You may recall from a lesson earlier in the year, that our study of the sacrificial system (Leviticus) is due in part because it was “a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things” (Hebrews 10:1). We can look at the old covenant and learn about those things which were mere “shadows” and then come over to the new covenant and better understand what God desires now. Today, we do this as we look at the work of the priests.
None shall defile himself… (Leviticus 21:1)
As you may recall, the theme of Leviticus appears to focus on holiness, “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy…” (Leviticus 20:26). The role of the priest, given only to the tribe of Levi, truly had some challenges; such as, who not to touch (21:1-4), grooming rules (21:5), to whom they could marry (21:7), just to name a few. The call to holiness is critical to the sacrificial system. Remember, all of this is pointing to something better, “a new and living way which He consecrated for us” (Hebrews 10:20).
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation… (1st Peter 2:9)
In Christ, through His redemptive work, He ushered in a royal priesthood; that is, kingly priesthood. I truly like how the ETRV translates this part of the verse, “You are the King’s priests.” With Christ Jesus as our High Priest, all those who are in Christ Jesus (who is “King of kings and Lord of lords,” 1st Timothy 6:15), have been made priests of the king! What an amazing honor! The priest’s duties of offering animal sacrifices have passed, because they were merely a shadow. Even so, listen to these words from the apostle Paul, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Our duty as kingly priests is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. This endeavor seeks to offer that which is holy and pleasing to God. Paul would say, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). This is all driven out of our awareness of God’s mercy towards us, exhibited by Christ’s sufficient redemptive work on the cross.
As I close this article out, I want to go back to 1st Peter 2:9 and finish the verse. Through Christ, we have been made “His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” As priests of the King, let us offer our lives to the One who gave us life, for this is our “reasonable service.”