Who is the Priesthood today?
As Christians, is our role an active one or passive? Is it our job to preach, to encourage and to visit the sick, or are those jobs best carried out by someone who has attended a theological college?
Paul the Minister to the Gentiles
14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Paul is writing to his "brothers" at Rome. They should all be ministers of Christ:
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,[ 4:14 Or gone into heaven] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come - one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?All of Hebrews 7 deals with the high-priesthood of Jesus Christ, but does not mention any other priesthood. Other than the reference in Romans 15, there are no references in the NT to a priesthood other than that of Levi.
12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.
18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
In this passage from chapter 10 we read about others symbolically entering the Most Holy Place, which was the
job of the High Priest under the Law. Again, Paul addresses these as "brothers", which is a title used for all Christians,
not an elect few.
Peter has these words:
1 Peter 2The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4 As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him -
5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices a cceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Who is he talking to? Again, we was writing a general letter to "To God's elect, strangers in the world," (1:1), not to a select body of believers.
ConclusionThe conclusion must be that all believers are priests or ministers of Jesus Christ. There is no hierarchy in Christ, other than that laid down in the scriptures:
1 Corinthians 11:3
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
The once and for all sacrifice for sin did away with the need for the Aaronic priesthood. The new "priesthood" has Jesus as High Priest and all believers in him are his priesthood in the present day. All have the responsibility to preach the Gospel, all share in the work of the church.
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