Several weeks ago I went to a Bible Study at the home of a dear friend. She did a short devotional that evening and talked about many of the blessings that we have as a result of believing in Christ. I was familiar with all of them except when she said “we are all sharers in Christ’s priesthood.” That one made me stop and think, because I hadn’t thought of it in that way before and didn’t understand why that was important for everyday life. I pondered this truth for weeks and finally started studying through 1 Peter to gets a better perspective on it.
“And coming to Him (Jesus) as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for the a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to god through Jesus Christ…But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10.
God has called believers in Christ to be a holy and royal priesthood. Okay, so what is the purpose of a priest? In the Old Testament, the priest was to lead the nation of Israel in worship to the Lord. They were to offer sacrifices, and teach others of the ways of the Lord. In other words, we are to offer “spiritual sacrifices that would be acceptable to God” and “to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us from darkness into light”. But this is only possible through Christ. Christ is our High Priest who is the ultimate example of a life that worships God. It is through His death on the cross that blood was shed to bring our forgiveness for sins AND our reconciliation to the Lord. But God didn’t just stop there! He then placed us priests in His temple so that we would tell others about how amazing our God is and present ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord. This is just absolutely beautiful! God has orchestrated that our lives would tell of His glories.
We have been called to tell others about how amazing our God is. But if you follow the thought of 1 Peter, Peter is talking about street evangelism, but through suffering. He starts off writing to those who have been scattered around the Roman Empire because of persecution. He then tells them to consider Jesus who was rejected by men, but was chose and precious in the sight of God. Men persecuted Christ and said He was unworthy to be called the Son of God, yet God chose Him to bring salvation to the entire world.
He then says, in the same way you (the church) will be rejected by men, but you have been chosen by God. Don’t be surprised when the world treats you no differently than they treated Jesus. But as a royal and holy priest respond like him. Don’t lash back with angry words when they accuse you falsely. Don’t threaten to get revenge when you are mistreated. Because just as Christ bore yours and my sin on the cross (note that, not his) through that suffering we were able to enter into death to our sin and become alive to righteousness. We were able to enter into a perfect relationship with the Father. How do you know that your suffering will not do the same for another?
So if your boss mistreats you, submit to him. If your government mistreats you, submit to them, honor the King or whoever leads your nation. If your husband is not walking with the Lord, don’t badger him with words. Keep silent, entrust yourself to the Lord and hope that God will bring a change, because we have been promised that our husbands can be won without a word by the behavior of their wives. Husbands if your wife brings you suffering through her badgering and nagging show her honor and love on her even more. If friends, family, co-workers, anyone makes fun of you for following the Lord continue to love them. God will one day show them you were following Him and you never know they might come to know Christ as well. I know, because that is how I came to know the Lord.
We have been called to suffer for the name of Christ as his priests. But just as Christ suffered and brought many to the Father, so can our suffering bring many to the Father. Priest, go proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you from a life of sin to a life of righteousness! Suffer for Christ and be willing to sacrifice yourself for the glory of the Lord.