|Photo courtesy dcubillas|
The first thing that stands out to me about this element of who we are in Christ is that it is a "dual office." What I mean by that is that being of the royal line and the priestly line are two very different things. If we look back into the Old Testament we see that being a king and a priest was an impossibility within the Law that God set up. One of the most vivid evidences of this comes from 1 Samuel 13 when King Saul offers a burnt sacrifice before Samuel arrives. Samuel's response tells us all we really need to know:
You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord you have established you kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. 1 Samuel 13:13-14a.
At this point in history the king was the political and national leader of the nation and the priests were the spiritual leaders and the priests were the only ones authorized to enter into the presence of the Lord. The lone example that is contrary to this is Mechizedek who was the king of Salem in Genesis 14:18-20. There are two major differences between Melchizedek and the other kings, however. First, Melchizedek lived long before the Law was given to the people of Israel. In fact, he predates Israel altogether. Second, he was a foreshadowing of Christ who is the final and eternal High Priest and King of Kings.
Now, back to the point at hand. There are basically two ways in which a person can become "royal." Unless you have been living under a very large rock for the past several months you are probably aware of the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate. If you saw the wedding festivities you witnessed all of the pageantry that the British royal family has to offer. The interesting thing for us is that Kate was not royal of her own merit. Her family may have been wealthy and well-to-do but they were not, and never will be royal due to that wealth. To become royal Kate had to marry into the family. Now she is a princess and is as much a royal as anyone else. So, one of the ways to become part of royalty is to marry into the family. The other and most obvious way to be royal is to be born into the family, the royal line. Now, here is the kicker, we have been brought into the royal family of God both ways.
Romans 8:17 says this;
and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ...
Galatians 4:7 reiterates this fact;
Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Through that act of being "born-again" we are made heirs of the Kingdom of God. The only possible means of this is through that spiritual act of birth into the royal line of Christ. Take a moment and let this sink in, you have been born into the line of royalty. Not British royalty, or Saudi Arabian royalty. You are royalty with the King of the universe. The One who created it all! In the words of Marty McFly, "This is heavy."
So it is clear that we have been born into the royal line of Christ. What about the other part about marriage? Well, it is quite simple and in reality it hasn't happened yet. The Church is described as the Bride of Christ. One day, when all is said and done, the Church will be presented to Christ as a bride adorned and ready for the wedding feast to end all wedding feasts. At that time there will be no need for the sun because the glory of God will illuminate the world and there will be no need for a temple because God will dwell among His people (Revelation 21). This all tells me that there will be no way around the fact that God's children will be part of His royalty. We are born into it and one day we will be wed into it and no one can say otherwise.
The second part of the dual office described in 1 Peter 2:9 is "priesthood." Again we have two ways into this office. First, if we are made heirs with Christ, and of His line then because of His perpetual priesthood we are also priests. In the old covenant the priesthood was passed down through the line of Aaron just like kingship was. Thus, in the New Covenant we are grafted into Christ's priestly line. Furthermore, in Matthew 27:51 we are told that when Jesus died the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. This curtain was in place to keep people out of the Holy of Holies. The blood of Christ, shed on the cross, tore down that barrier so that all may enter into the presence of God freely, through His blood. Now there is no need for a human intercessor to take our prayers before the Almighty. We are now invited in, as priests ourselves, to the throne room of God. Make no mistake about it, we are not entering in on our own merit. We are entering in through the merit of Christ on our behalf.
In Christ we are a "royal priesthood," a dual office that only Christ can fulfill. We are royal, meaning that we are heirs to the Kingdom of God because we are born into the line of Christ and one day we will be His bride. We are also a nation of priests and we have access to God, directly because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. This is a big deal, and as we saw last time there is nothing that anyone can do to change who we are. No matter how hard I try to be someone else in this world, I will always be a Herring because that is who I was born as. I can try to scrape off my finger prints and change my name but the fact remains, I am a Herring, the son of a Herring. No matter how hard Satan tries, he cannot make you anything but an heir to Christ's Kingdom. Once we are born again that is who we are, that is our identity. We are royal. We are priests. However, we do well to remember that it is not because of something we have done. We must always remember, with humility, awe and gratitude that it was something done for us by the One who loves us more than we can comprehend.