A Vision of Christ
When John began his letter of revelation to the seven Churches, He opened with a word of grace and peace from Him who was, and who is, and who is to come. Nothing in the created universe can compare to an eternal being, which is what the different forms of "to be," as in "was," "is," and "to come" describe.
John then quickly turns our attention to the One from whom grace and peace come; it is Jesus Christ, whose name means God is Savior, the One sent from God.
The next distinguishing mark from whom this revelation comes is the faithful witness. Concerning His witness, Jesus said, in John 5:31, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." In that context, He was accused by the religious leaders of healing on the Sabbath. His healing of a man who could not walk was testimony to the work of God. Furthermore, God is one in three persons, and they give witness to one another, so Jesus went on to say in 5:17, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." By this word, He confirmed His personhood in the trinitarian Godhead.
God the Father imparts life (eternal life), and in the same way, the Son of God also does. "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes." (5:21). Jesus gave testimony to the vital element of faith in salvation and the damning state of men if they never believe in the One who sent Jesus into the world. "Truly, truly, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)
Jesus spoke of future things at that time, "And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:29) People who do good works pleasing to God and not dead works that damn them to hell are those who give a true testimony of Jesus Christ.
In Revelation 1:5, He is "the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth." As the firstborn, He has the first place above the whole of creation; He gives new life through His resurrection, which proved that He lived a sinless life and died for the sins of others. Therefore, the grave could not hold onto Him. It does not appear at present that Jesus is the firstborn and has all authority over the kings of the earth, but regardless the day of His return is coming, and it is coming soon.
As John begins to conclude his opening remarks, He continues to keep His focus upon Jesus Christ by saying, "To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood..." We could become easily confused as to whom John is referring by using the word "our." All men sin as stated in Romans 3:23; therefore, only upon those whom Jesus places His special love by applying Christ's sacrifice are released from their sins. The same people love Him back and respond to what He makes them be- a kingdom of priest to His God and Father.
A priest is a person who intercedes for the people. Those who give testimony to the person and work of Jesus Christ agree with Him about what He said and did. As intercessors, they proclaim the saving value of Jesus and give testimony to how He is transforming their lives.
He then repeats the two words by which he began the sentence, "To Hm," and thereby completes his thought. "To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." James placed the glory where it belongs, on Jesus Christ. To glorify any person other than Christ is the grave and grievous sin of idolatry from which the Apostle John was delivered. Jesus deserves all dominion first because He created everything and secondly because He bought them when He died for their sins. The grand purpose in redemption is for Christ to be identified with His people and thereby conformed them to His own glorious image.
The rejection of God's two-fold purpose of redemption is a grievous sin of unbelief; may it not be present in any of my hearers.