A couple weeks ago, our morning worship closed in prayer with a remembrance that we are a royal priesthood. Upon completion of the prayer I pondered the ramifications of this statement Peter makes in his first epistle. First of all, this flies in the face of some who would put priests in a higher class of church members. When the word priest is heard we likely envision someone standing in the front of an assembly offering service on behalf of that assembly and that is not surprising when considering the definition of priest. However, having reviewed this much, let us look at what Peter says… 1 Peter 2:9, tells us “you are… a royal priesthood…” Keep in mind that we need to know to whom he speaks and so we return to the opening words of his letter. Chapter 1, verses 1-3 are addressed to “those who reside as aliens, scattered’ throughout what we know of as modern day Turkey. Additionally, he identifies them as “chosen…and sprinkled with His blood”. In other words, those who are “priests” are members of the blood bought body of Christ (or church). It’s difficult to view ourselves as a priest primarily due to the way the world has come to view church leadership, rather than the way scripture describes.
Now, let’s see how this affects the ‘average’ Christian considering they now know they are more than just a ‘pew packer’. A priest is one who is allowed access into God’s presence, such as in Tabernacle and Temple worship, while others were subject to death on approach. A priest is one who offers sacrifices, not as they did in Old Testament times, but rather as Hebrews 13:1-2 and Romans 12:1 indicates. The priestly sacrifices were of a continual nature, and thus the same applies to sacrifices of the “royal priesthood” which will also be continual.
If you have been added to the body of believers (Acts 2:41) then by default you are a member of Peter’s royal priesthood. It’s an awesome relationship that draws out an awesome response from those who have counted the cost of discipleship as Jesus calls us to in a parable in Luke 14:25-35. “He who has an ear to ear, let him hear.” Does your faith manifest itself in a priestly manner?
Copyright © 2009, Nolan P. Rutter