Monday, November 09, 2015

Identity in Christ - 45 (Priest)

A priest mediates between God and other people. He represents God top people. He represents people to God. He explains God’s nature and character. He explain what gains God’s approval. He explains how people should live.

When God chose Abraham and built the nation of Israel, he gave them the Law and chose the whole nation – every one of them – to be his priests. When the whole nation fell into disobedience, and only one tribe heeded his call for repentance and to remove the bad influences from among them, he changed the scope of his plan, and made just that tribe his priests.

After Jesus came, God chose a new set of priests. It is not the church professionals. It is not the pastors. It is not the Christian celebrities. It is everyone who gives their allegiance to Jesus.

If you have given your allegiance to Jesus, if you have chosen to follow and walk with him, you are his priest.

God went back to his original plan. All of his family are his priest.
  1. Each one mediates between God and people.
  2. Each one represents God to people.
  3. Each one represents people to God.
  4. Each one explains God’s nature and character.
  5. Each one explains how people should live.

We may not be professional Christians (Pastors, Bible college professors, missionaries – though I will have more to say about the last one when we get to our identity trait of “sent ones.”) but we are his priests. Because God has shown us his goodness, we can show others his goodness.
  • God’s Perspective

It does not take a genius to realize that the world is not how God intended it to be. It is not God’s will for a large percentage of the world to go hungry. It is not God’s will for there to be animosity, enmity and strife between people. It is God’s will for people to have relationship with him, to know his love and grace. It is God’s will for relationship with him to be the main catalyst for solving the wrongs in the world. It is God’s will for relationship with him to be the main agency of healing hearts, healing relationships, and providing fulfillments of lives and dreams.

And, as we have said before, God has chosen partnership with his family. His children are his hands and feet in the world. Each child is his priest. Each child is a conduit of grace and love in the world. The world sees the face of God in each child. 
  • Living My Life

Often, people do not take their office as priest. There is an assumption that a certain level of education, or gift is needed. There is an assumption of a special invitation by God. Well, Scripture says “You are his holy priests.” There is his special invitation.

In any organization with many people, (“organization” meaning “a group of people assembled for a common purpose, seeking to achieve a common goal”) rules and roles are established to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and to eliminate confusion. So, usually leaders are recognized to achieve that.

But that does not eliminate a role God has given all his children. I have been to a church meeting, seen someone desire to give their allegiance to Jesus, and the person who acted as priest, led them to the precipice of decision, now call one of the leaders to help the person step over the edge, and into the family of God.

I have no problem with leaders helping others take those last few steps into allegiance with Jesus. I do have a problem with ones abdicating their responsibility as priest, because they feel it is not their place, or they don’t know how.

There is only one high priest … and his name is Jesus. All other family members are priests. Equal in rank and responsibility. All priests should pray, teach, counsel, love, serve, and administer spiritual rites. (Because of legalities, perhaps not all should be involved in officiating at marriages. But all should be able to give counsel for marriage.) All should be able to baptize and institute the Lord’s Supper.

All are equal in rank and responsibility. Not all are equal in knowledge and maturity. The Bible does recognize there will be leaders. And it does give the leaders the responsibility to prepare God’s family to be priests. To understand and complete their responsibilities. And to give God’s family room to be God’s priests.

And it is the family’s responsibility to be open in pursuing the roles God gives. And god does give each one a role to walk in. He gives each one a part of his family to teach, encourage, and care for. He gives each one a part of the world to show his love and character to. He give each one assignments of prayer, love, and faithful service. We need to recognize and assume our priestly responsibilities and pursue them.

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