“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
a royal priesthood
This is the second title for the believer’s position in Christ. Peter calls Christians “a royal priesthood” (cf. Rev. 1:6). Christians are royal priests. In Romans 12:1, Paul challenges Christians to offer themselves as a “living sacrifice.” We are the sacrifice in the function of our priesthood.
“Royal” is the Greek word for king. The priests of the Old Testament were merely priests. They were not “royal.” The believer of this economy is a king-priest. “Royal” means no man stands over us as priests. We have direct access to God. Our priesthood could not be royal until our High Priest had done his work (Heb. 4:14).
Christians are royal in our relation to God. We are separate from sin via Christ. We offer to God our consecration and service made acceptable in Jesus Christ. We are a royal priesthood because of our relationship to Jesus Christ, who is both King and Priest. The church is a kingdom of priests. Priests lead men into the presence of God.
Revelation 1:6, “And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 5:10, “And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
The Greek says, “for a royal priesthood.” The reason we are a spiritual building is that we might exercise our right of priesthood privilege. Every believer is a priest.
There are two significant characteristics of a priest. 1) The priest is an individual who himself has access to God and whose task is to bring others to him. In the ancient world, access to God was the privilege of the few. However, through Jesus Christ, that access to God is the privilege of every Christian. It makes no difference how educated or humble he may be. A priest is also a person who builds a bridge for others to come to God. The Christian has the privilege and duty to bring others to the Savior.
Also, 2) the priest is one who brings an offering to God. In the Old Testament, believers brought animal sacrifices, but the New Testament sacrifices are spiritual sacrifices. Everything he does is done for God. The smallest task displays God’s glory. The Christian himself is an offering (Romans 12:1). He is a living sacrifice.
Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
The words “to offer up” was used for that activity where the priest offered the animal sacrifice on the 4 ½ foot altar. The believer is then in the place where he should offer his heart to God. The New Testament priest is not as limited as to what he should offer God. His whole life is a consecration to God. He has an unlimited priesthood.
We have the right to go immediately into the presence of God. How do we get this privilege? By spiritual birth.
Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:2 says, “through whom.” Through Jesus Christ, we have access to the presence of God. This is the only reason God permits us into his presence. Because of the person of Christ, we not only have access to God’s presence, but our fruit is acceptable to him because of Christ. God admits us into his presence because of him.
Christians are king-priests.
We need to think of ourselves as king-priests. Our character and conduct should fit our calling. We have the right to approach God directly through Christ. We have the privilege of constant, direct, immediate access into the presence of God.
Christians possess the right of the aristocratic priesthood. We have a special relationship with King Jesus through a spiritual birth. We are not noble priests because of who we are; we are aristocratic priests because of Christ. Christ is going to rule over the world forever. He is sovereign. We are in union with him; therefore, we will rule with him.
The Christian has the right to confess his sin directly to God. Christ’s death has judged every sin in the history of the world. Therefore, we have the right to confess our sins and know that we are forgiven.
Our right to prayer is not based on who and what we are but on who and what Jesus is. Christians have the right to approach God in prayer directly through Christ. The Christian has the right to approach God directly. He needs no in-between person to intercede for him. We can come to God with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus was a royal priest (Hebrews 4:12); his children are royal priests.