Priesthood of Some Believers Part One

(1 Pet 2:9-10 NASB) "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; {10} for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY."

I've been wanting to do the research for this post for days. Yesterday was my day off of work, which allowed me the time to sit down and read. I read through the great book of Leviticus looking for explanations of what the Old Testament priests did. Because if the New Testament writers were describing believers as the "priesthood of believers," I assume they would have had the Old Testament concept of priest on their mind. After waking up from the reading-induced sleep, this is what I had discovered.

I'll also try to make these posts a little more brief. Because of that, the topic will spread over a few days. Today's will be a little dry. You have been forewarned unless you just skim and aren't even reading this sentence.

What Leviticus says about priest:

The priests were in charge of 5 offerings: Burnt offerings, Sin offerings, Offerings of well-being, Grain offerings, and Guilt offerings.

These explanations fo what each offering was comes from the Leviticus Tyndale Old Testament Commentary by R.K. Harrison.

Burnt offerings - Gaining divine favor.

Sin offerings - Need for purification from sin or defilement.

Guilt offerings - Guilt about misappropriation of holy things or some loss to sanctuary.

Offerings of well-being - Gratitude to God; fellowship with Him; public rejoicing; deliverance from vows.

Grain offering - Thanksgiving and securing divine goodwill.

An excerpt from the commentary:

"What is commonly described as the 'priesthood of all believers' implies that those who have committed their lives to Christ as Savior and Lord, and thereby have experienced spiritual rebirth, have direct access to the Father without any recourse to human intermediaries. It also means that all true believers must aspire to live as priests who are consecrated to the Lord's service so that they will bring continuous honor to God's sacred name. Therefore they must be moral, upright and holy in their daily existence. Peter caught the spirit of Leviticus firmly in his exhortation to Christians to emulate divine holiness in every activity of life (I Pet 1:15)."

We are called to continue sacrificing; however, our sacrifice has changed. No longer do we sacrifice animals for guilt, or grain for blessings. We sacrifice ourselves daily.

(Rom 12:1-2 NASB) "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. {2} And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

We are called to be something completely different from the world, while at the same time making those in the world right with God. A priest made those who weren't right with God right in his eyes by following proper sacrificial procedures. We are called to do the same with the world around us. But the strategy has changed. No longer do we expect them to bring a sacrifice. We are the sacrifice. We give up our life and misconceptualized freedom in Christ so that those around us can be right with God. By sacrificing our lives those who do not know God will see the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Then they will be made right with God and will do the same for others.

(1 John 3:16 NASB) "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

(Gal 5:13-14 NASB) "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. {14} For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.""

We have a high and almost unrealistic (at least from where I stand today) calling to finish the Reformation. Martin Luther shifted the focus from church tradition to the word of God, but they failed to shift the focus from a professionalized ministry to the priesthood of all believers. We live in a half-reformed kingdom.

An excerpt from Going to the Root by Christian Smith (an ad of which is to the right):

"The clergy are the keepers of the church. But the church doesn't need to be kept by clergy. God keeps the church and asks all believers to participate in keeping it. Clergy professionals are to preserve, protect, and dispense Christian truth, correct teachings, the Bible, the sacraments, and authority. Yet truth is not so fragile it needs such care. Christian truth is not some classified or dangerous material which only card-carrying experts can handle. Nor is it like riches which need the protection of safe vaultss and armed security guards. It is the Holy Spirit's, not the hierarchy or denomination's job, to preserve Christian truth in history. And the Holdy Spirit has preserved truth by distributing it to all of the people of God so they can share it together. As John taught, 'You have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth....The anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you' (I John 2:20, 27, NIV)."

Until tomorrow.

Watch out for the potholes.