Priesthood of All Believers
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.
~ 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
Many Christians think that God considers some workers more valuable than others—and at the top of the rung are missionaries, pastors and other people with “spiritual” vocations. If we’re honest, most of us probably buy into this thinking to some degree and believe there is a divide between the sacred and secular. After all, social workers and grant writers are more important to society than waste collectors and cashiers, right?
But that’s not true. During the Protestant Reformation, a doctrine was developed that has significantly altered the way many Christians understand themselves and their relation to God and others: the priesthood of all believers. In sum, it teaches that all believers—no matter their personal history, ethnicity, occupation, you name it—are priests before God.
Prior to the Reformation, the western church taught that only clergy (ordained priests) had a sacred calling from God. But according to the apostle Peter, all Christians are priests: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Peter hearkens back to Exodus 19:6, where God tells Israel, “you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Although the people of Israel failed in their priestly calling, Christ has restored to believers our true identity as royal priests. In him, we stand on equal footing with one another, and each of us has a vital role in carrying out God’s work.
There is one body, consisting of various parts, and one head, Christ. Each member, though distinct from the others, performs a different function and is equally vital for the health of the body.
Christians are equally important, serving one Lord, yet they fulfill different roles for the sake of the church and the good of society. What makes work sacred is not the type of work that we do but the work of Christ in us. Those who have been baptized into Christ all have equal standing and have been called by him to do work that not only bears dignifying significance, but also gives glory to God. No matter what line of work you’re in, you have a special calling from God to work for his glory and for the benefit of others.
Do you see your work as part of God’s calling on your life to be his priest, representing him in the work that you do?
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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Devotion taken from NIV Faith & Work Bible. ©2017 HarperCollins Christian Publishing.
Do you see your work as part of God’s calling?