Summary: The new song which the people of God sing in Heaven looks back to all that Christ accomplished on behalf of His people. All that we now enjoy and all that we shall enjoy are because of His sacrifice.
WHAT HAS JESUS DONE FOR US?
“Between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
“‘Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.’”
“The Me Generation” is a popular designation given to individuals born between 1943 and 1960. This group is also referred to as part of the “Baby Boomers.” The generation is characterised to a significant extent by a self-centred attitude. “What’s in it for me?” is frequently asked whenever individuals within this generation are asked to sacrifice. Told they were the centre of the universe, many of this generation believe that they are deserving of every benefit that was secured through the sacrifice of their parents’ generation. Every conceivable comfort is their right, without any personal sacrifice expected.
Since I am included within this age group, perhaps it is not unexpected that I think in terms of benefits whenever I consider the cost of an activity. I confess that I approached the Faith with a bit of a hardnosed attitude. “What’s in it for me?” was a question that occurred to me frequently in the early explorations of the Faith. I believe that I have progressed far beyond that question, however, as I have discovered the majesty of the Risen, Reigning Christ. He is worthy of my best efforts to glorify His Name because of who He is. However, this does not mean that there are no benefits to the Faith.
I am confident that today I would choose to be a Christian even were there no immediate benefits. I would choose to serve God because of who He is and not for what He is able to do. I have discovered that God is worthy of my highest praise and by best efforts to serve Him. With Job, I have learned to say, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” [JOB 13:15]. It remains that though God is gracious, we yet may well ask, “What has Jesus done for me?” We need not fear that He will come up short, because when we ask what Jesus has done for us we will discover that God is generous in the extreme.
Though I could undoubtedly appeal to any of a number of passages that speak of God’s goodness and generosity to us who believe, I invite you to consider a passage found in the Apocalypse. John draws back the curtain that separates time from eternity, permitting us a glimpse of the people of God at worship in heaven. The basis for worshipping the Lamb of God is what is especially important for our meditation this day.
THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN — The focus of the message is Christ the Lord. However, the text dictates that we look back to His accomplished work, rather than looking forward to His promised work. We who are Christians presently enjoy great benefits because of our relationship to Christ the Lord. We have forgiveness of sin. We have peace with God. We enjoy immediate access into His presence. We have His authority to announce life for all who receive Him as Lord. We are called by His Name and known as His people. We have His Spirit living within us and empowering us to accomplish great deeds in the Name of Christ our Lord.
There is no question but that we who are saved shall enjoy great benefits throughout all eternity. We shall dwell with God and we shall reign with Christ. We will soon receive the adoption as sons, for we have a full inheritance by His grace and through His mercies. We are appointed to serve Him throughout eternity, enjoying the glorified body that He has promised. Perhaps we are disappointed on occasion because we imagine that we have not received what we want, but in our hearts we know that we have received more than we deserve and we shall yet receive rich gifts from our gracious and generous Saviour.
According to John, the praise that believers will offer in Heaven looks back to the work that our Lord performed at the cross. Before we consider that work, we need to establish who is offering this praise. John has introduced twenty-four elders, and in order to determine who “the twenty-four elders” are, we should review the scene that is unfolded before us.