Pray that the saints would follow Paul’s pattern in offering saved sinners, members of Christ, as living and spiritual sacrifices to God in three stages (Rom. 15:16; 12:1; Col. 1:28-29).
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. 12:1—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.
Col 1:28-29—Whom we announce, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man full-grown in Christ; for which also I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power.
We have said that the main work of the priests is to offer sacrifices. However, the sacrifices offered by the New Testament priests are absolutely different from the sacrifices offered by the Old Testament priests. In the Old Testament the priests offered bulls and goats, but in the New Testament the priests offer as sacrifices those who have been saved into Christ and who are joined to Christ. The bulls and goats as sacrifices in the Old Testament are types of the coming Christ (Heb. 10:5-7); but the redeemed sinners are in the Christ who has come, and they have become members of the Body of Christ. They are presented to God by the New Testament priests of the gospel as living and spiritual sacrifices. First Peter 2:5 says that we, “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.” This shows that the intention of God’s heart is to have a spiritual house for Him to dwell in and to have a priestly body, a priesthood, to serve Him. As priests, we serve corporately in coordination to tell out the virtues of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, as mentioned in 2:9, that we may offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, that is, saved sinners, according to God’s economy. Therefore, we need to realize that to preach the gospel is to tell out God’s love, grace, forgiveness, redemption, and so forth, that we may bring sinners to the Lord and offer them, the members of Christ, as sacrifices to God. This is the first step of the priests’ offering of sacrifices.
The second step of the offering of sacrifices is to nourish the believers that they may grow in life so that they can present themselves as sacrifices to God. Romans 12:1 speaks of this. We should exhort the believers through the compassions of God that they may offer themselves as a living sacrifice to God. The third step is that we who are priests should do according to what Paul says in Colossians 1:28-29, that is, admonish every man and teach every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man to God full-grown in Christ. This requires us to labor and to struggle. All that we have is Christ, and all that we offer also is Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 14:26 and footnote 1, Recovery Version). Only by doing this can we be the priests of the gospel. CWWL, 1990, vol. 3, “The Up-to-date Presentation of the God-ordained Way and the Signs concerning the Coming of Christ,” ch. 2, p. 543-544)
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