The Universal Priesthood of Believers
To worship God is part of the very nature of man. Cain and Abel worshipped God. There is no tribe on earth so primitive that it does not worship a supreme Being. However, worship to God must be in accordance with God's will. While Cain and Abel both worshipped, Cain's worship was not acceptable for it was not offered by faith (Hebrews 11:4).
At Sinai God gave his law to Israel, "And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights, he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments" (Exodus 34:27-28).
The law was given to Israel. The priesthood was given to Aaron and his sons (Numbers 3:10). As Gentiles, we were left out: "Wherefore remember that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:11-12).
Salvation is only in Christ. We read in Acts 4:12: "And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved."
The priesthood, which was given to Aaron has been changed. Of necessity, the law was changed (Heb. 7:11-12). We are to worship God. Jesus said so (Matthew 4:10). All we do is to be done in the name of Christ (Acts 4:12). When we serve Christ, we do it in the church that He established (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 3:20-21).
Now note this. All Christians are priests unto God. "But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9).
Christ is our high priest (Heb. 7:16-17). We are priests under Christ (Rev. 1:6). So, we see that all members of the church are priests unto God. Therefore, whenever a church is established, it should carry on the worship. As we can see in the New Testament church there is no clergy class, for all are priests unto God.
Baptisms can be performed by any baptized believer. The Lord's Supper, preaching, singing, all acts of worship belong to the church and not to a special class. The law that gave the priesthood to Aaron has been changed. Under Christ we are all priests unto God.
Wherever a church is started, members should be taught that they are God's priests and that worship can and must be carried on. Under the law there was a special priesthood. In the Protestant denominations there is a special priesthood borrowed from the Catholics. Under the New Testament all are priests unto God. There is no clergy class.
If this principle is recognized, the work will grow as it never grew before. The church must be taught the word, so when the church is scattered, they will go everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4).
The church will be known by its works of faith and labor of love (I Thess. 1:3).
Let every member of the church realize that he or she is a priest unto God. Let every congregation realize that they can and should carry on the worship of God.
"Unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen (Eph. 3:2l).
J. C. Bailey, 1992, Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Published in The Old Paths Archive