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…
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood! Washing in blood is an incongruity. The word translated "washed" should be "loosened," and the general idea undoubtedly is, "Unto him that loosed us from our sins by his own life [or, 'by himself'] be glory." The words refer to the work of works.
I. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL WORKS. Loosing a soul from sin. Sin is a chain of darkness, a chain that enslaves, not the mere body, but all the faculties of the soul, and confines it in the cell of moral ignorance and corruption. Fallen angels are represented as manacled in this chain of darkness. What a chain is this! It is
(3) strong, and
(4) becomes stronger with the commission of every sin.
II. THIS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL WORKS, IS EFFECTED BY CHRIST, AND BY HIM ONLY. He is here represented as doing it by his own "blood." Sometimes the work is ascribed to "water," to the "Word," to "truth," to "grace," and to the "Spirit." The word is here used as a symbol of his self-sacrificing ministry. This is the work to which Christ gives his life. There is no other being in the universe that can break this chain save Christ. He came into the world to open the prison doors, and to set the captives free. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
III. That for this, the most important of all works, CHRIST RECEIVES THE PRAISES OF ETERNITY. "Unto him that loved us." True gratitude implies a belief in three things.
1. A belief in the value of the service rendered. Where the service is trivial, and of no importance, gratitude will not be very stirring or strong.
2. A belief in the kindness of the motive which inspired the service. If a man renders us a service, and we feel that his motive was sordid and selfish, we could scarcely feel gratitude, however greatly he benefited us.
3. A belief in the undeservedness of the service on our part. If we feel that the service rendered was merited by us, and that the author was bound in justice to render it, we could feel but little if any gratitude. Now, for these three reasons gratitude to Christ must rise to the highest point - a greater service could not be rendered; a kinder motive could not be imagined; a more undeserved benediction could not be conferred. "Unto him that loved us," etc.! - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,