The Glorious Church, by Watchman Nee


Of what materials is this city built? Verse 18 says, "And the building work of its wall was jasper." We have noted jasper already. We have seen that the brightness of the city is as jasper. The meaning of this is that when we behold the glory of the city we are looking at God’s real image. By knowing God’s real image, man can know the God who is sitting upon the throne. God is not far away from man, nor is He an unknowable God.

The function of the city wall, as we have seen, is to separate that which is within the city from that which is without. The fact that this wall is made of jasper means that the separation is based upon what is seen in God’s true light. The basis of separation is the seeing of what God requires, the seeing of what God is after. If man is not clear about God’s requirement, he will have no separation.

Let us read further in verse 18: "And the city was pure gold, like clear glass." In other words, all that is in the city is of God. Gold signifies that which is of God, that which is placed in God’s new creation. Peter said that we are partakers of the divine nature. Within everyone who belongs to God, there is a portion which is of God. Before we were saved, everything in us was of the flesh, everything was natural; there was nothing whatever of a spiritual nature. But when we received the Lord, God imparted His life to us. This is the gold which He has given us. Within us there is a portion of gold; there is something which is truly of God. It is regrettable, however, that although we have this gold in us, it is mixed with many other things; it is an alloy. We have God’s nature, but at the same time, we also have many things in us which are completely different from God. For this reason, the greater portion of God’s work with His children is to reduce them, not to add to them.

Many times men would like to obtain more of God, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and to know Christ better. All of these things have their place. We dearly need to obtain more of God, to be filled with the Spirit, and to know more of Christ. But there is another work—it is not of increasing but of reducing. God’s basic work is to reduce us. From the day we were saved, God has been doing this work, and the instrument for this work of subtraction is the cross. The work of the cross is to cancel out. It is not to bring things into us but to take things away from us. Within us there is so much that is refuse. There are so many things that are not of God, which do not bring glory to Him. God wants to remove all of these things through the cross so that we may become pure gold. What God has put into us is pure gold, but because there is so much dross in us, so many things which are not of God, we have become an alloy. Therefore, God must expend much effort to make us see those things in us which are of self and those things which cannot bring glory to Him. We believe that if God speaks to us, we will discover that what needs to be removed is much more than what needs to be added. Christians who are especially strong in the soul must remember that God’s work in them through the Holy Spirit is to remove things from them and to reduce them.

The outstanding feature of the New Jerusalem is that of gold, pure gold. There is nothing there which contains a mixture; everything is entirely of God. The one lesson which God wants us to learn today is to see that everything coming from us is but dross. Apart from the gold in us, everything which comes from us is refuse. When added to the gold, our goodness is dross; when added to the gold, our zeal is also dross. Everything from us is dross. In other words, anything which is not of God is dross. No one can stand before God and say that he has something to contribute to Him. God demands pure gold. In the New Jerusalem everything is pure gold, without any dross. The day will come when we see that everything that is not of God is on the cross. Everything that is in the New Jerusalem is of God. God must attain His purpose. When God says that it will be pure gold, it will be pure gold. There is nothing which can be mixed with God’s work.

(The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)