Verses 5b-6: "To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen."
Such is the way we have received God’s grace, enjoyed God’s peace, and are prepared for the works set before us! We are in the presence of the everlasting and omnipresent God. We are supplied by the Holy Spirit with the power we need. We are encouraged by the Lord. We see the victory that is sure! Now, we cannot help but be impressed by how much He has accomplished for us! Now, our hearts cannot help responding to Him! If our hearts are not in tune with that of the Lord, the result will be shame on the battlefield. In ancient times there were psalmists singing before Jehoshaphat’s army. Now, there should be the same in the Lord’s camp. In this way we will definitely be victorious (cf. 2 Chron. 20:21-22). When a person who is intimately related to the Lord hears about the glory of the Lord, he will surely be reminded of his relationship with the Lord. When the saints hear about the Lord Jesus’ testimony, resurrection, and reigning, they cannot remain silent. If they do, even the stones will raise their voices. Thus, at this point they burst into singing:
To Him who loves us
And has released us from our sins by His blood,
And made us a kingdom,
Priests to His God and Father,
To Him be the glory and the might
Forever and ever. Amen.
This hymn of praise of the faithful saints suddenly broke out from John’s mouth. It is our confession of His name and of our indebtedness to His redemption. Confessing Him in this way will cause us to be separated from the world which has rejected Him. This will also join us unto Him and make us His disciples and His testimony. "Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name" (Heb. 13:15). To confess His name and to praise the Lord are the most excellent works of the saints. Even though what is described here is not the intimate relationship between the Lord Jesus and the church but rather His glory as the Judge, nevertheless, those who really love the Lord cannot but raise their voices to praise Him. This is because we are not afraid of judgment. We know that He "loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood."
He "loves us!" Yes, He loves us. In the original text "love" is in the present tense, meaning that He now loves us. "Released" in the original text is in the past tense, meaning that He has released us from our sins. How do we know that He loves us now? We know because He has washed away our sins by His own blood. His present love is measured by His past work—the shedding of blood and the washing away of sins. We all have to measure in this way! Any other method is not dependable! Do not use your changing feelings and experiences to measure the love of the Lord! We know that He loves us now, for no reason other than that in the past He has shed His own precious blood to wash away our sins. Who can comprehend all the worth of the precious blood of the Lord? We have to remember this always. If one is "idle" and "unfruitful," it is because he has "forgotten the cleansing of his past sins" (2 Pet. 1:8-9). Remembering the grace we have obtained when we were saved enables us to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord cause us to realize this: all that we have are but sins. Yet, He loves us and He cleansed us. Thank God for the washing in the past and the unceasing love in the present! We thank the Lord because He loves, because He shed His blood, and because He loved us unto the shedding of His blood!
We can see His love not only through the shedding of His blood and the washing away of our sins, but also because He "made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father." Formerly, God promised the Israelites, "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests" (Exo. 19:6). This promise, however, had a condition. If they were obedient, then they would be such. However, they failed. Therefore, only the Levites became the priests. Yet, even their priestly service could not pass the veil. The grace of God now enables us to be joined together as one kingdom, a kingdom of priests. It enables us to enter into the Holy of Holies to have fellowship with God. The Lord Jesus, who expresses God, has already put us before Him—a place of joy, praise, and intercession. This is our present position. Every one of us is a priest of God. We give praise to God, intercede for other people, and rejoice in ourselves. It is very pitiful, however, that even though we have this kind of position, many of us do not have the experience of being God’s priests now. If we are asked to take care of some business, we might be able to handle it, but if we are asked to serve the Lord, we become helpless. However, those who cannot serve the Lord within the veil will never suffer without the camp.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 04: The Christian (2), Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)