Thesis #91 of 95 - God's strategy has always been to redeem and heal the world through a Spirit-led messianic community; the latter were never intended to be the exclusive beneficiaries.
Ex19:6 ‘You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
1Pet2:5 You (the Church), as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1Pet2:9 You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.
Rom8:19-23 (NASB) For the eagerly awaiting creation waits for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only that, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons and daughters, the redemption of our body.
The subject of this thesis is a cornerstone within the broader benign providence being outlined. I have quoted three related verses from Exodus and 1Peter as their reference to Israel and the Church as a priesthood is perhaps the clearest evidence of God’s wider saving purposes for the whole planet. It places the Church and gospel in their providential context: whilst all the world is God’s, those within the covenants of promise become God’s own possession (1Pet2:9).
A few verses earlier, Peter affirmed the Church to be “a spiritual house and a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (v5). Yet if the Church be a priesthood, it cannot be offering sacrifices exclusively for itself. It also exists for the benefit of those “who are ignorant and have gone astray” (Heb5:1-2). The Church shares in the sacrificial offering with her Head, which is Christ. Those outside her therefore must potentially benefit, not just from the “body of Christ’s” spiritual enlightenment and charitable works within wider society but also through her priestly intercession and sacrifice. As well as pointing to God’s broader saving intentions for this world (which Paul outlines in Rom8:19-23 above), such a perspective resolves numerous biblical tensions as, for those who can discern it, do these theses taken as a whole.
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