genesis 1 involves a corporate man. This is now the new man, which we have put on, where “Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Jesus Christ radiates the glory and reigns through the corporate new man which grows unto New Jerusalem.

This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:12: “God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” We have been called to participate in God’s kingdom and His glory. This begins from our being born into the kingdom (John 3:5), continues with our transformation in glory (2 Cor. 3:18) and culminates in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned (2)

In Revelation 21:2 John tells us, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Verses in the prior post clearly show that this adorning is not outward.

New JerusalemLet us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2] has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7-8)

Here the fine linen is not fancy physical clothing; it is “righteousnesses.” The plural word indicates that it is not Christ as our righteousness (singular) as part of our initial salvation, but Christ lived out of us in many righteous acts (more). By living Christ we are making ourselves ready for the wedding, we are adorning ourselves.

“The foundations of the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] were adorned with every precious stone” (Rev. 21:19). Gold and diamonds are precious to humans, but not to God. In His eyes all these things are corruptible.

The stones on the foundations of New Jerusalem are not natural but represent the Spirit’s transforming work in us to make us living stones for God’s building (1 Peter 2:5); see posts below. Like the fine linen, these stones illustrate God’s work in us, our cooperation with His work, and our living according to God’s operation within. This is the adorning of New Jerusalem.

Three Precious Materials
Gold, Pearls, and Precious Stones
New Jerusalem is Built with the Triune God

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

 

New Jerusalem is the Consummate Glory

New Jerusalem

“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.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

“We suffer with Christ that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom. 8:17b)

The holy city, Jerusalem…having the glory of God. (Rev. 21:10-11)

More at New Jerusalem is the Consummation of All the New Testament Blessings

Photo courtesy of European Space Agency

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