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To Him Who Loves Us

A Word for Today | Revelation 1:5-6

Perhaps my favorite doxology in the Bible is Revelation 1:5-6: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  In the opening half of Revelation 1:5, John described Jesus in his saving work – the faith witness, firstborn of the dead, and king of kings – but now he proclaims Christ in his love for us His people. 

The Bible declares to Christians the great fact that Jesus loves us – not just that Christ loved us in the past but that he loves us now.  James Boice describes the love of Christ as “so great, so giving, so winsome, so victorious, so infinite, that we can only marvel at it.  It is a love that reaches from the heights of divine holiness to the pit of human depravity to save and keep us from sin.”[1]  Perhaps this explains the popularity of one of our most enduring children’s songs: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  

Whenever the apostle John writes of God’s love for us, he immediately mentions the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.  So also here, he says that Jesus loves us, having “freed us from our sins by his blood.”  Here is the first of two great saving works that makes John rejoice in Christ.  To say that Jesus “freed” us from sins, John uses a word that means to “loosen” or “unfasten.”  When used of people, it speaks of setting a prisoner free, which is why its noun form is used to mean “redemption.”  Jesus freed us by paying the penalty for our sins, substituting Himself to die in our place.  Donald Grey Barnhouse explained: “Ours were the sins; His was the blood.  Let no man wonder hereafter if salvation is sufficient.”[2]

The second way that Jesus has loved us is by making us “a kingdom” (Rev. 1:6).  We normally define a kingdom in terms of territory, but Jesus’ kingdom is defined by faith in His Word.  To believe in Christ is to transfer our allegiance from the world to Him.  We further have been made into a priesthood.  Priests worshiped in the temple, and now we take up the worship of God in Christ’s name.  Priests bore testimony to God’s glory and grace before the world, as we are now called to do.  And priests were God’s servants in ministering grace to the spiritually needy.  Therefore, when John concludes his doxology, “to him be glory and dominion,” he means that we are the ones who are to glorify Christ in this world.  Perhaps the best part of our citizenship in His kingdom and our priesthood on Christ’s behalf, is that these will never end.  John says we give Jesus glory and dominion “forever and ever.” 

How might we plan to glorify Christ today as members of His kingdom and His priests in this world?  This question would be an excellent subject for our prayers.  And if we realize how much Jesus loves us, our chief delight today will be to grant Him dominion and glory in all that we do.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Phillips

[1] James Montgomery Boice, Revelation, unpublished manuscript, 3:2.

[2] Barnhouse, Revelation, 24.

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