One of the biggest hindrances (if not the only hindrance) to intimacy with God, is sin. Almost every single believer, and even most non-believers know this to be true. With that said, what is to be done about it?
This is where most people tend to branch-off into different directions regarding the solution to the sin problem. Some people set-out on a grand life-long quest to try and rid-themselves of wrong behaviors, wrong thoughts, and to “clean themselves” up, always reaching but never truly attaining perfection.
Others become so confused and intimidated by the whole problem that they become discouraged and defeated and just shut-down on the whole thing.
Still others accept their sin and decide that since they can’t do anything about it anyway, they might as well indulge it all the way.
But are any of these ways correct?
Must we live a defeated and striving life here on this earth dominated by sin and beaten-down with sin-consciousness?
Today in this study, we are going to answer that question, and through the finished work of Jesus Christ and His New Covenant of Grace, you will be able to have assurance, and confidence in your position from this day onward.
Let’s not waste any time here and get right to the scriptures, because there are some important things for us to see; some powerful things that will open your awareness to the truth of Christ. Beginning with Revelation 1:5-6:
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Now to some, this is just John’s opening greeting to the seven churches in Asia – yet if we take time to closely examine what is actually being said here, the eyes of our spirit will be opened, and our perspective will be enlarged and broadened to see some exciting details about our identity in Christ Jesus, and what He has accomplished for us.
Notice that Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is called the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead. These titles of Jesus are not often mentioned… they don’t get much press; but they are quite informative!
We see that He is the faithful witness. His testimony is one-hundred-percent reliable and full of completely accurate and trustworthy information.
He is also the first begotten (or first-born) of the dead. And at first glance, this may seem a bit confusing, but the first thing to see here that might help us, is to understand that the word “of” here, has the same meaning as “from” would be used today. Jesus is the first-born from the dead. The exact same phrase is used by Paul to describe Jesus in Colossians 1:18.
Now it’s important to understand that this is speaking in spiritual terms – this is a spiritual title. From a literal, earthly perspective, we could perhaps make a reasonable case about how Jesus is the first-born and set apart among all those who have ever died (and that is certainly true as well) – but we’d still be missing a large part of the story, and indeed the main point of why this is mentioned here at all, because it would be neglecting a very important spiritual point: that Jesus is the first-born from the dead; the first to ever truly be spiritually alive, and the One who holds special pre-eminence in all things as the very author of life. That is what sets Him apart from everyone else, His death and Resurrection as the perfect Lamb, the Son of God, the Bread and Breath of Life that in-turn gives life to all that receive Him.
We also see that the translation here says that Jesus is the prince of the kings of the earth. Although in our modern understanding that makes it almost sound as if Jesus is beneath the kings of the earth, which is not the case. In-fact the Greek word for “prince” used here, actually means “ruler” or “chief”. Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth, just as He is the ruler of peace (Isaiah 9:6).
So now that we have established who Jesus is, and we begin to see His glory, His majesty, and His magnificence, the verse then proceeds to tell us this: to Him that loved us… – and the word translated as “loved” here is not accurate, because in the Greek it is “loves” as in, continuously.
Stop and think about that. The ultimate King of the universe, the creator and author of life itself, loves you!
And what is the effect of that love? What is the result of His love for you? …and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
As in other places in scripture, the word “sins” here is the Greek noun for sin, and not the verb. He has washed you of your old identity! The person you used to be, the mark and stain, and the very place of sin itself is not who you are anymore!
Why not? Because He washed you in His own blood.
Sometimes I think we have a very poor appraisal of the blood of Jesus. We fail to acknowledge the sheer power of it, and the value of its’ cleansing effect.
Simply put, you are completely clean today, not by your works, not by your efforts, and not because of your sacrifices or striving for it; but because of the blood of Jesus alone. He has washed you, He has made you clean, and so that is what you are.
It is important to know this, because it puts to rest all of the internal questions that often cloud our thinking… such as whether God loves you, whether you are accepted by Him, whether He is angry with you and whether you have broken fellowship with Him.
Once you truly understand what we have seen so far in the study today, about who He is, what He has done, and how completely clean you are today… all of those questions become moot. Because the blood of Jesus Christ answers them all and puts them away forever.
The point about it specifically being His blood, not our blood, or the blood of an animal, or even an angel from heaven; is so over-looked and under-appreciated. This is why I stated that sometimes we have a poor appraisal of His blood. The scriptures warn about treating the blood of Christ as a common thing, in Hebrews 10:29.
Because as we realize that His blood does not grow old, wear-out or otherwise lose potency over time, then we begin to see how we are not only completely clean – but completely clean forever. The blood of Christ continues forever, just as Christ, the eternal High Priest of the New Covenant continues forever (Hebrews 7:24).
Don’t make the mistake of thinking of Christ and His covenant to be of the same nature as the Old Covenant. They are different.
Your perceived shortcomings and failings and behaviors are not greater than His blood! If they were, then He would’ve never been able to save you in the first place!
Once you know this, and you recognize that you are in the proper spiritual position of being completely cleansed and righteous, made so by none-other than Jesus Christ Himself, then you can begin enjoying verse 6 of our text from Revelation 1:
“And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Not only does this verse testify that Jesus is Himself God (God and His Father), but is also tells you who He has made you to be – don’t shy away from this, because it is who your Creator God has made you to be, according to the verse. If you deny this, you are denying your own creator, and His work for you.
We see that He has made us to be lowly servants and sheep who have no strength or defense, and must lay-down for every attack that comes our way…. Oh wait! It doesn’t say that!
We actually see that He has made us to be Kings and Priests, to Jesus and the Father!
These are not lowly positions that have no power or influence in the Kingdom of God. These are high and respected places of authority and honor!
A King has power. The word of a king has power (Ecclesiastes 8:4)
And a priest is to show people the wisdom and Grace of God.
This is part of your glorious and righteous position in Christ Jesus.
Far too many people are working, struggling and striving, trying to become what Jesus has already made them to be; a position that only He could give… and He has done so, through the sacrifice of Himself and by His own blood.
So relax, rejoice and know that you are completely clean, forever.