Evangelicals almost never talk about their priesthood. And, I’m not referring to those men in robes and vestments standing in front of church, leading worship and dispensing the sacraments, as in the Catholic Church.
I’m talking about you and me! And every born-again Christian – priests.
“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.” 1 Peter 1:9
The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, is introducing one of the most radical ideas ever, in any religion. That every born-again Christian is a priest! Prior to that, all religions had a class of spiritual leaders who believed they were intermediaries between the people and the gods. And this religious class perpetuated that idea because it kept them in power and control.
In the case of Israel, the priesthood actually was God’s idea, not mans. But with Christ’s death, the priesthood in Israel ended because Jesus became our forever high priest. “Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.” Hebrews 8:1,2
Priests on earth So, while Christ is our heavenly priest, on earth we are his priests. However, we don’t stand between God and man as priests of old did. There is no human being, no pastor, no elder, no religious leader, we need as an intermediary between Jesus and us. Yes, there are elders and pastors assigned to lead churches, but they no longer stand between God and us. Christians have direct access to God, because we are all priests of God! So if we don’t stand between God and man, what is our purpose? To serve God, by serving humans – not to stand above them, but to stand alongside of them!
Here are 5 ways you and I can be better priests.
Be Holy When we think of being holy, it conjures up the image of self-righteous, “I’m better than you,” church-lady behavior. But Peter commands us, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12Peter isn’t tell us to separate ourselves from the world, but to “live such lives among pagans” as to be “salt” to the world. Yes, elsewhere in the New Testament we’re called to not engage in the sinful practices of the world.
Be Holy, Socially. The Internet is one of the greatest tools in the world for a Christian priest. It’s also one of the worst; I’m often ashamed when I read the Facebook content of some Christians. Many of the T.V. shows, movies, music, and artists and actors that they “like” are completely antithetical to a Christian worldview. Here’s the test I apply; “Would Jesus be proud of the people and values I espouse on my Facebook page?”One of the purposes for every believer is to make God look good. We’re either being a good priest or bad priest socially. Take a look at what you’re telling the world on social media, about who and what you admire and are actually “priest” to. Does it clearly send the message God is your only god, or just one of your gods?
Be grace dispensers. Peter says this, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11. “Faithfully administering God’s Grace” is an interesting phrase. Here’s how we should think about that.God is the source of all grace to every believer (unmerited favor), including every spiritual gift. But we are one of God’s conduits of that grace. We have the privilege and responsibility to channel what we’ve been given, to others. It’s our job to keep the pipeline flowing, passing on to others the money, the truth, the encouragement, and the love we received from Jesus. When we do we are, faithfully administering God’s grace…
Get Moving! Historically priests worked out of a temple and people came to them. But Jesus said, “Go into all the world…” Christian priests are commanded to look for the lost and hurting in hospitals, retirement homes, homeless shelters, jails and in our neighborhoods. The new “sanctuary of the saved” – for us priests, are offices, factories, neighborhoods and schools. Not once did Jesus ever tell us to bring people to church. He said, “go!” We are called to be a mobile priesthood. So, are you in the habit of making “house calls” for God?
Be a priest in and to your family first. There’s a question I’ve been asking for over 15 years. “Would the people who know you best consider you a Christian, or serious follower of Jesus?”The people who know you best, are your family. Do you think they view you as a priest to them? Would they use these kinds of adjectives, servant, godly, kind or generous to describe you? Do you go before God regularly and ask for the wisdom to be a better priest to your family?
In conclusion In the Old Testament we read of great priests and terrible priests. We have the same range of priests today. Would you take a few minutes right now to let the Holy Spirit instruct you about the quality of your priesthood?
How following Jesus works in real life.
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