Page 9 - September 2023 - Truth & Tidings
P. 9

has saved us from so much, has brought   five times in the NT. On four of those oc-
        us into such an elevated place, and given   casions, it is translated “virtue.” It has the
        us such a hope for the future. But in this   idea of something that evokes admiration
        verse we are told that in offering praise to   and would be better translated “excellen-
        God we are functioning as priests.    cies.” It is always used in a moral sense
          Then again, in verse 16 we read, “But   in the NT.
        to do good and to communicate [share]   If “a holy priesthood” emphasizes our
        forget not: for with such sacrifices God is   responsibilities Godward, “a royal priest-
        well pleased.” In sharing what we have   hood” emphasizes our responsibilities
        with those in greater need, we are actually   manward. Notice that the Lord had called
        offering up to God spiritual sacrifices and   these people “out of darkness into his
        giving Him pleasure. Similarly, in Philip-
        pians 4:18, Paul refers to the gift that the   marvellous light.” While this statement
        Philippian Christians had sent to support   relates to a change in their standing before
        him in prison in Rome as “an odour of a   God, it is also indicating that God has
        sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-  effected a moral transformation in their
        pleasing to God.” In seeking to support   lives. Hence, as a royal priesthood, our
        those who serve God, we are functioning   function is to display the beautiful moral
        as holy priests.                      qualities of the Lord Jesus to a world that
                                              has rejected Him. There are a variety of
        A Royal Priesthood                    ways in which we can do this. We can do
          In 1 Peter 2:9 we read, “But ye are a cho-  it in the public preaching of the gospel.
        sen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy   We can do it by inviting people to attend
        nation, a peculiar people; that ye should   a gospel meeting. We can do it by giving
        shew forth the praises of him who hath   gospel tracts. However, the best gospel
        called you out of darkness into his marvel-  tract is displaying Christlike features in
        lous light.” In this verse we are given four   our lives.
        descriptions that are true of all believers.   Many years ago, an evangelist was hav-
        First, we are a chosen generation (or race);   ing gospel meetings in a city in England.
        that is, we share a common origin. Second,   He was staying with a coal merchant. One
        we are a royal priesthood; that is, we share
        a common function. Third, we are a holy   day the coal merchant returned home
        nation; that is, we share a common loyalty.   from his work and mentioned to the evan-
        Finally, we are a peculiar people (a people   gelist that he had been giving out tracts
        whom He has acquired); that is, we share a   that day. The evangelist said to him, “You
        common ownership. Paul tells us that “ye   should have told me earlier. I would have
        are not your own … ye are bought with   come with you to give out tracts.” The man
        a price” (1Co 6:19,20). For our purpose   replied, “Not these tracts.” He had been
        we will only look at “a royal priesthood.”  giving sacks of coal to poor people who
          Notice that the purpose of this royal   couldn’t afford to buy coal. Selfless giving
        priesthood is “that ye should shew forth   to the poor is the best tract that you can
        the praises of him who hath called you   give. In this and other ways, even by the
        out of darkness into his marvellous light.”   way we respond to ill treatment, we are
        The word translated “praises” appears   functioning for God as royal priests.

                                  I  September 2023  265
   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14