THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
Leslie M. John
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”. (1 Peter 2:5)
We, in the New Testament period are, are greatly privileged to be called as lively stones built up to form a spiritual house, where our spiritual sacrifices are offered. Our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God through the only mediator; who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In contrast to the physical sacrifices offered in the Old Testament period, where Hebrews as a whole were called “holy nation” we, who are in the New Testament period, received the blessings to be equal with Jews, the chosen generation, consequent upon their rejection Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Thus we have become the “one New Man” with Jews and who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and thus we are together a “Royal Priesthood”.
God gave us the access to be in His presence through Lord Jesus Christ and worship Him in spirit and in truth; with all our heart, with all our soul and with our all mind. The access to the “Most Holy Place” which not even the children of Israel did have, except for the high priest once a year is given to us through Jesus Christ and we can speak in prayer to the LORD wherever we are and whatever circumstance we are. The Lord said:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20)
Participation in one bread and one cup, which are the “emblems” remind us the death of Lord Jesus Christ. He died on behalf of us and was buried and God raised Him on the third day. The Lord ascended into heaven after forty days of His appearance to many.
The Lord said “this do in remembrance of me” and while we are at it; we are there right in the presence of the Lord; rather closer to God than when we are in any other circumstance.
“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
Samaritan woman thought her worship was right, but Jesus corrected her.
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:20-23)
Faith in God, services rendered to Him, honoring His children with our substance, obedience to God, offering our bodies as living sacrifice, sheltering pure thoughts and keeping our bodies holy (because the body of man is the temple of God), and loving our neighbors as ourselves, are all part of our spiritual sacrifices.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1)
Before Mosaic Law was given the head of the each family was the priest of that house, and after the law was given Israel was to have become ’kingdom of priests’ through their perfect obedience, but they failed to keep the commandments that resulted in confining the priestly office to the tribe of Levi (Aaron and his family).
The high priest could go into the ‘holiest of all’ only once a year to offer the sacrifice. The law could hold everyone guilty of faltering on one count or the other. The grace and truth came from Lord Jesus Christ, who became the perfect sacrifice for us. He entered into the holiest of all the sanctuary in heaven, the model of which was the “Tabernacle” on behalf of us, rending the veil of the temple from top to bottom. Thus God gave us in this New Testament period, to all believers the privilege of offering up spiritual sacrifices through the one and only mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ was exemplary in nature and He suffered on behalf of us. He instructed us to follow Him. Jesus Christ did no sin, nor was any guile found in his mouth. He did not retort when His enemies reviled Him. He was the Son of God, and yet he did not threaten any mortal being, even when he was on the Cross. Rather, he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34). He bore our sins in his body, and the cross in order that we being dead to sins may become live unto righteousness.
We were all as sheep gone astray but the Lord by shedding His precious blood shed on the cross of Calvary. He cried aloud and said “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and having said thus, he gave up the ghost”. (Luke 23:46) “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Peter 2:1-25)
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”. (Acts 4:12)
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”(Romans 10:9-10)