New Jerusalem

Volume Twenty Two   —   View Song   —     —   Get the Free Devo App

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As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:16)


“To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it!” So said Christian on his journey away from the City of Destruction in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. And so says every Christian since. “I cannot go back. I see eternal life relentlessly shining, compelling me onward to glory. Though I hazard the hard and narrow path of possible suffering, I press forward — one step after another — toward the Celestial City.”


The Christian life is a journey forward. A journey to a better country. A journey to our great God.


Our Favorite Song Forgotten


As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:16)


That country, though we have never been there, is called something strange by us: home. Given the choice, “we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Our real land is one we’ve never been to; with streams and glory we’ve not yet known or seen. The place we belong lingers beyond the fallenness of this world.


We travel to a better country — a heavenly one, built by divine hands. With all its joys and delights, we merely pass through this world, homesick for the next. Even amid the purest pleasures contained this side of the Jordan, we cannot cease to hum melodies of that somewhere we know but haven’t yet been. This land is our favorite song forgotten.


We can’t escape the ache — nor would we if we could. Our souls, in their soberest moments, gasp to breathe that air not found on even the mountain peaks of this earth. We can’t wait to be there in that “place beyond the end.” We can’t wait to be there, with him.


The King of Home


I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:3)


The New Jerusalem is not merely a beautiful land whose scent enchants and whose sights beckon, but a kingdom with a King, our King. Our home is where he is.


Although we do not see him, we love him (1 Peter 1:8); and although we have not been there, we delight in it because he is. We stop at nothing to get to him. We embrace the sharp edges of this world’s spite on our journey away from the City of Destruction, knowing the New Jerusalem will be more than worth it because he is more than worth it. We would travel through the rugged terrain of ten million lifetimes to make it to that kingdom of ever-brightening day — our home with him in the New Jerusalem.


Onward to New Jerusalem


Saints get lost when home is not solidly placed before them. When darkness descends, and the fog of worldliness persuades that nothing lies ahead, this is when we must remember our home, the New Jerusalem, and conquer:


The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. (Revelation 3:12)


Many obstacles stand between here and home. We have many more temptations to conquer, lusts to kill, lies to refuse, sufferings to endure. We have many more promises to believe, victories to enjoy, and glories of Jesus Christ to savor before God tattoos us with his own name and the name of New Jerusalem. We must press on in faith to arrive; we must conquer to wear the crowns God has promised.


As Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress wonderfully depicts, the New Jerusalem, by God’s keeping and guarding, must be traveled to. Many winds blow against our making it to port, but God is with us. Jesus already “gave his life to save his one and only Bride,” and his Spirit who began a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6). Because Jesus has already taken our burden of sin, we journey on with eyes fixed on our new home, Christ himself.