In Christ, we are a holy nation of royal priests… Found in 1 Peter 2:9, this truth can be difficult to grasp. The verse tells us that we were chosen to be God’s own possession and that He created us to be “royal priests” for Him. But what does this mean exactly?
As a Christian, I know that my calling is to serve God with all of my heart, but priesthood goes beyond simply going to church, reading my Bible, and sharing the Gospel. It’s a position of status, one that should never be taken lightly.
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Have you ever thought about what it means to be a “priest” of God? The Bible tells us that all those who are in Christ are His royal priests. This is certainly a change from what it once was under the Old Covenant. Under the Mosaic Law, it was the tribe of Levi who served as priests for the entire nation of Israel. But this was not God’s original intention for His people. Even in those days, He looked forward to a day when He would have an entire nation of priests. (Exodus 19:5-6)
As royal priests, we have priestly duties…
- To serve the people… Priests sacrificially serve others. Even Jesus (who is referred to as our High Priest) humbly washed the feet of His disciples. We serve without any expectation to be served in return.
- To intercede on behalf of others… When we intercede in prayer, we are “intervening” on behalf of someone else. We do this every time we enter into spiritual battle for a loved one. We intercede for their healing, their restoration, or their salvation. It’s too easy to allow our prayer lives to become self-focused. God longs for us to be in prayer for those around us as well.
- To offer spiritual sacrifices… Hebrews 13:15-16 tells us to lift up sacrifices of praise to God. Under Mosaic Law, the priests offered up animal sacrifices to God, but Jesus put an end to that system on the cross becoming our ultimate sacrifice once and for all. Now we have the privilege of offering spiritual sacrifices to our Father by surrendering all we have to Him.
- To share the priesthood with others… The amazing thing about being a nation of priests is that we are not alone in our priesthood. We get to share our duties with all those who are part of the Kingdom of God. With that being said, we cannot forget our most crucial “duty” as a priest… leading others into the Kingdom. And when we lead others to Christ, we are in essence creating an even larger nation of priests!
- To live set apart… The Levites were the chosen priests of Israel under the Old Covenant. They were set apart to perform the priestly duties assigned to them, and they often led a much different life than the people they served. In the same way, we are called to be holy and set apart for God.
- To proclaim God’s goodness… As royal priests, we have the privilege of proclaiming the Good News to the world. Our God is an awesome God indeed!
- To spend time in the presence of God… This final “duty” feels more like a perk than a duty. Prior to Christ, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies where God’s presence dwelt. (And they were only allowed to enter once a year.) But when Christ died, the veil was torn in two allowing all to enter. Not only can we boldly approach the Father, but the Bible calls us the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The very presence of God now lives inside each and every one His children.
As royal priests, we have direct access to the presence of God. We are empowered by Him to carry out all of our priestly duties.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.