God has a long history of trying to be in relationship with humankind, but in His pursuit, He’s struggled with one huge aspect, and that is the fact that He is perfect and holy and cannot stand to be in the presence of any type of evil (sin or disobedience.) Obviously, no human is perfect, so how can a holy God be in relationship with someone who has aspects that He cannot tolerate? How could He overlook this huge problem?
God took various steps to show His pursuit and willingness to try to make the relationship work. In the Old Testament, He had the Israelites (His chosen people) construct a Tabernacle (a portable tent structure), and then an actual stone Temple later, to set aside as a holy place and through various restrictions and rules, God determined that He could get close to His people by residing in the inner parts of the Tabernacle/Temple (the Holy of Holies) from time to time, but not be completely affected by their sins. In this method, He designated full time priests to perform sacrifices to cover the stench of their many sins. These priests were representatives of the people, so God saw them and their sacrifices above the sins of His people. This was God’s first attempts to show Israel just how much He cared for them; however, that didn’t stop sin from continuing and even with the increased shedding of blood, they did not realize the actual effects of their sins on God.
Fast forward to the New Testament… God knew that the sacrifices were not working and His people became desensitized to the killing and bloodshed, so He had a final plan that would end the killing once and for all. He sent His perfect, spotless sacrifice, His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross one time only. His death would cover all the sins of the past, present, and future. The only requirements is that His people would have to believe and accept it, repent of their sins, and they would be forgiven. In return, God would convert the person into a priest, making him or her a walking Temple/Tabernacle. His Spirit would come into the Temple (or person’s body), to reside. Now, He would be in ultimate close proximity and show His desire to be in complete relationship with His people. However, with this acceptance of Jesus’ gift, we would be given a new job description that we would need to fulfill. We would now become the priests of God.
“9 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. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2: 9-12
My conviction of this message is this, am I living as a priest as I was called. or am I still disobeying and living for myself? I was given a job to do, and am I doing it to the best of my ability?
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
How might our world look different if we who are saved by grace in Jesus Christ actually fulfill our duties of this priesthood to which we’ve been assigned?
Father, thank you for your endless pursuit of a relationship with us and thank you for providing one final way to be in relationship with you, the acceptance of your Son, Jesus Christ, as God and Lord. Help us to live up to the calling to which you asked of us as a royal priesthood. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.