Friday, June 13, 2014

3. The Priesthood of All Believers

                Baptists do not believe in a separate priesthood, but that all believers are priests. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (ESV) Under the old covenant, the priests were the intermediaries between ordinary people and God. Ordinary people had to come to them to make sacrifices to God on their behalf.
Only the priests could enter the Holy Place. Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place, the symbol of the presence of God in the midst of his people. He could only enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement. A curtain separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the temple. However, with the death of Christ, everything changed. Matthew 27:50-51 says, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
                Jesus is now the only priest that we need. He offered up to God the eternal sacrifice of himself. No other sacrifices are needed. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because of what Jesus has done for us, every believer can approach God on his or her own. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
                Jesus, our great high priest, has made us all priests before God. Revelation 5:9-10 says, “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’” This means not only that we do not need an intermediary between us and God, but also they we are to act as intermediaries for others. We are to pray for others and help them on their spiritual journey. This aspect of our role as priests is often neglected. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” God has given us a role to perform, a task to complete. Will we be faithful to him?

Question:            In what ways are we to ask as priests for others?

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