Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Doxology (Rev. 1:5-7)

Thinking of the Trinity, and particularly of Jesus, leads John to write a doxology for Jesus. The doxology informs that it is appropriate to praise one of the Divine Persons at specific times. On other occasions, it will be right to praise the Father or the Spirit. Here the object of praise is the Son.

The doxology describes how Jesus regards his people and what he has done for them. As far as his regard is concerned, Jesus loves all of them. We can ask why John uses the present tense when speaking of the love of Jesus. The answer to that question seems clear – his love is continuous. His love can be described in many ways – he loves each Christian personally, currently, sympathetically, faithfully and anticipatively. It is wonderful to know that the love of Jesus is constant, even if the cross was when he showed it the most.

John mentions two ways in which Jesus showed his love for his people. First, he liberated them from the power of sin when he died on the cross. We find it easier to understand how his death provided the way of pardon for sin. In addition, we need to grasp that the cross has relevance for our sanctification as well as our justification. At the cross, Jesus purchased us by paying the redemption price. Because of the cross, we now have a new Master whom we are to obey. We experience freedom from the power of sin through the work of the Spirit in our hearts.

Second, John points to a specific status and activity that enables believers to express their freedom from the power of sin. The status is that they are royal priests who serve the Father because of Jesus. Priests in Israel served God by offering sacrifices. In a higher sense, Christians offer spiritual sacrifices. They do so individually, yet John is focussed on the combined effect of their service. This is a very helpful way of looking at other believers and asking about them, ‘I wonder how they served God today. I am sure that they did in one way or another.’ And what is the combined total of such service?

John follows his description of what Jesus has done with a strong expression for Jesus to be honoured eternally. This is the longing of the apostle. Glory refers to the majesty of the place Jesus has and dominion refers to the total authority that Jesus possesses. Of course, this longing is not a desire that may not happen. John is not imagining that somehow Jesus will not have full glory and authority. Instead his words indicate his joy at the prospect of Jesus having them forever.

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