- October 21, 2020
Last week I wrote about us being the holy temple of God. This week I am writing about us being the royal priesthood of God. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, you are very important – and I’m challenging you to live up to all God has intended for you to be. Like
Last week I wrote about us being the holy temple of God. This week I am writing about us being the royal priesthood of God. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, you are very important – and I’m challenging you to live up to all God has intended for you to be.
Like last week, I need to lay some groundwork, so stick with me until the end of the article.
The main characters of the old covenants included prophets, priests, judges and kings:
The prophets represented God and spoke on His behalf to the people. Their messages were often harsh as they called out disobedience and its consequences. They represented God’s holiness.
The priests represented the people and spoke on their behalf to God. The priests performed sacrifices and offered special prayers as they mediated between a sinful people and a holy God. They represented God’s mercy and grace.
The judges served after the time of Moses and Joshua and until Israel’s first king. They were leaders God raised up to guide and guard His people. A few of their stories stand out, like Gideon, Deborah and Samson.
The kings, well, the kings were not supposed to be a part of the story. Israel had a king – Almighty God. But the people rejected God as their king, so human kings enter the storyline. See I Samuel 8. Even though God gave them human kings, God never stopped being Israel’s true King.
In the New Covenant, we find the same characters, but in very different ways:
The only King is Almighty God. By fulfilling all of the words of the Law and prophets, the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, once again asserts Himself as the one and only King. See Philippians 2:10-11, I Timothy 6:13-15 and Revelation 19:16. In fact, He is the “KING of kings and LORD of lords.”
The Prophets and Judges are the Word of God (both flesh and written) and the Holy Spirit. As King, God now speaks for Himself through His Word (Jesus, the Word become flesh, and the written Word of Scripture) and through the convicting presence of His Holy Spirit. As a holy God speaks, a broken and fallen world is convicted and stands guilty before the Judge without excuse. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
The High Priest – Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, the Mediator of the New Covenant and Head of the Church.
The Royal Priesthood – The declared perfect and becoming holy followers of Jesus Christ who are invited by God to (1) accept your royal adoption into the King’s family as co-heirs with Jesus Christ, (2) enter the most holy place with boldness and (3) serve in the Great Commission as the ambassadors of Jesus Christ in the ministry of reconciliation.
As a child of the King of Kings, you are royalty. A child of a king is called a prince or a princess – and that’s what you are! Are you living like it? Do you comprehend your royal and holy position? Look at your choices and your habits – do they reflect royalty and holiness? Or are you so weighed down by your failures and regrets that you are wasting your potential? It’s time to begin living up to the position God has placed you in.
As a royal priest, God invites you to enter the most holy place with boldness. In the Old Covenant, the priest would enter the most holy place just once a year to offer sacrifices for sin on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It was a fearful thing to do. Being in the presence of God could mean immediate death. So sacred was the most holy place, that it was separated from the rest of the temple by a high curtain that was up to three feet thick with layers of material. The curtain represented the separation between sinful man and a holy God. But when Jesus was crucified, the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom – something only God could have accomplished (see Matthew 27:51). Through Jesus Christ, the separation between God and man was removed. As royal priests, God now invites us to continually enter the most holy place with boldness. Actually, as last week’s article declared, you are that most holy place! Do we have any idea just how blessed we are?
As ambassadors of the ministry of reconciliation, God has called us to declare His love, mercy and grace to a broken world. We are well-suited to the task because we have already received God’s abundant love, mercy and grace. Who better to declare the good news than those who have been forgiven? “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” Luke 12:48
Best of all, you and I are free to love without hesitation or reservation. God is the King, Prophet and Judge. As royal priests, He asks only one thing of us: love each other. As royal priests who do not need to carry any other role, we are free to love and love and love.
Yes, love those who hate you. Yes, love those who persecute and mistreat you. Yes, love those who say all manner of evil against you. Yes, love those who look, act, love and believe differently than you do. Yes, love even those who vote differently than you do. Since God is the King, Prophet and Judge, you are free to love.
If the royal priesthood (you and me) could just get that right, the world would see Jesus and would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God sent Him into this world to seek and save the lost. That was the prayer of Jesus in John 17, and it was the command He gave to His disciples in John 13:34-35.
My friends, you are the royal priesthood. Now go and love.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Peter 2:9-10.