Praise for Redeeming Love!
Francis Bourdillon, 1864
Revelation 1:5- 6.
"Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen."
He loved us — Jesus loved us! We could not have believed it — had it not been written in the Word of God. For why should He have loved us? There was nothing good in us, nothing worthy of His love. We hated Him — yet He loved us! The Bible says so. It is true therefore; astonishing — yet true. Sinners as we were, sinners as we are — yet Jesus loved us. And if now, through grace, we love Him — it is "because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). He loved us so much, that He forgave and washed us from all our sins. It was the one thing without which we could never have known happiness — nay, without it we must have been lost forever. He might have done a thousand other things for us, but if He had left this thing undone, all the rest would have been in vain. But He did not leave it undone. Because He loved us — He "washed us from our sins in His own blood."
Yes, in His own blood! There was nothing else that could wash away so deep a stain — nothing else that could pay our debt and save our souls. Silver and gold could not redeem us (1 Peter 1:18); the blood of goats and calves could not atone for our sins (Hebrews 9:12). It must be His own blood — the precious blood of Christ.
It was a fathomless and painful sacrifice, so painful that He cried to His Father, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me." But He added, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 16:39). He would not draw back. He would not even withhold His life. "Greater love has no man than this — that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!" (Romans 5:6-8)
This love He showed toward us. He laid down His life for us. He loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood!
Blessed Savior! How can we love You enough — for Your great love to us? You gave Your blood for us — what can we give to You? You endured for us — the agony in the garden, the shame, the mocking, the cross — what would You have us to bear for You? You withheld nothing from us — oh, help us to withhold nothing from You! May we give You our whole hearts and love You above all, and bear with patience all that You call us to suffer.
When He had redeemed us by His blood, then He raised us to wonderful happiness and glory. He "has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father!" This is mentioned again in the song of the elders, in the fifth chapter, "You were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth!"
Already, part of this happiness is ours. Whatever his outward state may be — in his soul the believer is even now raised and blessed in Christ Jesus. He is set free from guilt, adopted into the family of God, made an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). By the work of the Spirit, he is growing continually in likeness to his Lord and in fitness for the Heavenly inheritance.
But there are better things to come. "It does not yet appear what we shall be — but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is!" (1 John 3:2). When sin and sorrow are done away, and "the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ" (Revelation 11:15), then the redeemed shall reign with Him in His glory. They shall "sit on thrones," and shall wear crowns, and shall be spotless in holiness, and the Savior's prayer shall be fulfilled: "Father, I will that those whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me" (John 17:24).
To Him be all the praise! "To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever!" The elders "cast their crowns before the throne" (Revelation 4:10), and all the angelic hosts of Heaven give glory to the Lamb; let us give Him glory too. Let us adore His love; let us magnify His grace; let us ascribe all our salvation to Him.
Even now, let praise for redeeming love rise from our hearts. And oh, may our voices join hereafter in saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:13).
Lord, visit us now with Your grace and Your salvation — and grant us at last a place in Your kingdom of glory!