We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)

#NewJerusalemMany New Testament verses speak about our growth. Growth is needed so that we will mature in the divine life to match New Jerusalem.

First Peter 5:10 says, “But the God of all grace, He who has called you into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” With our cooperation, God Himself will perfect us. All the sufferings we go through are for our perfecting, for our reaching God’s goal, New Jerusalem.

Paul expresses this cooperation as counting all things loss for the excellency of Christ (Phil. 3:7-8), an excellency fully manifested by New Jerusalem. He sought to gain Christ and be found in Him (3:8-9). He was also pressing onward toward the goal, the fullest experience of Christ, which would prepare him for the prize, New Jerusalem (3:13-14).

When we have a goal different from New Jerusalem, our attitude is not like Paul’s and we try to escape the sufferings and we hold on to all things. But Paul was a person fully for God’s eternal purpose. His desire was to live Christ and magnify Christ whether through life or death (Phil. 1:20-21), whether his outward circumstances were bountiful or pitiful (4:11-12).

On the road to New Jerusalem, outward circumstance do not matter. Our attitude should be, “we do not regard the things which are seen but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). The sufferings are “things seen” but New Jerusalem is among “things not seen.”

Lord, turn my view away from the temporal things to Your eternal things.

New Jerusalem, Consummation of Hope

New JerusalemRomans 8:24-25 says, “For we were saved in hope. But a hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly await it through endurance.” In a spiritual sense we see New Jerusalem to some extent but we surely do not see it in full. And we do not see it physically. Hence, according to these verses in Romans, we hope and eagerly await for New Jerusalem.

Humanly, a hope is a wish about an uncertain future. We might say, I hope my car keeps running, or, We hope our new neighbors are friendly. In contrast, hope in the Bible is certain because it comes from God and is for something of God. Since God cannot lie and is unchanging, our hope is firm, full of certainty.

Paul prays that the Father would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation “the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling” (Ephesians 1:17-18). God’s calling of us has a hope. The footnote* on hope says,

The hope of God’s calling includes (1) Christ Himself and the salvation He will bring to us when He comes back (Col. 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:5, 9); (2) the rapturous transfer from the earthly and physical realm to the heavenly and spiritual sphere, plus glorification (Rom. 8:23-25, 30; Phil. 3:21); (3) the kingly enjoyment with Christ in the millennium (Rev. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:18); and (4) the consummate enjoyment of Christ in the New Jerusalem, with the universal and eternal blessings in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5).

New Jerusalem, is the consummation of our hope. We hope for, expect, and eagerly await the fullest enjoyment of Christ in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* In The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.

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