"You . . . are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5).
Christians share common spiritual characteristics with Old Testament priests.
Peter identified believers as holy priests, but many Christians don't really know what that means because priests aren't part of our culture as a whole.
The primary purpose of an Old Testament priest was to offer acceptable sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. Priests were chosen by God Himself, specially cleansed through prescribed ceremonies, clothed in a prescribed manner, and anointed with oil as symbolic of God's Spirit upon them. They were expected to obey God, love His Word, and walk with Him.
Faithful priests had a positive impact on believers and unbelievers alike. Malachi 2:6 says they "turned many back from iniquity." Verse 7 adds that "the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts."
Those qualifications are paralleled in Christians, whom God regards as the only true priests. You were chosen by Him from before the foundation of the world and cleansed by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. You are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Your purpose is "to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5).
Scripture tells you therefore to present your body a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Rom. 12:1). Obedience, love for the Word, and communion with God should characterize your life; saints and sinners alike should see Christ in you and be affected by what they see.
The priesthood of believers is a high and holy calling to which no one is suited apart from God's grace and power. But be assured that He who called you will accomplish His good pleasure in you. Be committed to that goal each day as you lean on His resources and trust in His sufficiency.
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank God for the priesthood He has entrusted to you. Ask Him to use you today to influence others in godly ways.
For Further Study
Read Leviticus 8 and 9, which tell of the consecration and inauguration of the Aaronic priesthood.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.