Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (4)

Faith and love are excellent virtues which come to us from and unite us with the Triune God. This life union carries us through sufferings to glory – the glorious expression of the Triune God who is our life and our living, the consummation of which is New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

Faith and love are included in the greeting at the end of Titus. Here is another part of the footnote on faith and love in this verse in the Recovery Version New Testament:

This wonderful faith and this super-excellent love are out of the Triune God, who earnestly desires to be joined to us to be our everything. This Triune God passed through the process of incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection from the dead, and ascension to the heavens on high and was ultimately consummated as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). This Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2), who includes divinity, humanity, and Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension and is the reality of the all-inclusive Christ (John 14:16-20), dwells in our regenerated spirit (Rom. 8:16; 2 Tim. 4:22). When we contact this Triune God through prayer and by looking to Him…He infuses Himself into us in many ways to become the faith within us toward Him and the love outside of us toward those who belong to Him. Such faith and such love are the reality and expression (1 John 4:8, 16) of the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — in whom we believe and whom we worship and receive.

The Triune God being our everything is an inward, hidden reality today that will be manifested in glory upon the Lord’s return and will be displayed to the fullest extent in New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me in Your faith and love so that You may live in me today and bring me and many others onward to New Jerusalem.

Part of the quote above, about wonderful faith and super-excellent love, has been set to music. Listen here.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (3)

Romans 8:17 tells us that we suffer with Christ to be glorified with Him. Faith and love energize us to pass through the sufferings that bring us to the glory to be revealed at the Lord’s second coming and then to the glory of New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

Titus ends, “All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in faith. Grace be with you all.” Here is part of the footnote on this verse in the Recovery Version New Testament:

Faith and love are two inseparable, excellent virtues of the believers in Christ. Faith is given to us by God (2 Pet. 1) that by it we may receive Christ (John 1:12), the embodiment of the Triune God (Col. 2:9), and thereby enter into the Triune God and be joined to Him as one, having Him as our life, life supply, and everything. Love issues out of such a wonderful faith and enables us to live out all the riches of the Triune God in Christ with those who have believed into Christ with us, that the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — may have a glorious expression.

Faith and love are excellent because they unite us with the Triune God. The Triune God as our life and living result in a glorious expression present now to a limited extent. This expression will be much more in the coming age and at its fullest in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem (2)

Faith and love supply us to pass through the sufferings that bring us to glory. This glory was first displayed in the Lord Jesus on the mountain and will ultimately be displayed through New Jerusalem. Here are more verses about faith and love for our journey to the city of glory.

“Let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and a helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thes. 5:8). Besides the suffering that comes to all humans, we are in a spiritual warfare.

“The grace of our Lord superabounded with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:14). Mercy (v. 13) and grace come to us from the Lord; faith and love return to the Lord from us. This is a spiritual traffic between the Lord and us.* This superabounding supply becomes our armor for the spiritual warfare.

New Jerusalem“Hold a pattern of the healthy words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13). This exhortation comes out of Paul’s suffering (v. 12) and his learning in spiritual warfare. The healthy words are those which supply eternal life to keep us spiritually healthy.

When New Jerusalem comes down to earth, all spiritual warfare will have ended. But the spiritual traffic of mercy and grace, faith and love, will continue eternally. Let us not wait for that time. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your mercy and grace to supply me daily to return faith and love to You.

Faith and Love unto New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the city of glory. To prepare the way unto this eternal city, Jesus Christ will come again in glory and we will be glorified with Him. Our glorification with Him involves suffering with Him now.

New JerusalemThe way to pass through the present sufferings is by faith and love. Faith substantiates the unseen, eternal glory, and love draws us to the Lord whom we have not seen. To encourage us on our path toward New Jerusalem, here are a few more verses on faith and love.

Galatians 5:6 tells us, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything nor uncircumcision, but faith avails, operating through love.” The two virtues operate together. Faith receives the Spirit of life (3:2); thus, it is full of power. It operates through love to fulfill…to complete the sonship of God for His corporate expression — the Body of Christ.*

Ephesians 6:23 blesses us, “Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Again love and faith are joined, and they come from our Father and our Lord. They do not originate with us. Only what is from the divine source can bring us to New Jerusalem.

Paul had not been to Colossae but he says, “we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have unto all the saints” (1:4). Thank the Lord for this expression of faith and love in humanity. There will be much more in New Jerusalem.

* Part of footnote 2 on Gal. 5:6 in the Recovery Version NT; footnotes written by Witness Lee.

 

 

 

The Love of the Marriage of the Lamb Presented in Ephesians 6:23

New Jerusalem“Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him [the Lord our God the Almighty], for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). “The bride, the wife of the Lamb” (21:9) is “the holy city, Jerusalem” (21:10).

The love of this marriage is foreseen in the love of God for us, Christ’s love in giving Himself for the church, and our loving Him in return. Prior posts considered this love in Ephesians 1, 2–3, 4, and 5.

Ephesians 6:23: “Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Love with faith is the means by which we partake of and experience Christ (1 Tim. 1:14). Faith is for receiving Him (John 1:12), and love is for enjoying Him (John 14:23)….By means of this traffic of love and faith, peace remains our portion. We are kept in peace by the coming of God’s love to us and by the going of our faith to Him. This traffic also keeps us in the continual supply of grace, in the enjoyment of the Lord (v. 24).*

All that we have is “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” so that the Triune God can bring us all the way to New Jerusalem and the marriage dinner of the Lamb.


Part of footnote 2 on Eph. 6:23 in the Recovery Version Bible, footnote written by Witness Lee, Bible © 2017 by Living Stream Ministry.
Titus 3, “This Wonderful Faith and this Super-Excellent Love” in song.
More on faith and love, in Luke 7, John 21, Gal. 5, Eph. 3, and 1 John 3.
Photo by Mary Hollinger, courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Putting Off, Putting On, for New Jerusalem

We follow the Lord Jesus on the path to New Jerusalem by applying His death as we deny ourself, so that all our natural life is terminated. This opens the door for the divine life, the eternal life, the life we received in regeneration, the life of New Jerusalem, to spread in us and to be magnified in our living (Phil. 1:20-21).

New JerusalemThe exchange of the natural and divine living is presented in Ephesians 4:22-24. “That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, which was created according to God in righteousness and holiness of the reality.”

Galatians 2:20 also shows this putting off and putting on: “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith…” This living one with Christ in me is the life of the new man and of New Jerusalem.

“It is no longer I who live” is because “I am crucified with Christ” and by the Spirit I am applying this every day. This is putting off the old living. This is to deny self and bear the cross daily. “Christ lives in me” to impart the resurrection power for this denying.

“I now live in faith.” This is putting on the new man who ultimately becomes New Jerusalem.

We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)

In the New Testament are many verses about our growth and maturity. This is needed so that we will match New Jerusalem’s perfection.

#NewJerusalemColossians 1:28 speaks about becoming “full-grown in Christ.” In the next verse Paul tells us that for this full growth “I labor, struggling according to His oper-ation which operates in me in power.”

Struggle indicates a considerable effort. This shows both the importance of our maturity (to match New Jerusalem) and the non-trivial effort to reach maturity.

This struggle is not only for the apostles. Colossians 4:12 tells us “Epaphras, who is one of you [a Colossian], a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”

Epaphras copied Paul’s example, and struggled for the maturity of his fellows believers.  Lord, grant us the willingness to struggle as Epaphras did. To struggle for maturity in this way is to struggle for New Jerusalem, which is the goal of the will of God, the goal of the bible, the goal of all the revelations in the Bible.

This struggle for maturity is not in our own effort. Instead, like the praying of Epaphras, the struggle is by our cooperation with God so that He can move through us. Our confidence is in God “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun in you a good work will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God began a good work in us by regeneration in response to our believing. God will complete the work to bring us to maturity and to New Jerusalem at a speed dependent on our cooperation.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem is Eternal (2)

New Jerusalem is 
eternal
, based on the eternal redemption obtained by Jesus Christ. The city is part of God’s eternal 
covenant bringing us eternal salvation and an eternal 
inheritance.

New Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). This is an eternal glory because God is eternal. “The God of all grace has called you into His eternal glory” (1 Peter 5:10). We are not worthy, but because of God’s mercy and the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, we have been called into the glory of New Jerusalem.

#NewJerusalemSecond Timothy 2:10 also speaks of our obtaining “the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” Although we have not physically seen this glory, we have been called into it and have obtained by faith. And by faith we hold to this salvation with glory.

Do not be shaken by troubles now. Second Corinthians 4:17 says, “our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory.” We have been called into eternal glory, and through afflictions the Lord constitutes this glory into us. As a result we correspond to New Jerusalem.

The afflictions are also mentioned in 1 Peter 5:10. After the phrase quoted above, it says,”after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” Our cooperation is to look away by faith to what is eternal: “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).

Through the Bible and the eternal Spirit, we can be strengthened with the view of the eternal glory of New Jerusalem.

Photo by John Sonntag, courtesy of NASA.

New Jerusalem: No More Tribulation (2)

In the New Testament, tribulation refers to the persecution of the Lord’s people throughout this age (e.g. Matt. 24:9, Acts 14:22) and to the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19), the last three and a half years (Rev. 12:14) of this age, immediately prior to the Lord’s visible return.

#NewJerusalemGod, in His sovereignty, uses both aspects of tribulation to prepare His people for New Jerusalem. Here are more verses about this.

Acts 14:22, “Establishing the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” This was spoken by Paul and Barnabas in caring for relatively new believers. Tribulations would not be rare to them, but through these they were brought into the reality of the kingdom, which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

To participate in this entrance, we must continue in the faith. Some ways to do this are to read and say amen to God’s word, to sing about our Lord, and to praise Him. Also, since Romans 8:35 promises that neither tribulation nor other difficulties can separate us from the love of Christ, we can continue by declaring, Lord Jesus, I love You.

Revelation 1:9: “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” John partook of the endurance in Jesus to suffer tribulation for the word and the testimony. May we follow his example.

At that time John tells us that he was in the kingdom. This was the spiritual reality. Like the believers in Acts 14:22, John was still waiting for the entrance into the manifestation of the kingdom at the Lord’s return and the fullest experience of the kingdom in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

Seek the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemThe riches of God‘s kindness, forbear-ance, long-suffering, assurance, grace, and glory are to us today and will fill and radiate from New Jerusalem. This “good news” is “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8).

We can all learn as Paul did (Phil. 4:12), “I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack.” Whether we abound or are abased in human terms, the riches of Christ are available.

Similarly to Paul, the Lord Jesus tells the believers in Smyrna (Rev. 2:9), “I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are rich).” They were humanly poor but divinely rich. In such circumstances, may we be “rich in faith” (James 2:5). This faith substantiates and carries us toward the presently unseen New Jerusalem.

These riches will abound in New Jerusalem, but don’t wait. Consider two paths to being rich in Christ. One is Ephesians 3:14-19. Paul prayed that the Father grant us, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened that Christ may make home in our hearts. (This strengthening is much higher than if it were according to our lack.) Father, grant me the strengthening I need for Your Son to make home in me!

A second path is in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” His words are spirit and life (John 6:63), so His words can live in us. Lord, cause Your word to live richly in me!

“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable His ways!” (Rom. 11:33 – sing it) Praise Him now; praise Him in New Jerusalem!

Photo by Randy Roberts, courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

 

Precious Faith Brings Forth Precious Stones for New Jerusalem

Jesus Christ is the living Stone and we too are stones for God’s building today and for New Jerusalem.

Genesis 2:7, “Jehovah God formed man with the dust of the ground…” In God’s creation we are earthen vessels but in His new creation by regeneration we become stones.

God created Adam, using a piece of clay taken from the earth as material. Therefore, all of us today who have been born of Adam are also clay. However, since we have been saved with God’s life, in God’s eyes we are no longer clay but stones. Immediately after Simon Peter confessed that the Lord was the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lord said to him, “You are Peter” (Matt. 16:16-18). Peter is a translated word which means “a stone.” Likewise, every saved person is a “Peter,” a stone, used by God for the building of this city.

However, in the New Jerusalem the materials used by God for building are not merely ordinary stones but precious stones. Hence, it is not enough that we were saved and became stones; we still need to become precious stones. This requires us to put ourselves in the hands of God so that He can do the work of constitution.*

New JerusalemPaul speaks about building God’s house with precious stones (1 Cor. 3:12). This is directly in line with New Jerusalem in Revelation 21: “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone” (v. 19).”

Second Peter 1:1 says that we all have equally precious faith. Verse 4 tells us that God “has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature.”

By this precious faith we lay hold of the precious promises. Through these promises God works in us to make us precious stones for His building now and for New Jerusalem.

Lord, we are open to You. Work in us and constitute us with Your preciousness.

*A quote from The Building Work of God, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee
A short video by Christian Research Institute about Witness Lee.

Forget What is Behind, Seek New Jerusalem

New JerusalemJesus Christ died to redeem and purchase for God “men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:5-9). In His death He created “in Himself one new man” (Eph. 2:15). And, “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free” (1 Cor. 12:13).

The Body of Christ is the new man and will consummate in New Jerusalem. Here there are no national distinctions, no racial differences, no social classes, but

Christ is all and in all.”

The new man is the reality of the longing of Old Testament people of faith. Hebrews 11:14-16 says of them, “they seek after a country of their own. And if indeed they continued to remember that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return; but as it is, they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”

Because of their absoluteness, Hebrews 11 continues “Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” This city is New Jerusalem, where we will be with all of them. In our Christian life, may we enter fully into the absolute seeking of this “cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1).

Lord save us from any remembrance of the country (or race or social status or language) from which we came out. Lord save us from any opportunity to return, and keep us always seeking the better country. Lord, every day give us a longing for New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.


The Bible charges us to obey the government (1 Peter 2:13-14). Therefore we should obey distinctions which the government makes (e.g. citizen, non-citizen) but we should not bring these into our Christian life and our Christian fellowship.

 

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