The Cross, the Blood, the Kingdom, & the Priests
We are not only forgiven
when we believe the
gospel, but made God’s
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.
— Revelation 1:5-6
This statement at the very beginning of the book of Revelation shows us, in a concise way, what are the contents of the complete New Testament gospel.
First, as we all know, the source of this gospel is that “He loves us” (John 3:16). Because He loves us, He died on the cross on our behalf.
Second, according to the gospel, Christ “freed us from our sins by His blood.” That is, as a result of His death we may now be forgiven for our sins. However, according to this verse we are not only forgiven but even “released” from our sins, that is, freed from their power over us. This implies the resurrection power of Christ working within our being, for only by such power could our sins be so fully dealt with (Rom. 6:1-4).
These first two points show what Christ in His love has already done for us. The last two points in these verses show us what the result of the gospel should be, and eventually will be, for every believer in Christ.
That is, third, He has made us “a kingdom.” What is the purpose for preaching the gospel today? It is so God can have His kingdom on the earth. That is why it is called “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 24:14), and it is why we are called not just to gain believers, but to “make disciples of all nations” for the sake of this kingdom (Matt. 28:19-20).
The kingdom, however, is somewhat negative in its purpose, because it is for dealing with God’s enemies, led by Satan, and all the opposition to God’s rule. Eventually, therefore, the kingdom of God is for something else, something that is very positive, that is, God’s building, which will consummate in eternity in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2,10).
This brings us to the final point of the gospel, that “He has made us to be priests to His God and Father.” While the kingdom is for exercising God’s authority, the priesthood is related to God’s building, as Peter tells us:
You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
—1 Peter 2:5
As priests we live in fellowship with God and are built up together to express Him. We will experience this blessing to the fullest extent in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3-5), but even today we are a “royal priesthood” of believers, as Peter also tells us a few verses later:
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
—1 Peter 2:9
This is the complete gospel! And this is the message we should bring to this fallen world today, to call so many hopeless sinners “out of darkness into His marvelous light!”
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— 22 December 2022 —