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Religion & Culture / Reformed Theology
|Subject: Believers' Priesthood||Date: 1/29/2003 6:34 PM|
|Author: GoldRushs||Number: 227 of 301|
The earliest Christian churches that grew up after the Lord's death and resurrection, consisted of ordinary folk in simple circumstances, who worshiped God in Spirit and truth according to the O.T. Scriptures, and according to the Apostles' eye-witness accounts of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The first churches were independent, and believers, having all things in common, assembled daily in houses of fellow Christians as a spiritual family in order to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, read the O.T., pray, sing, baptize converts and remember the death of Jesus Christ through the observance of the Lord's Supper . . all in good order, with Elder oversight, but without rank amongst the members. Poverty and secular persecution prevented any fancy trappings or special houses being built for the reason of worship.
False teachings and heresies sprang up early (e.g. Gnosticism) which necessitated the development of formal theology. Towards the end of the 4th century, a canon of Scripture was determined upon and the the first creeds were articulated as statements of faith.
At this time, and after victory over heathenism, the church began to merge with state. This eventuated in the elevation of Constantine as the first “Christian” Caesar, which produced a theocratic rule in the Roman Empire. Politics married the Apostolic tradition of passing church authority from Bishop to Bishop, that eventually developed into Papal rule and Magisterial control over the entire Christian church.
The early Protestants, several centuries later, were led by God through studies of Scripture to reform themselves from this theocratic rule that had led the church astray into darkness, oppression and mysticism. Through private study of the Holy Scriptures these Christians were shown the necessity of rescuing the church from institutional control and delivering it back to Jesus Christ and the leading of His Holy Spirit. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and all the other early Reformers taught:
All regenerated Christians are saints:
“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” Romans 1:7
“Now, therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12
All regenerated Christians are priests:
“. .You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9
“ . . They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6b
All regenerated Christians are the sons of God:
“For you are all sons of God through faith through faith in Christ Jesus . . There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26,28
“. . As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12&13
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14
All regenerated Christians reign as kings in Christ the King:
“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father . .” Revelation 1:5b,6a
“And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10
“. . And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4b
All regenerated Christians have direct access to God:
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
I Timothy 2:5
“. . The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26b
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God . . .let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14,16
All regenerated Christians are given understanding of the things of God:
“God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” I Corinthians 2:10a
“. . He will guide you into all truth . .and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13
“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
The true church of Jesus Christ consists of born again souls; made alive by hearing the gospel of Christ through the call of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God; those sealed unto everlasting life in Christ by the same Spirit. This invisible body lives by faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and will answer only to His authority. (John 10:3-5)
Each individual soul alive in the spiritual body of Christ (Hebrews 12:22-24), live according to and manifest the attributes of God, because they abide in His Son and He in them:
We, as Reformed Christians, believe no institution or human authority or religious tradition can provide these spiritual blessings to men; but all come directly to the hearts of sinners as gifts from God.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8&9
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