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The City of God

The City of God

Here is an excerpt from "God Is Our Fortress in the Midst of a Turbulent World":

God’s city is a well-defended, well-guided, and well-watered city. God supplies us with all that we need for protection, direction, and growth.

When we “[walk] about Zion” and take a tour of God’s city, we recognize that one of its distinctive features is that God’s King is there: “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:6) The greatness of God’s King, the Anointed One, the Lord Jesus Christ, is set forth in Psalm 45 – He is full of grace (v. 2), He loves righteousness and hates wickedness (v. 7), He is the majestic warrior who fights for righteousness and makes His enemies fall (v. 3-5), and He is seated forever on the eternal throne (v. 6).

And yet, this Lion of the Tribe of Judah is also the Lamb of God who was slain in order to atone for our sins. We cannot walk the hallowed grounds of God’s holy city unless we are washed in the blood, forgiven of our sins, and clothed in righteous garments.

The holy city is also full of the King’s teaching. What would a city be without some ordinances and regulations? And we have the best of all: the life-giving Word of God, and “[God’s] commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3) to those who have been born again. Life in this city doesn’t depend on the strength of men, but the Holy Spirit empowers the King’s followers to live a holy life that reflects the excellence of the King.

The fellowship of this city is a great joy to its inhabitants: we behold the patriarchs who first entered it, the prophets and priests who ministered faithfully in the name of the Lord, the apostles and evangelists who made known the gospel, the devoted believers of the Old Testament and New Testament eras, and two thousand years of ordinary, saintly men and women who have held fast to Christ and declared His name among the nations. All these were sinners who were rescued out of the turbulent world and brought into God’s forever family.

Among our saintly forebears is the great theologian Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in the late 4th and early 5th century. He rightly described all of human history in terms of two cities: the earthly city of man (which corresponds to the turbulent world of Psalm 46), and the heavenly city of God. “[The] earthly city,” wrote Augustine, “was created by self-love,” “looks for glory from men,” “loves its own strength,” and is characterized by “the lust for domination.” By contrast, “the Heavenly City” was created “by the love of God,” “finds its highest glory in the Lord,” depends on God’s strength, and is characterized by “[serving] one another in love.”[3]

Are you a son or daughter of the turbulent earthly city that is raging and racing toward destruction? Or have you become a son or daughter of the eternal city that is ripening toward glory?