The Lamb’s sacrifice secured the salvation of your soul, giving you the honor of serving God every day of your life.
YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Maybe you’ve never had those actual words directed at you, but you’ve undoubtedly experienced the feeling when someone broke the news to you:
- “I’m sorry—we can keep only so many players on the team. But please come back and try out next year.”
- “It’s not you—you’re a great person. I just feel like maybe we’re not the best fit for each other.”
- “Thanks for applying—your résumé was great, but we ended up going with someone else who had a bit more experience than you.”
The words sound different, but they all evoke the same feeling: You’re not good enough.
Good news! By God’s incomprehensible grace, through faith in Jesus, there’s another role you have from which you cannot get cut, dumped, or passed over. You are a part of “a kingdom and priests to serve our God!” (Revelation 5:10).
There is no greater role, no greater privilege, no greater honor, no greater joy than to serve God—and you get to do it! Yes, it’s true that God can use all things and all people (even the unbelieving!) to serve his purposes as he sees fit, but not everyone is privileged to get to serve him.
Sins that need to be paid for
You might wonder why you’re so special or what qualified you for this privilege. In the spectacular vision that is recorded in Revelation chapter 5, the apostle John saw firsthand what qualified us for this role: “[Jesus was] slain, and with [his] blood [he] purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (v. 9). There’s nothing there about a perfect church attendance record or how many church meetings you’ve attended over the course of your life. Nothing there about achievements or accolades or anything you’ve done!
Instead, every single eye gathered around the throne in John’s magnificent vision is focused on the Lamb, Jesus Christ. They all are celebrating how Jesus established this kingdom of priests to serve God.
How thrilling it must have been for this John to see the visualization of what the other John—the Baptizer—had proclaimed about Jesus: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Everything had come full circle—the Lamb was prophesied, then crucified, and finally glorified.
We know all too well why the blood of the Lamb had to purchase us for God. For starters, I confess that the distracted worship of my too-distant heart is a far cry from the dynamic worship displayed in these Revelation verses. Surely my ho-hum hymn singing gives me away! Or my mindless repetition of familiar confessions, creeds, and prayers. And wouldn’t it be nice if we could limit our need for the Lamb’s blood to just Sunday morning corporate worship? But no—it is our whole life that fails to hit the right note in properly praising the Lamb.
Because of our sinful nature, we view our service to God as a nuisance or an inconvenience rather than as a source of privilege. We fail to allot time in our self-inflicted busy schedules to allow for hospitality and serving our neighbor’s needs. Our praise of Jesus rarely extends beyond the walls of worship to find its way into casual conversation within our unbelieving circle of friends or drifting siblings. Our generosity is closeted by consumerism and credit card debt. Our Jesus joy is smothered by our political preoccupations.
Looking again at these verses from Revelation, it does not surprise us at all to see everything revolve around a lamb. The lamb played a central role in the Old Testament. If the countless lambs sacrificed again and again in the Old Testament illustrated one thing, it’s that sin must be paid for. If our lives testify to one thing, it’s a record of sins that must be paid for.
The price paid in full
Thank God for the Lamb. Thank God for Jesus Christ. We have already been paid for in full. We have already been bought.
When you and I speak of buying something—especially when it comes to something expensive like a car or house—we may say that we bought it, but really, we haven’t. The reality is, we’re still making payments on that purchase. In most cases, we will be making those payments for a very long time. So technically, we don’t own anything until the last payment is made and the price has been paid in full.
The Lamb was really slain for us. All sin—even ours!—has been forgiven.
That, however, was not what John revealed for us when speaking about God purchasing us. He didn’t see a Lamb making arrangements or negotiating a price. He didn’t see a Lamb financing and making payments over time. Rather, he saw a Lamb, “looking as if it had been slain” (v. 6), because it had! Good Friday really happened. The Lamb was really slain for us. All sin—even ours!—has been forgiven. We have been purchased in full. We will not be rejected from this calling to be priests to serve our God. The Lamb’s blood guarantees it.
Lives filled with service
Now do you get it? Does all the praise and exaltation surrounding the Lamb in John’s vision make sense? “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’” (v. 13). The crowds and creatures are awe-struck and amazed at the Lamb whose sacrifice secured the salvation of so many souls—including yours.
And so, the praise and exaltation flow from our lives too, as perfect priests eagerly and zealously serving the same Lamb. We view our service to God as a source of privilege. We actively and intentionally look for ways to show hospitality and serve our neighbor’s needs. Our praise of Jesus can’t help but ooze into casual conversation with unbelieving friends or drifting siblings. Our generosity swells. Our Jesus joy is amplified and abundantly evident in our day-to-day lives.
May the reality of Revelation and the Lamb’s love inspire your best service to God. You are good enough.
This article is an adaptation of Aaron Boehm’s devotion at this summer’s synod convention. Twice-daily devotions and two worship services at the convention all followed the themes of cross and crown, focusing on different readings from the book of Revelation. Watch coverage of the convention, including devotions, at welsconvention.net/livestream. View more synod convention coverage from Forward in Christ at forwardinchrist.net/convention.
Author: Aaron Boehm
Volume 110, Number 9
Issue: September 2023