where Newton took his first communion as a believer
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his father:
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
The Apostle while addressing the churches he was commanded to exhort, having wished them grace and peace from Jesus Christ, at the mention of the Redeemer’s name breaks forth suddenly into this ascription of praise. It shows the fullness of his heart, q.d. How can I speak of him without reminding you and myself of our immense obligations. There is a marvellous sweetness in the name of Jesus, it is as ointment poured forth to them that love him, at least when the Holy Spirit is pleased to impress it upon the heart. He is always precious in their esteem, and those are the happiest moments of their lives, when they feel their affections most sensibly engaged. May the Lord make this season and this subject a blessing to us, that our souls may join with the words of my text and say Unto him _ etc.
1. His narrative, Love
2. His work, He washed us
3. The happy effects – Kings and priests
1. Unto him who loved us
If his name was not in the context he would be sufficiently marked out by this description. None but God such love could show. Not men (Rom. 5). Not angels, they love whom the Lord loves, but they are willing ministers of his vengeance upon sinners, as in the case of Herod. It was free, love to the unworthy and miserable (Rom 5:8), undeserved and undesired. It was distinguishing – he loved not the fallen angels, but fallen man. It was expensive (as under the next head). It was victorious and effectual love – not like that helpless pity and compassion which we often express to each other, a love that would not be wearied or disappointed by any hindrances or sufferings.
2. He washed etc.
Expresses the complete accomplishment of his design, entirely cleansed, as Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18.
2.2 From our sins
Any thing short of this would have left us miserable. perhaps some of you do not know this, but think the world can make you happy, but where sin is, there is guilt exposing to wrath and dominion which renders peace impossible (as Isa. 57:21).
2.3 In his own blood
This is the point upon which the whole turns. Could men or angels have suggested or hoped for such an expedient as this. May it teach us:
(i) The evil of sin
Wisdom does nothing in vain. Had there been any other way to expiate sin, Jesus would not have spilt his blood, nor would the Father have said, Awake O sword, against his only beloved Son. Surely you who have little thoughts of sin – know but little of this subject. May the Lord awaken you, for if Christ was not spared, shall you escape?
(ii) To admire his love
Had he saved, as he created with a word, it had been great love – but to bleed and die, and such a death. May we not take up a lamentation and say, Alas my heart of stone. We talk of gratitude to our fellow creatures, but, was Paul crucified? Would your parent or child or the wife of your bosom do anything like this?
(iii) The value of this blood.
Poor trembling soul, let not guilt or unbelief or Satan tempt you to dishonour it, by refusing the comfort provided. The blood of Jesus – cleanseth from all sin.
3. The happy effects
Kings, because heirs of a kingdom, children of the great king – not a pardon, but to reign with God in glory.
Priests implying that nearness and liberty with God, access by blood – grace to offer sacrifices of prayer and praises, and acceptance in the beloved.
Shall we not then join in saying – To him that loved us – Worthy is the Lamb. If you can begin to sing this song now, you shall sing it in heaven. And shall not our lives praise him. Surely you will no longer halt between two opinions or think any easy besetting [sin] too dear to be sanctified to him.