2009-02-21 - God Wins
Revelation 1:5b, 6, To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
John is setting out to write what he has seen. It is a glorious vision that Christians have been trying to understand and unravel for over 1900 years (It is believed that John probably wrote the book of Revelation when he was exiled on the island of Patmos (1:9), around 95 or 96 AD. He has been commanded to write (1:11), but before he gets going, John has to break into doxology. He has to praise God. He has to lift up his voice (pen) and glorify God. It is a spontaneous outburst of John's love to His Savior. He had a task to do. He needed to write. However, before he can write, He must magnify the Lord. Like John, we have things that we must do. We can't always be singing and glorifying God, but what we see here in John, we ought to cultivate in ourselves. It is the spirit of gratitude. He was full of praise to God for His work of salvation and the change it occasions in us. This should be the mindset that we have, as we go about our tasks. Let us be always thankful.
We can sum up the book of Revelation by saying, "God wins." It is what the book really tells us. Or, we can be more profound and say what the Seminary Professor said, in the class I took on Revelation, many years ago, "God is Lord of history, and He is bringing it to consummation in Christ." I like "God wins." I know what that means. And God does win; this is not only John's hope, but he has been given a window into the future and has seen that it is so. He has been told to tell us what he has seen. He starts with an outburst of devotion to the Lord in this passage. It shows he had no doubt that what he was writing was true, because doubt does not allow for outbursts of this kind. Doubt freezes our ability to be extemporaneous. Charles Spurgeon says that too many Christians think of this verse as saying something to the effect of, "To Him who we hope loves us, and that we think has released us from our sins by His blood, and we trust has made us to be a kingdom, probably even priests to His God and Father; to Him." We don't see the words in italics in what John writes. John is sure. He knows He has God's Covenant blessings. He knows that all that follow Christ and trust in His Atonement for sin have those blessings also.
Do we grasp the love of God in Christ? I don't think we do. We can understand that He has compassion on poor helpless sinners. We can grasp that He pities poor worms like ourselves. But love? Can He really love us? John would say, "Yes!" Jesus loves His children with an everlasting love. His shed blood for sin shows His love in a way that is beyond our finite minds' ability to grasp. He loved us first, and then He released us from our sins. Let us not forget the order of the verse. He loves us when we are in our sins. He loves us then, not when we are all cleaned up and more respectable. Christ loved us when we were dirty and defiled by sin. His love is what releases us from our sin. The order is important. John got it right, and he left us and example of impulsive, spur-of-the-moment praise to God, which it will be our wisdom to emulate.
Soli Deo Gloria,