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"Every Christian a Priest: A Holy Priesthood" (posted February 1, 2006)
       Read Parts 1 and 3 of this series:
       "Every Christian a Priest: Living Stones"
       "Every Christian a Priest: A Royal Priesthood"

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
   - 1 Peter 2:4-5

All believers are built upon the living Stone, Christ; and are thus constituted living stones. Here, then, we repeat, is the solid foundation of the Christian priesthood---the priesthood of all believers. Before any one can offer up a spiritual sacrifice, he must come to Christ, in simple faith, and be built on Him, as the foundation of the whole spiritual building.

Beloved reader, are you on this foundation? Are you built on Christ? Are you thoroughly satisfied with God's foundation? Or are you seeking to add something of your own---your own works, your prayers, your ordinances, your vows and resolutions, your religious duties? God will not suffer such dishonor to be offered to His tried, elect, precious chief corner Stone. Think you that He could allow aught, no matter what, to be placed beside His beloved Son, in order to form, with Him, the foundation of His spiritual edifice? The bare thought were an impious blasphemy. No; it must be Christ alone. He is enough for God, and He may well be enough for us; and nothing is more certain than that all who reject, or neglect, turn away from, or add to, God's foundation, shall be covered with everlasting confusion.

But, having glanced at the foundation, let us look at the superstructure. This will lead us to the second of our three weighty words. "Coming to Him as to a living stone, ... you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:4-5).

All true believers are holy priests. They are made this by spiritual birth, just as Aaron's sons were priests in virtue of their natural birth. The apostle does not say, You ought to be living stones, and, You ought to be holy priests. He says you are such. No doubt, being such, we are called upon to act accordingly; but we must be in a position before we can discharge the duties belonging to it. We do not become priests by offering priestly sacrifices. But being, through grace, made priests, we are called upon to present the sacrifice.

If we were to live a thousand years twice told, and spend all that time working, we could not work ourselves into the position of holy priests; but the moment we believe in Jesus---the moment we come to Him in simple faith---the moment we give Him the full confidence of our hearts, we are born anew into the position of holy priests, and are then privileged to draw nigh and offer the priestly sacrifice.

How could any one, of old, have constituted himself a son of Aaron? Impossible. But being born of Aaron, he was thereby made a member of the priestly house. We speak not now of capacity, but simply of the position, which was reached not by effort, but by birth.

And now, let us inquire as to the nature of the sacrifice which, as holy priests, we are privileged to offer. We are to "offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). So also in Hebrews 13:15, we read, "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."

Here, then, we have the true nature and character of that sacrifice which, as holy priests, we are to offer. It is praise---praise to God continually. Blessed occupation! Hallowed exercise! Heavenly employment! And this is not to be an occasional thing. It is not merely at some peculiarly favored moment, when all looks bright and smiling around us. It is not to be merely amid the glow and fervor of some specially powerful public meeting, when the current of worship flows deep, wide, and rapid. No; the word is, "praise continually." There is no room, no time for complaining and murmuring, fretfulness and discontent, impatience and irritability, lamenting about our surroundings, whatever these may be, complaining about the weather, finding fault with those who are associated with us whether in public or in private, whether in the congregation, in the business, or in the family circle.

Holy priests should have no time for any of these things. They are brought nigh to God, in holy liberty, peace, and blessing. They breathe the atmosphere and walk in the sunlight of the divine presence, in the new creation, where there are no materials for a sour and discontented mind to feed upon. We may set it down as a fixed principle, an axiom, that whenever we hear any one pouring out a string of complaints about circumstances and about his neighbors, such a one is not realizing the place of holy priesthood, and, as a consequence, not exhibiting its practical fruits. A holy priest is always happy, always bright, always praising God. True, he may be tried in a thousand ways; but he brings his trials to God in communion, not to his fellow-man in complaining. "Hallelujah" is the proper utterance of the very feeblest member of the Christian priesthood.

Charles H. Mackintosh

[excerpted from "The Christian Priesthood" in The Mackintosh Treasury (pp. 790-794). Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1976.]
The entire article may also be found online at the STEM Publishing website.

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