Our Life In The Church

W. Terry Varner
October 19, 2014

As members of the body of Christ (Col. 1:18), we are told that Jesus “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4). In so doing, we serve God as part of the “holy priesthood” offering “up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

Christians are to be acceptable to God because his life is spent in service to righteousness and we no longer serve sin (Rom. 6:16-17). The principle of separation from the power of sin and service to God is necessary if we are to be “holy in all [our] conduct” (1 Peter 1:15).

Christians Serve as Holy Priests in the Spiritual House of God (1 Peter 2:4-8). The words “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5) refers to the church; i.e. the Christians who compose the church or spiritual house of God serving as “a holy priesthood” or “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Consider the importance of Christians being the “royal priesthood” of God.

Under the Law of Moses the priest constituted a special class empowered to officiate in worship to God. In as much as Christians engage in worship to God, they constitute the body of the “priesthood of believers.” As priests, Christians are holy and therefore worship and serve God separate and apart from the world. Christians are royal priests because of the relationship we sustain to the King of kings.

Christians, as priests of God, have two important characteristics. First, Christians serve as bridge builders. The Latin word for priest is pontifex and means bridge builder. In that the Christian has access to God, he has the task of bringing the lost to God through Jesus; i.e. soul-winners. Second, Christians serve God by offering “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). The Christian is to love God with the totality of his being (cf. Matt. 22:37). God desires the love of our hearts and the service of our lives (cf. Rom. 12:1-2).

Christians Functioning as Priests of God (1 Peter 2:9-10). These two verses describe the Christian functioning as a priest of God and comes from God’s revelation to Moses. “Now, therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine: and you shall be to Me as a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). God promised to Israel a coming spiritual kingdom which is fulfilled in His church and described as New Israel (cf. Rom. 2:28-29). God said “this people have I formed for Myself’ (Isa. 43:21). God also formed the body of Christ, the church (Col. 1:18).

Christians serve God as “a chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9, NKJ) or “an elect race” (ASV). We explain this phrase with three facts:

  • The Christian has the privilege of an intimate fellowship and communion with God. He has peace with God as he is the friend of God.
  • The privilege of being a Christian carries with it responsibility, i.e. surrendering his will to carry out the will of God in life. This is speaking to our faithfulness to God.
  • The Christian is chosen for service. It is an honor to be a servant of God and working in conjunction with God for the good of humanity. We become tools of God, but the Christian can only be used when he brings God the obedience He desires.