Priesthood of All Believers: Two Basic Tasks

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession..."

As a priest, the believer is to cultivate holiness.  For example, in [I Peter] chapter 1, Peter exhorts these exiles to “be holy!”  In chapter 2, he encourages them “to offer spiritual sacrifices.”  And later he tells them to “keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable.” With that in mind, I want to suggest that our task is a basic one.


Our lives, for the most part, are routine. In fact, truth be told, you struggled to get up early and do devotions because the kids were sick the night before.  After you did get them off to school, you went to work or had a list of chores that barely reached humdrum on the excitement meter. The evening hours aren’t much better. They are taken up with the necessities and then it’s off to bed. And as you dose off to sleep you ask yourself, what great thing have I done for God today?

Peter understands. In his first epistle, he is writing to exiles who have been relocated to the northern most regions of Asia Minor. What great things will they do? The best they can hope for is to stay alive, build a new home for their family, find suitable employment, discover markets that will buy and sell, and establish a genuine Christian community, for starters.  They were eking out a day-to-day existence.

And yet, look at what Peter says of them. Notice the way in which he describes them, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” You can almost imagine what the reaction might be, “Dear Peter, We got a letter from you, but we think it’s to someone else.  We are anything but what you said in this thing.  Thanks, signed; the Exiles”

So, what does Peter have in mind? Well, plenty! But we’re never going to understand what he does have in mind if we don’t understand where he’s coming from in these comments. And by that, I mean, the Old Testament. Peter gives us three Old Testament passages.

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