When I wrote this series the first time in 2021, Ron was in the hospital. The week I wrote this post, I was able to get to church for the first time in a couple of weeks. He was doing pretty well and was on the verge of discharge. That day, this was our benediction at the end of the service. I was glad to add it to my list of benedictions. It definitely fit!
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father,
to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 1:4-6 ESV
God’s love for us is not a new concept in these benedictions. Even when it isn’t spelled out, the concept is often present. The fact that He has freed us from our sin by His death for us, is another concept we often find in these benedictions. This one speaks of the fact that He has made His people into a Kingdom…of priests?
The people of God who have been freed from sin through Jesus’ death, are part of His Kingdom to show the world what God is all about.
In eternity, that Kingdom will be perfect and complete in a way that it isn’t now since we live in a fallen world. But we have the ability because of Christ, to live in a way that shows Him off to the world.
Letting my mind wander on that concept is very encouraging for sure. The people of God are all part of a Kingdom that He has placed here on earth for now, but one day, we will be together in eternity…forever. It is where He will be the King in every sense of the word. He will have power and dominion over everything in ways He doesn’t now. Sin and evil will no longer exist. It will be amazing!
We are not only representatives of God’s Kingdom. But we are also priests. As such, we both intercede and advocate for those outside of the Kingdom before the Father.
But right now, there is a real sense that we are a kingdom of priests. We, His people are to stand out in a way that is special. Certainly, one job of priests is to intercede for God’s people as well as to be advocates in this world for His Kingdom. We are to show this world what this Kingdom is about. It is about action, not just talk. And it is loaded with the kind of love Jesus showed us…the kind of love that sacrifices for those around Him…even those who don’t care for Him at all!
We have been freed from our sin by the blood of Jesus so we can be representatives of this Kingdom who love others in a way that gives glory to God!
We have been freed from our sin by the blood of Jesus, not so we can simply do whatever we want, but so that we can be representatives of this Kingdom of people who love others in a way that gives glory to GOD! What an amazing benediction. A lot is packed in here. Am I this kind of representative of the Kingdom? Isn’t this a wonderful benediction to pass on to one another? P
- Take some time to think about what it means to be part of God’s Kingdom. If you want to spend time only in this passage, read what it says here. For added information, check out what Jesus has to say about the Kingdom of God in Mathew 5-7. Jot down what you learn in a way that is useful to you.
- Take some time to think about what it means for you to function as a priest. What would interceding look like if you are doing well for a non-Christian? What would it look like if you are advocating for a non-Christian well?
- What would it look like if you are interceding well for other Christians? advocating for other Christians? As I have thought this through, I realized that prayer needs to play a huge role in our lives in order to intercede and advocate well.
- How will what you have learned affect your prayer life?
- PS. I didn’t even touch on another common theme in benedictions: attributes of God. What was mentioned here?