What is the priesthood of all believers?
Bible teaches that God granted a gift, or gifts, to every Christian with which
to serve him, his Church and all other people who need him. The priesthood of
all believers was restored in and by Christ. These gifts look very different in
every Christian; but we all have one calling in common: to serve as the priests
of God in this world.
IS A PRIEST?
the time of the Old Testament, the people who were set apart to serve as
priests in the temple assisted the believers to bring their sacrifices and
prayers to God.
God also called all the believers known as the children of Israel, a nation of
priests and a holy nation. He ordained some for facilitating the worship of His
people to make all of his people, his servants.
of the aspects of being a priest is that you have the privilege to speak
directly to God. The Old Testament liturgy of sacrifice,
prayer and worship, where ordained priests fulfilled a calling, did not rob
God’s people of the right to speak directly to him as well. Personal prayer and
a walk with the Lord always were aspects of the believer’s life. The Lord ordained all his people to serve him
in this world and this service was the result of their communication with the
most holy God.
Israel arrived at Mount Sinai, Moses delivered startling news from the Lord:
"If you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured
possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you
shall be to me a priestly kingdom (or kingdom of priests)
and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5-6).
The Children of Israel were all being appointed to be royal
priests. Every one of them received this
speak of the believers as priests is different from calling them “clergy”.
Clergy are people set apart for a particular form of service. If it is pastoral
care, they may be called pastors and if it is preaching, they are called to do,
it may be “preacher”, teaching elder or minister (meaning servant) of the Word
of God. In the Old Testament we find liturgical
priests at the altars of sacrifice and as those called to a prayer
ministry. You also find prophets called
to make known the word of God amongst the Lord’s flock. Even the kings were seen as being anointed to
make God’s reign visible amongst God’s people and in the world.
when the Old Testament called God’s people a priestly nation, it emphasised
that liturgical priests were only instrumental in equipping all of God’s people
to be connected to him, to serve him with everything they owned and everything
the law of God received at Mount Sinai had the purpose to guide the people of
God in a priestly lifestyle and service, making his holiness known to everyone
and fulfilling his purpose with their lives.
The priestly lifestyle of God’s people included their national state,
their economy, their approach to social issues, their jobs, their marriage, and
family life and much more. In all these
facets of their lives as believers, they were called to live as those who are
in constant communication with a most holy God.
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
is no doubt that the response to God’s promise that we are his own, also in the
New Testament – and even more so in the New Testament than the old – has, at
the heart of it, the privilege of speaking directly to God and thus serve
him as one who remains in his presence during every facet of each day’s
responsibilities, challenges, joys and heart aches.
Book of Hebrews has a lot to say about our priestly calling in the world:
"Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession (the faith
we profess). Let us therefore approach the
throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to
help in time of need" (Hebr 4:14,16).
Old Testament liturgical priests needed to present blood sacrifices to qualify
for access to God, Jesus' own sacrifice provided a once for all atonement.
Since he died for our sins, we now are empowered to converse with God
confidently. Through the Son we may enter
his presence and through his Spirit the Son brings the presence of God into our
lives during each moment and each day of our lives.
AM I CALLED A PRIEST?
the Covenant God gave his commission to his people at Mount Sinai, we read in
Exodus 19:8 that: "the people all answered as one: 'Everything that the
Lord has spoken we will do'".
They accepted their purpose and calling as God’s people within the faith
community and in the world.
God delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses, the people's frame of mind
changed: (Ex 20:18-19). "When all the people witnessed the thunder and
lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid
and trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Moses, 'You speak to us, and
we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die'”
meaning of being called by God to do his work and live as his people
CHRIST ALL BELIEVERS WERE ONCE AGAIN RESTORED INTO THE PRIESTHOOD OF GOD.
the Christian church was planted by the apostles, the calling of all believers
to serve as priests was rejuvenated again. Peter declared, "You are a
chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that
you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his
marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
word did not come as a promise for the future, but as the proclamation of his
will for the Christian Church and community.
God said through the apostle Peter:
"You are ... a royal priesthood." He ordained (at our baptism) every believer to
be a representative of his Kingdom, with access to his throne, with a
responsibility on behalf of all the world and authority to act for the King,
Jesus our leader and head.
you willing to serve the holy God with all your life? Do you listen to his word
and speak it into the lives of all that you have contact with? Do you every day come to the throne of mercy
on the grounds of the sacrifice of our High Priest, Jesus? Do you intercede for
the church and for the world? Do you
submit to your calling as a priest of the most holy God?