Sunday, September 05, 2010

Multipliers of Forgiveness

Guest blogger, Stan Nussbaum, takes us on a journey through the messianic year calendar.

Welcome to the journey of our Messiah through the year with Dr. Nussbaum.

Multipliers of forgiveness

"You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)

Last week we saw that forgiveness is required of us. This week we see why. The Messiah wants his forgiveness multiplied to the ends of the earth and he wants to do it through us. As our King and High Priest, he has made us a “kingdom of priests.”

What a pity that we so rarely think of ourselves as priests! We may not even be able to remember the last time we did anything priestly. What would that even mean?

We probably have not thought much about it because we have short-circuited that cherished idea of the Reformation, “the priesthood of all believers,” To us it means, “We are each our own priest. None of us needs a mediator or priest between us and Christ.” This is true but it is only the negative part of the meaning of “the priesthood of all believers.” The positive side that should jump out at us is that we all have a share in the priestly work of the Priest-King Jesus, so let’s think about what our share is.

A priest is a divinely appointed and authorized connector, a person specially assigned to represent the ordinary people to God and God to the ordinary people. If all believers in the Messiah are priests, who are the “ordinary people,” the “non-priests”? They must be the unbelievers, the unforgiven.

If that is true, then the “priesthood of all believers” is not merely a statement about the laity and the clergy. It is one of the strongest, clearest missionary commands imaginable! As priests we are to carry on the mission of the Messiah who died for unbelievers. We touch people with his liberating, cleansing blood and they are forgiven, transformed from ordinary people into priests like us.

Of course, we do not announce ourselves to our unbelieving relatives and friends as their “priests” and they may not be ready for any talk of Jesus’ forgiveness, but the Lord already thought of that. He did not tell us we had to approach people that way. He made us priests so we could “show others the goodness of God” (1 Pt. 2:9) that is, show them how wonderful it is to live as a daily beneficiary of his goodness and forgiveness. So much fear vanishes. So much bitterness is discarded. The black cloud lifts.

This new kind of life as forgiven, forgiving people is so healthy for our souls and minds that it even spills over into our bodies. There is much less to keep us awake at night or give us ulcers in the daytime. Our peace ought to attract others to the light. We have the kind of life they are dreaming of.

One final touch of our Priest-King’s mercy to us is that we do not have to represent him as kings, bringing his judgment by force on all. If we had to do that before he personally returns as King, our blood pressure would shoot back up and a lot of new headaches would plague us. We are blessed to represent him only as priests, bringing his forgiveness by grace to those who are willing. We will reign with him eventually, but that is “step two” of his plan (see Aug. 22). Our priestly work is part of step one.

Welcome: Great High Priest Jesus, one of a kind, magnificent yet approachable, we welcome you. We can hardly believe you could forgive people like us but you have. Welcome!

Affirmation: Since under Christ our High Priest I am also part of the priesthood, I will start acting like a priest, taking his goodness and his forgiveness into my world.



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