John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
I. A MINISTERIAL SALUTATION.
1. It was given by an old minister to Churches with whom he was formerly acquainted. It is well for ministers to communicate the experience of their higher moments of spiritual enjoyment to their congregations. Pastors should never forget the old churches from which they have removed. They should always be ready to write to them a holy salutation.
2. It evokes the highest moral blessing to rest upon the Asiatic Churches.
(1) All Christian Churches need Divine grace, to inspire with humility, to strengthen in trial, and to quicken in energy.
(2) All Christian Churches need peace, that sympathy may extend from member to member, that moral progress may be constant, and that the world may have a pattern of holy unity. God only can impart these heavenly blessings.
3. It mentions the Divine Being under the grandest appellations.
(1) Indicative of eternity, "Which is, and which was, and which is to come."(2) Indicative of dignity. "And from the Seven Spirits."(3) Indicative of fidelity. "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness." During the period of His Incarnation Christ was a faithful witness. He was a faithful witness of His Father. He was faithful to the Jews; before Pilate; to humanity. He sealed His testimony with His death.
(4) Indicative of royalty. "The Prince of the kings of the earth." Rendered supreme, not by the victory of an earthly conquest, but by the right of eternal Godhead.
II. A SUBLIME DOXOLOGY.
1. Inspired by a glad remembrance of the Divine love. "Unto Him that loved us." Ministers ought to delight to dwell on the love of God. If they did, it would frequently awaken a loving song within them. It would also have a glad effect upon their congregations.
2. Celebrating the Divine and sweet renewal of the soul. "And washed us from our sins." The love of Christ, and the renewal of the moral nature, should go together, not merely in the pages of a book, but also in the actual experiences of the soul. He can wash us from our sins, and give purity, freedom, and peace in their stead. What process of cleansing so marvellous, so healthful, and heavenly as this!
3. Mentioning the exalted position to which Christian manhood is raised in Christ. "And hath made us kings and priests unto God."(1) The Christian is a king. He rules himself; his thoughts, affections, and passions. He rules others by the sublime influence of patience and faith.
(2) The Christian is a priest. He offers sacrifices to God, the sacrifice of himself, which is reasonable and acceptable; the sacrifice of his prayer, praise, and service. He also makes intercession for others.
4. Concluding with a devout ascription of praise to Christ. "To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Christ has "glory." The glory of Divinity; of heavenly praise; of terrestial worship; of moral conquest; of unbounded moral influence. Christ has "dominion"; dominion over the material universe; over a growing empire of souls; by right of nature rather than by right of birth. Both His glory and dominion are eternal. Both should be celebrated in the anthems of the Church, as they are glad reasons for human, as well as angelic, joy.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;