By: Scott Adkins, Sling ‘n Stone Ministry
Carter County Times
We continue our multi-part series, “Who Is Jesus Christ,” with Revelation 1:5’s identifying The Lord as “Him that loved us.” What does that identity mean, and why is that so significant?
“Him that loved us,” sums up the Gospel. We should not ignore the order or sequence of words. That is, the Gospel, our salvation, begins – and ends – with Him. Him who? Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 12:2 describes The Lord Jesus as “the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” That’s why the Lord sacrificed Himself to crucifixion’s agonies. Because He “loved us,” even when we were out reveling in sin and debauchery: “God commanded His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
In Matthew chapter 9, the Lord sat eating with tax collectors; prostitutes; and others whom society despised. The religious folks of His day questioned why the Lord ate with sinners. And “when Jesus heard that, He said… I will have mercy[.]” (Matt. 9:13). As we sat on that bar stool drinking ourselves stupid; as we hated our neighbor; as we lusted after things forbidden to us, He loved us and declared: “I will have mercy.” Yes, the Gospel’s core truth and reason for existing is “Him that loved us.” (Rev. 1:5).
However, folks get so fixated on the Lord’s love for us they fall victim to “easy believism.” What is that? “Easy believism” describes the notion that all one need do is “believe” and maybe utter a little prayer or get baptized to avoid hell’s torments. Hebrews 5:9 debunks that notion, declaring: “He [the Lord Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” Obey Him how? Jesus tells us in Mark 1:15: “[R]epent ye, and believe the Gospel.”
Absent repentance, no one avoids eternal damnation; about this fundamental truth, the Lord left no doubt, saying in Luke 13:3-5: “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
So, He loved us (Rev. 1:5); gave Himself for us (Ephesians 5:2), precisely so we could repent and believe His Gospel.
The Lord’s identity as “Him that loved us” says it all. His Gospel and its saving power begins and ends with the Lord Jesus Christ, as do all things. (Rev. 1:8) (“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord.”). For those who make it to heaven, their answer at heaven’s pearly gates cannot be, “because I.” Rather, their answer must be “because He . . . the man on the middle cross . . . He said we could come.” No one else loved us like that. Only He “loved us.”
And if that’s not more than reason enough to declare His Gospel; endure persecution; and, if called upon, suffer death for “Him that loved us,” nothing is.