But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people… (1 Peter 2:9, KJV)
What a word for us! You are a royal priesthood. It essentially means you are a king-priest, sharing in the King and Priest offices of Jesus. Do you know what you are supposed to do as a priest? Have you been fulfilling your priestly functions? Let us briefly review the truth that the believer is a priest in Christ.
There are two related but distinct roles the priests in the Old Testament fulfilled. The first is that the priest was a mediator between God and the people in general terms. Secondly, the priests offered sacrifices and offerings to God. In the New Testament, there is just one Mediator, the High Priest of all, Jesus Himself. This is an important change from the OT to the NT. God can use you to pray for the unsaved for example or meet some other needs but that is technically not the same as being a mediator between God and those people. Some teachers have used the role of intercession, for example, to say we are priests mediating between God and the unsaved. This is really stretching this truth. The key function you perform as a priest is found in the second role of the priests noted above.
Peter himself gives us the meaning of our priesthood role 4 verses before the verse above
“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, KJV)
You are a priest to offer spiritual sacrifices, as opposed to the natural sacrifices the OT priests, who were a shadow of the true things to come were offering. The phrase “acceptable to God” above is full of meaning. It is beyond offering something to God that He accepts. Yes, God accepts our sacrifices because the Holy Spirit offers them in us. Beyond acceptance is the concept of pleasing. Sacrifices were meant to please God. As noted above, God has not called you to offer sacrifices for your sins or to die for the sins of other people. Jesus is the ONLY MEDITATOR and He has not given us that ministry. He has rather made you a priest, to offer sacrifices that God accepts and which give Him pleasure. Imagine giving God something that He delights in, takes pleasure in, and is well-pleased with. Yes, Christ has made it possible for you to give God what He is looking for! Do you remember Jesus telling the Samaritan woman, “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 4:23, KJV). There is a sacrifice you have that pleases God and He is looking for it!
Peter says the sacrifice we have is not a goat or sheep. He calls them spiritual sacrifices. The Old Testament animal sacrifices were only a shadow. You have the real thing. You have the spiritual sacrifice. That sacrifice is your very life being offered to God, it is the sacrifice of praise, worship, and thanksgiving you offer to Him, etc. Many of you might not have realized the power that is in your words of praise and worship. Read what the Prophet Hosea wrote
“Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: Say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: So will we render the calves of our lips.” (Hosea 14:2, KJV)
Your words, spoken from a heart that is born again and filled with the Holy Spirit are a mystery! He calls them the “calves of our lips”! That is, those animal sacrifices the priests in the OT were offering to please God were only a shadow of the real calves on your lips! Your praise, worship, thanksgiving and your entire life constitute a fragrance pleasing to God ( 2 Cor. 2:15).
If you have not taken your priestly duties seriously, you should from today. Your life, together with the words of praise, worship, thanksgiving, is an offering and a sacrifice God takes pleasure in!
In very simple terms, what is your main duty today as a priest in Christ?
APPLY THE WORD
Do you know that when God sees you in Christ, it gives Him pleasure? When you live holy and righteous, offering your life to Him, He is well pleased to receive that offering. When you open your mouth and praise the Lord and worship Him, it is better than all the Old Testament animals offered put together. You’re the priest of the Lord!
Thank the Father for making you a priest in Christ.