The Failed Priesthood

adult-1869621_1920When modern Christians think of the Priesthood, many imagine long robbed old men with long gray hair and long gray beards standing in front of a huge altar with smoke rising from a fresh sacrifice. The image that most contemporary Children of God fail to see, is one that is far more important; it is the image of ourselves walking out our daily lives in harmony with the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Peter wrote to both Jewish and Gentile Christians who were spread out across the known world because of persecution. He meticulously contrasted the people of God with people who “disobey the Word of God.” He told his fellow Christians that they were different:

“But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises’ of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NABRE)

Peter drew his exhortation from Exodus 19 where God told the people of Israel that if they would obey His commands, they would be to Him a nation of Priests. That’s right, not just the Priestly tribe of Levite, rather the whole nation would be called Priests.

Peter knew that with the coming of Christ, and the reconciliation of all nations who accepted His sacrifice, all people could now be part of the priestly covenant. Just think, God promised each of us an opportunity to be His “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation [and a] people of his own.” The conditions however, have not changed. We must obey God.

Peter exhorts readers to get rid of malice, deceit, insincerity, envy, and slander. He tells us to crave “pure spiritual milk.” (1 Peter 2:1-2 NABRE) He goes on to note how our obedience contrasts us from unbelievers.

In reminding Ezekiel about the role of the Priesthood, God said, “They shall teach my people to distinguish between sacred and profane and make known to them the difference between clean and unclean.” (Ezekiel 44:23 NABRE)

Of course, there are times when we all come up short; this was true of some of the greatest people in the Bible. Still, there is a huge difference between a life of obedience to God’s Spirit and a life that is self-serving.

I’m sure there are many who say, “I don’t want to be a Priest. I just want to be a plain old Christian.” The problem is, the Bible doesn’t give us that choice, “…I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15b-16). We are either obedient or we are not. We are either Christian or Unbeliever.

So then, the importance of teaching about, and living, a sacred, separated and obedient life is essential to the Christian. Anything less, is nothing short of a failed priesthood.


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