Pray that the saints would accept God’s ordination that they, along with all His people, are priests in the New Testament priesthood and would declare in faith that they are New Testament priests of the gospel (Rev. 1:5b-6; Rom. 15:16 and note 163; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9 and note 58).
Rev. 1:5b-6—To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.
Rom. 15:16—That I might be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.
Rom. 15:163, priest—Paul’s being a priest of the gospel of God to minister Christ to the Gentiles was a priestly service to God, and the Gentiles whom he gained through his gospel preaching were an offering presented to God. By this priestly service many Gentiles, who were unclean and defiled, were sanctified in the Holy Spirit and became such an offering, acceptable to God. They were set apart from things common and were saturated with God’s nature and element, and were thus sanctified both positionally and dispositionally (see note 192 in ch. 6). Such a sanctification is in the Holy Spirit. This means that, based on Christ’s redemption, the Holy Spirit renews, transforms, and separates unto holiness those who have been regenerated by believing into Christ.
1 Pet. 2:5, 9—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…But 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.
1 Pet. 2:58, spiritual—The spiritual sacrifices that the believers offer in the New Testament age according to God’s economy are: (1) Christ as the reality of all the sacrifices of the Old Testament types, such as the burnt offering, meal offering, peace offering, sin offering, and trespass offering (Lev. 1—5); (2) the sinners saved by our gospel preaching, offered as members of Christ (Rom. 15:16); and (3) our body, our praises, and the things that we do for God (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:15-16; Phil. 4:18).
The first item that the Lord desires to recover is the priesthood of the gospel in the New Testament. The New Testament reveals that we are priests of the gospel of God. The terms priests and priesthood may be familiar to us, but I do not believe that many of us are familiar with the term a priest of the gospel of God. This term is only mentioned in Romans 15:16. Let us look first at the translation of this verse in our Recovery Version: “That I might be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.” We have reconsidered the Greek text of this verse, especially the portion translated “a laboring priest of the gospel of God.” We feel that a better translation of this phrase is “a laboring priest of the gospel of God” or “a working priest of the gospel of God.” Here is a priest who is laboring and working. We may even say that such a priest is “an energizing priest of the gospel of God.” From our study of the Greek text, we feel that this phrase can be in apposition to the previous phrase, a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. Thus, a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles is a laboring priest of the gospel of God, a working priest of the gospel of God, an energizing priest of the gospel of God. A minister of Christ Jesus must be a priest of the gospel of God. I have studied and expounded the book of Romans in the past, but I did not see until recently that we are priests of the gospel of God. In the Old Testament the priests were working and ministering to offer animal sacrifices to God, but Paul as a New Testament priest was busy in the gospel of God…
The New Testament teaches us clearly that all the believers are priests. We are not individualistic priests, but we are priests in a corporation to become a priesthood. This is the teaching of the New Testament that the Brethren saw. From the very beginning of the Lord’s recovery among us, we also saw this truth concerning the priesthood, but neither we nor the Brethren pointed out that the priesthood in the New Testament is the priesthood of the gospel. Yes, we all are priests, but what kind of priests are we? Today we see that according to Romans 15:16 we are priests of the gospel of God. We all need to declare, “I am a priest of the gospel of God!” (CWWL, 1989, vol. 4, “The Advance of the Lord’s Recovery Today,” ch. 1, pp. 4-5)
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