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She Practices The Priesthood of All Believers[an error occurred while processing this directive]
by Hulen L. Jackson
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I'm a priest. You're a priest. We're all priests in God's kingdom. Christ alone is the high priest. So the Bible teaches plainly. From the early apostasy of the New Testament church into the Greek and Roman Catholic churches came the separation of Christians into clergy and laity. The apostolic church did not believe nor practice such. From this departure came the teaching of Protestant bodies about "ordained preachers" who alone can serve the "sacraments" of the church to the laity, and the belief that the front of the church building where the communion table is kept becomes the "altar" where the ordained preacher or priest alone can serve communion. To go back to simple New Testament teaching and practice will eliminate all of this error.
WHAT IS A PRIEST?
The word translated "priest" in the New Testament means prince or servant but throughout the Bible a priest can not be separated from an altar or from the offering of sacrifices. A prophet served God for the people while a priest served the people in offering their gifts before God. The fathers did so in the Patriarchal age; the Levites did so in the Jewish age, and all Christians today as priests offer to God gifts and sacrifices. It can easily be proved from the New and the Old Testaments that God has never allowed anyone to offer sacrifices save a priest in any age. Every Christian today, as a priest before God, brings his offerings and sacrifices before the Father.
OUR PRIESTHOOD TODAY AS THE CHURCH:
Even Jesus' high priesthood is not discussed in the New Testament until you come to the book of Hebrews and there the writer exalts him as our one and only and ever- lasting high priest in heaven serving us who are on earth. We will never have or need another. He has already given before God the one sacrifice for our sins once for all. But, our own priesthood is hardly mentioned even in Hebrews; you have to come to the writings of Peter and John to get such instructions. Hebrews 10:22 is oft considered a reference, based upon the Old Testament picture, to our priesthood today, serving the True Tabernacle, the church. Study closely the following passages.
"Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continuously, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." This must be understood with the assumption that all Christians to whom he is writing are priests and therefore have the right to bring such sacrifices before God's altar in heaven. Whether the fruit here is singing or praying, I could not do so if I were not a priest. Vincent in his word studies of the News Testament explains that "offer up" in this passage actually means "bring up to the altar." A Christian does just that when he praises God either in song or in prayer.
1 Peter 2:5-9
Peter is writing to the dispersed elect-Christians in this letter and not just to apostles. In verse 5 Peter calls us "a holy priesthood" and also a "spiritual house," suggesting that Christians today are separated (holy) from the world and thus constitute not only a true temple but are the priests in that very temple of God. Then in verse 9 he adds the thought that we are also a "royal priesthood" exalting our spiritual state and relationship with God, calling us regal or kingly priests. And, as such in God's house today, we "bring up to the altar" which is in heaven, spiritual or living sacrifices. Only priests can do so. As a people for God's own possession, we all as priests approach the Father through our High Priest, Jesus the Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
John then adds in this verse the thought that Christ hath made us to be a "kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father." Collectively we are his kingdom and individually we are priests in that kingdom. Yes, even John believed and taught that we are kingly or royal priests before God. Remember John wrote mainly to the seven churches of Asia - not to just a select clergy in those churches. In Revelation 5:10 John repeats virtually the same thought about us, saying that Jesus purchased out of every tribe and nation a people and made them into a kingdom of priests. That's who and what we are today.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service." Note the words: brethren, sacrifice, spiritual service . Brethren (not just a select group called a clergy) were directed to offer or present sacrifices in spiritual service unto God. Recalling that only priests can offer sacrifices, this statement Paul makes implies necessarily that brethren are priests and thus can obey this command. Thank God daily that you are a priest and do not have to go through any man on earth to contact God or to offer your sacrifices, offerings and gifts unto the Father. What are some of these sacrifices we offer as Christians? From Burton Coffman's fine commentary on 1 Peter (pages 96-98) may I list the following:
(a) Our faith is our sacrifice.
(b) The love of God is our sacrifice.
(c) Our repentance is our sacrifice.
(d) Our confession of faith in Christ is a sacrifice.
(e) Our baptism into Christ is our sacrifice.
(f) Our praise of God is our sacrifice.
(g) Our contributions are our sacrifices.
(h) Our songs are our sacrifice.
(i) Our prayers are our sacrifices.
(j) The whole life of honor and love on the part of devoted Christians is their sacrifice.
With such sacrifices God is well pleased and they are acceptable through Jesus Christ our Lord. I can offer up; you can offer up; we all can offer up spiritual sacrifices. Do so faithfully.
What is the origin of the clergy-laity classes found in most churches?
Who can serve as a priest in God's church today?
What are the duties of a Christian priest?
Who is the high-priest of the church?
According to Paul, through whom must we offer our worship?
(1 Timothy 2:5).
Discuss the sacrifices Christians are to offer God.
Note: This material is copyrighted (1981) by Star Bible Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 821220, Fort Worth, TX 76182 and is used with the express permission of Mr. Alvin Jennings, owner
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