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Date Posted: 12:13:52 09/25/02 Wed
Author: NatX
Subject: The reformers' burning "political ambition" revealed
In reply to: Reveal 's message, "Sam's cleverness" on 12:09:59 09/25/02 Wed

From www.reformubf.org's Leader's Forum:

The Priesthood of all Believers and their Cooperation

(This article was translated from the writing of missionary Stephen Choe, the director of Bochum UBF, Germany)

The Bible teaches us, in various places, what the relationship of Christians to other people or among Christians should look like. The creation story in Genesis informs us that all human beings are precious to God, equally worthy and thus entitled to the same rights for their life and dignity. Genesis 1:27 reads, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." This explains that all human beings, man and woman, were made in God's image. As the result, there is no one who is of lesser value but all people are priceless before God with equal rights to fellowship with God.

According to this text, the woman is called the helper of the man. It does not imply, however, that the woman is inferior to her husband, but it merely means that her duty consists of helping him faithfully in spiritual matters as well as in other areas of life and she should work in cooperation with him. Man and wife as a family are of one flesh. They should love, respect and complement each other.

But it is with the fall of these first human beings that hierarchical human relationships originated. After the fall, God said to Eve, "He will rule over you." (Gen 3:16) It is thus that all hierarchical relationships among human beings are fundamentally the outcome of the fall. Since human beings, owing to their fall as well as their own sins, were not able to come to meet God, God provided a temporary way for them to come to him, installing the Old Testament sacrifice system as well as the priesthood. A priest, especially the high priest, could come to God vicariously through the blood of the animal sacrifice and pray to God for the forgiveness of people's sins.

God also spoke to some specially chosen people, namely the prophets, who in turn spoke the received words to people. The examples of these prophets were Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and the like. Common people, however, could not directly hear the word of God, but they learned it second hand, that is, through the mouths of the prophets.

This Old Testament priest as well as the office of prophet was therefore a temporary solution, through which human beings could receive forgiveness and hear God's word. God then sent Jesus Christ to eliminate the divide between God and human beings, making it possible for all humans to gain direct access to God. So, they could experience forgiveness, have fellowship with God, and hear the word directly without going through second-hand means. Martin Luther has coined this idea with the phrase, "the priesthood of all believers." (As for the explanation of this idea, see ubf200.de with ID: germany; password: love, ubfnet.com/ubf200, or ubfhope.com).

The priesthood of all believers means, first, that all believers now can directly enter into the presence of God without mediation of other human beings, experience forgiveness, and share a fellowship with God. Now they can hear God's voice finished. During the Old Testament time, only the priest, especially the high priest, could have access to God. When the New Testament calls all Christians priests, as in 1 Peter 2 [yum.gif] and Rev 1:6, it declares that all Christians can directly come to God and enjoy blessed fellowship with him. In 1 Peter 2 [yum.gif] , Apostle Peter wrote, "But you are a chosen race, the royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God's own people."

What he meant with the words, "you are the royal priesthood," is this: that all Christians, by virtue of the sacrificial death of Jesus, have become priests and, so, now they can directly approach God and enjoy delightful communion with him. That we can come to God and share fellowship with him is because of God's wonderful grace. It is a great privilege, unique grace given to Christians. It enables us to taste the heavenly bliss through the fellowship with God and to live our life with the full anticipation of the hope of the glorious future. We are sure that someday we will dwell with him in the Kingdom of Heaven and enjoy blessed fellowship with him eternally.

Second, the priesthood of all believers means that the believers, now because of the redemption of Christ, no longer need the Old Testament style of priesthood. Each believer can directly come to God and hear the voice of God personally through the Bible and prayer. Fundamentally, believers no longer need any human mediation. No longer, therefore, is there any room for a hierarchy among believers but all believers are before God equally valuable and have the same access to him. All are basically called brothers, as Jesus said, "for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers" (Matt 23:8). Consequently, it is against biblical principle to cling to a pyramid-like class system built upon a hierarchical understanding of human relationship in Christian fellowship.

The Bible teaches us, on the one hand, that all believers are equally valuable before God and, on the other hand, that God gives each a proper gift, duty (or responsibility), with which the believers work together and perform God's work. The best explanation about the relationships of Christians in fellowship is found in 1 Corinthians 12, where Apostle Paul compares the Christian community to the body of a person. He said from the beginning, however, that no human being, such as a leader of a community, should be regarded as the head of the fellowship, except for Jesus Christ. This explanation is extremely important. He then goes on to compare the believers and their different gifts or responsibilities with the various members of a body. Therefore, the believers should, on the one hand, fulfill their unique gifts, offices or responsibilities and, on the other hand, they should highly regard the gifts, offices and responsibilities of others and support them. They should work together, following the lead of Christ and give God glory. When the brothers and sisters in a fellowship work well in this manner, God will richly bless such a fellowship.

Third, the priesthood of all believers means that they should perform the task of the priest and prophet. Through the sacrificial death of Christ all believers have become priests. All Christians should speak the word of God to others and offer intercession for them. In order to maintain order in a believing community, believers should be willing to work in an orderly manner. For not all can preach in a fellowship, although in principle all are allowed to preach and pray. Above all, we should continue to speak the grace of God wholeheartedly to many. For this reason, Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 2 [yum.gif] , "You area royal priesthood, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Fundamentally, all believers are equally worthy priests with equal rights to access God and with the duty to diligently proclaim the marvelous deeds of God.


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  • Re: Sam's cleverness -- KJ68, 12:15:46 09/25/02 Wed
  • Re: Sam's cleverness -- Anon, 12:17:46 09/25/02 Wed
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