Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9-10)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9–10, ESV)

In a 1991 comedy titled, “King Ralph,” a sleazy American lounge singer suddenly becomes the King of England. After the royal family is wiped out in an accident, a careful genealogical search identifies Ralph Jones as the heir to the throne. Ralph finds it interesting and difficult to fit into nobility since he came from a background far different and from a class standing that was far below nobility. He had a dramatic and instantaneous change of status being chosen to be the King of England.

Earlier in 1 Peter we read that Christians make up a holy priesthood. Here, Peter expanded this title, indicating that believers are a royal-priesthood. This title is significant. When we consider the Levitical priesthood from the Mosaic Law, in that the Levitical priests had no royal capacity. They were not rulers. Later, when the monarchy was established for Israel, Saul, a Benjamite was called as the first king. Saul, by his own actions, disqualified himself as king of Israel and David from the tribe of Judah became king. The Lord gave David a promise that one of his descendants would always reign on the throne. When Jesus was born, He was born from the tribe of Judah and His human ancestry is traced back to David.

The writer of Hebrews indicated that Jesus was the High Priest on the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek, who was a priest before the institution of the priesthood according to the Mosaic Law, was more than a priest. He was also the king of Salem. Melchizedek was a king-priest. Being of this same order, Jesus is our king-priest. Yet, since He also conquered death making Him our eternal-king-priest who now is seated at the right hand of God. Moreover, here Peter indicates that believers are a royal priesthood. Jesus is our eternal-king (royal)-priest and we are forever connected with Jesus as royal priests.

Our title as royal-priests has tremendous implications. Once we were in darkness. Once we were not a people. Once we were not a holy nation. Once we were not a royal-priesthood. Yet, in an instant, God chose us for a glorious purpose. He rescued us from the darkness and moved us into the marvelous light and made us “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.”

As royal-priests, the Lord has called us to reign with Him. Today it is as His ambassadors in a foreign land called earth (2 Cor 5:20). We are His representatives, representatives of a heavenly kingdom. As such, we are expected to proclaim and demonstrate a more excellent way and we are to declare the excellencies of the Lord God and His kingdom.

Moreover, there is a day coming when we will reign with Him. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6, AV). It will be a glorious day. Looking forward to that day, let us do our work as ambassadors today. For today we shall work and tomorrow we shall reign in His glorious kingdom.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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