Understanding who we are has a huge impact on what we end up doing in our lives. What we believe dramatically impacts how we behave. In the last blog I talked about who we are as people God has chosen to bear much fruit, fruit that will remain. We are the Chosen Ones. Today I want to focus on another aspect of our identity, who we are as royal priests of God.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”- NIV
It’s important to understand what a major shift Jesus brought about when he went to the cross and rose again. He destroyed the old system of Levitical priesthood and established a new system where all who followed him would be royal priests. In the new covenant you are not physically born into priesthood as the Levites were. Instead you are spiritually born into this priesthood when you receive Jesus into your life and are born again.
Not only are we priests, we are royal priests! I’ve had the privilege of visiting Thailand often, a land that honors and loves their king. In the Thai language, there is even a whole different way of speaking when you address a member of the royal family. The royals receive great respect and carry much influence and authority. It’s been a good picture for me of what this verse might mean when it calls us a “royal priesthood.” This speaks of a place of favor, privilege and authority as children of the King of Kings. I am a member of the royal family. That means I carry great authority in the spiritual realm. I’m not a nobody, I’m a royal priest. So are you if you are following Jesus as Lord!
What does this practically mean for us as we think about pursuing disciple making movements? Its a very big deal! It means that there is nothing related to spiritual work that we can not do. We are given authority by God to establish His kingdom, to make disciples and to do the work of God as his representatives here on earth.
While we know this in our heads, often our behavior sadly reflects an old covenant belief system. Our worldview is deeply influenced by Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam or whatever system we have come out of…even traditional Christianity. In those religious systems, only special people are qualified to do spiritual tasks and work. Only Levites, or Brahmins, or monks, or imams, pastors or priests are to do the spiritual work of the ministry. Jesus came to abolish that old covenant and bring in something new. So why are we so quick to go back to the old?
If we want to see rapidly multiplying Disciple Making Movements, we must embrace who we are as royal priests and we must realize that every follower of Jesus has been empowered and commissioned by Christ himself to make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them to obey all that He commanded.
Who gave us this authority? Jesus himself gave it in the Great Commission. Without embracing and truly living out the priesthood of all believers, we will only see limited multiplication of disciples among the unreached (or anywhere).
Declare it with me today. I am a royal priest of God. He has appointed and commissioned me to represent him on this earth. Every work of spiritual service, and especially the task of making disciples is mine to do. The people I lead to Christ are also given authority by Jesus to make more disciples freely and to serve as royal priests.
Let’s start disciple making movements- groups of royal priests who make more royal priests!