The Service of the Priesthood

The Service of the Priesthoodby Witness Lee

ISBN: 978-0-7363-0173-2
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 1 of 1 Section 1 of 4

THE SERVICE OF THE PRIESTHOOD

Scripture Reading: 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rom. 12:1-2, 4-6

In the Christian life there are always two aspects, the matter of life and the matter of service. As the Lord’s children, we need a proper spiritual life, and we need the proper spiritual service. The proper Christian service is a matter of life, and it is in the Body. Such a spiritual service is presented as the priesthood in 1 Peter 2:5: “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The holy priesthood in this verse is the spiritual house. The spiritual house built up together with the saints is the holy priesthood. The house is the priesthood, and the priesthood is the house. These are two aspects of one thing, two aspects of the building up together of the saints. This building up is the house of God, and it is the priesthood of God—not merely priests but a priesthood.

Verse 9 continues with the royal priesthood: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This royal priesthood is the spiritual house. These three matters are crucial: the spiritual house, the holy priesthood, and the royal priesthood. On one hand, the priesthood is holy; on the other hand, the priesthood is royal.

Paul deals with the matter of the Christian life and the matter of the Christian service in the book of Romans. The service is in Romans 12: “I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect” (vv. 1-2). Many bodies are offered as one unique sacrifice, not many sacrifices but one sacrifice with many bodies.

This good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God continues in the following verses: “For just as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we who are many are one Body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or service, let us be faithful in that service; or he who teaches, in that teaching” (vv. 4-7). All the Christian services are in the Body. If you have the Body with the Body practice, the Body expression, and the Body life, then you have the Christian service.

LIFE AND SERVICE

In this chapter we are dealing with the practical aspect of the Christian life, that is, the service. With us as Christians there are always two aspects. The first aspect is a matter of the Christian life, a life matter, and the second aspect is a matter of the Christian service, a service matter. As the Lord’s children, on the one hand, we need a proper life, a spiritual life, and on the other hand, we need a proper service, a spiritual service.

In Matthew 25 the Lord Jesus gave two parables, the parable of the ten virgins, which deals with the Christian life, and the parable of the talents, which is related to our service. As far as our life is concerned, we should be as the virgins with the testimony of light in our hand as we go out of this world to meet our Bridegroom. This is our life, the life aspect. We need the oil, and we need the testimony of light. We need to go out of this world, to wait for the Lord’s coming back, and to go on to meet His coming. This is the Christian life.

Immediately following this parable, the Lord gave us the parable of the talents, which is something related to our service. We need to use the talent, the gift, which the Lord has given us, to do some business and to make some profit for the Lord. With the Lord’s children there are always these two aspects, the life and the service. We need to grow in life with the oil, with the light, and with the going out of this world to meet the Lord in His coming back. We also need to exercise in a proper way what the Lord has given us as a gift, as a talent.

In the Epistle to the Romans the apostle Paul covers these two aspects. In the greater part of this book, the apostle deals with the aspect of life. Romans gives the sequence of the Christian walk, the Christian life. At the very beginning, in the first two and a half chapters, there is a sinner before God. Then in chapters 3, 4, and the first part of 5, this sinner is justified, forgiven, redeemed, and saved through the redemption of Christ. In the second part of chapter 5 through chapter 8, this redeemed, justified, and forgiven person is walking in the new life, in the Spirit. He realizes the fact that the old man has been put to death and the fact that with the old man there is nothing good. The old man, the old nature, has been put on the cross. Now the Holy Spirit of Christ, as the embodiment of Christ as life to us, is living within us. We must walk according to Him and walk in Him. So this very one who was originally a sinner is now a saint, walking according to the Spirit. Then in chapter 12 so many redeemed ones who are walking in the Spirit are composed together in the Spirit as one Body. They are members of this one Body.


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