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.

The Gospel of the Glory of God is for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem comes down out of heaven “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The city has the glory to manifest, to display God’s fullness. New Jerusalem first comes to us in “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

The gospel is God’s good news to us. When this good news first comes to us the emphasis is that we receive forgiveness of sins and gain eternal life. Yet, the goal of the gospel is to bring us into glory.

First Timothy 1:15-17 speaks of this: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Verse 16 says we “are to believe on Him [Jesus Christ] unto eternal life.” Then verse 17, “to the King of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.” The salvation of sinners points to honor and glory to God forever, which certainly involves New Jerusalem.

Paul and Silvanus and Timothy tell the Thessalonians that God called them to salvation “through our gospel unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14). All who believe into Jesus Christ obtain glory. And all become constituents of New Jerusalem.

What we obtain in our initial experience of salvation still needs to be worked into our entire being. For this we behold the Lord so that the Lord Spirit can transform us “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). At the Lord’s return our body of humiliation will be transfigured to “be conformed to the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21).

The steps of initial salvation, transformation, and transfiguration all prepare us for New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of BurningWell.

Five Steps to New Jerusalem (3)

The prior two posts (first, second) presented five basic steps which bring us to New Jerusalem—selection, redemption, regeneration, transformation, and transfiguration.

The third through fifth steps correspond to the three parts of our being. First Thessalonians 5:23: “the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Every human being is composed of a human spirit, the innermost part, a soul, and a body, the outer part.

New JerusalemZechariah 12:1 ranks God’s forming of the human spirit with the stretching forth of the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth. Man’s spirit is so important because it was made to be God’s dwelling place in man. “The Lord be with your spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22).

In regeneration man’s Spirit is born of God’s Spirit (John 3:6) who imparts the divine life into our deadened spirit (Eph. 2:1). This is portrayed by the large arrow in the diagram and occurs at the moment we believe and ask the Lord to forgive us and come into us.

In transformation the Spirit spreads into our mind, emotion, and will as we turn to and behold the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16-18). This is portrayed by the inner four arrows and continues gradually through our whole Christian life.

In transfiguration the Spirit fills our mortal body with the divine life, swallowing all our mortality and making our body a body of glory (Phil. 3:21). This is portrayed by the outer four arrows and will occur when the Lord Jesus returns to earth visibly.

Through these three steps each of our three parts becomes full of the Lord and a match for New Jerusalem.


See also:
The Mystery of Human Life, a gospel tract.
– Parts of Man, a small book by Witness Lee.

Five Steps to New Jerusalem (2)

The prior post presented the first three of five basic steps of God’s operation that bring us to New Jerusalem. These are God’s selection, Jesus Christ’s redemption, and the Spirit’s regeneration.

New JerusalemFourth, transformation. The main part of transformation is the renewing of our mind. Romans 12:2 urges us “be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” The goal of this renewing is, in the same verse, “that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.”

This renewing is by the Spirit (Titus 3:5) in response to our cooperation in turning from everything that veils us to behold the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16-18).

The Spirit’s work brings us gradually out of the old, fallen, corrupted creation into the reality of the new creation. By believing into Christ we are positioned in the new creation but we still need the Spirit to apply this newness to our every thought and action. This prepares us for New Jerusalem in the new creation.

Fifth, transfiguration. Philippians 3:21 tells su that our “Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory.” A mortal body (Rom. 8:11) in humiliation can by no means participate in New Jerusalem. We need transfiguration, which in Romans 8:23 is named “the redemption of our body” (redeeming it from indwelling sin and death).

Our transfiguration will occur at the Lord’s coming back and will cause our body to match His glorious body, qualifying us for New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (7)

A song couples the key characteristics in the garden of Eden with those of New Jerusalem. The garden presents God’s intention and the city shows His accomplishment. Verse 7 of the song:

’Tis for the city man is wrought upon,
Therefore regenerated and transformed
To purest gold, to pearls and precious stones,
As Christ’s own Body, to Himself conformed.

New Jerusalem is God’s goal. All of God’s creation, including man, is for this goal. New JerusalemAll the negatives among men and throughout the universe have root in Satan’s rebellion against God (Isaiah 14) and his corruption of the human race. But nothing can defeat God!!!

Ephesians 3 tells us that God “created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All the negative things are merely the black background to further manifest God’s wisdom. He will make this wisdom known now through the church and eternally in a fuller manner through New Jerusalem.

Humanity has fallen, but God came in Jesus Christ to redeem and to regenerate mankind. By regeneration we receive the divine, eternal, incorruptible life. As this life grows and spreads within us, we are transformed (Rom. 12:2), to be the precious materials for the building of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in New Jerusalem.

The Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem      in Song (3)

A hymn coupling the garden of Eden with New Jerusalem is based on many Bible verses. Verse 3:

Both in the garden and the city bright
Three kinds of precious substances are found;
There are the gold, the pearls, and precious stones
Which for the building work of God abound.

Genesis 2:12 speaks about gold, bdellium (a pearl-like material from the resin of a tree), and onyx stone coming out of the flow of the river of life. Revelation 21:18-21 presents the materials of New Jerusalem—gold, pearl, precious stones. Between these two ends, 1 Corinthians 3 tells us that the church, God’s building, is built with gold, silver, and New Jerusalemprecious stones.

These descriptions are not about physical materials. Gold signifies the divine nature of God the Father, of which we partake now as part of our salvation (1 Peter 1:3-4).

The pearl and silver refer to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son, through which we receive salvation and enter New Jerusalem. The twelve gates of the city are twelve pearls, three on each side. This depicts the Triune God facing every direction on earth to welcome us into the city.

The precious stones portray the work of the Spirit in us (2 Cor. 3:18), to transform us from our natural fallen condition to a precious condition matching New Jerusalem.

The song says these materials abound for God’s building. This is because the materials in reality are the unlimited Triune God who is working in us to bring forth His building now for the ultimate producing of New Jerusalem.

The Foundations of New Jerusalem’s Wall

Revelation 21:19-20, describing New Jerusalem, says, “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.”

New JerusalemAs with the gold of New Jerusalem, so also the stones are not physical. They portray the Spirit’s work in us.

Precious stones are not created but are formed through a process in the earth. In the Bible, precious stones portray the Spirit’s transforming work in all the believers. This is 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.”

Our transformation happens by our beholding and reflecting the glory of the Lord, and transforms us into His image of glory. Ultimately this is the glory of New Jerusalem.

As with all the other “twelves” in New Jerusalem, the twelve stones proclaim eternal perfection. The variety of the stones portray the variety of the attributes of Christ constituted into us by the Spirit’s transforming work.

We all have a portion of our Lord’s love, faithfulness, boldness, patience, holiness, wisdom, meekness, etc., but some may have one of these in a greater degree than others. But we all are one Body in Christ and now and one New Jerusalem to come.

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