When the church is run by one man or group of men with the church itself having little or no say the kingship that God gave his people is denied. The lord can and will bless such a fallen form of authority as he blessed the kings of Israel but it is a lower form of leadership than the Lord desires for the men and women he died for.
The world is used to seeing institutions and organisations run by a man or a committee. The church is not an earthly institution. She has only one head and he didn’t qualify at Bible school. The Lord is the head of the church. Yes he called men to serve his church but he did not call them to dominate and make all her decisions.
This style of church is no more a New Testament church than the popes of the middle ages. We were called as a body and only in the body of Christ is the true calling of a believer visible. We are all kings. Watch a body of believers make their own decisions and the holy nation, a nation of kings is revealed. This is the high calling of believers. This is what it means to be a brother or sister in the church.
The highest call any believer can have is to be a brother or sister in a church. Only there is the kingship of all believers clearly visible and practically real.
Every believer is also part of a royal priesthood. When God called the nation of Israel he called a nation of priests. Israel fell from that high calling and the Lord instituted a smaller, more limited priesthood. 11 in every 12 men lost their right to be a priest.
And do you know the shocking truth about that priesthood? The priesthood of the Old Testament was a farce. The Lord called the whole nation of Israel to the priesthood and they turned him down. Only the Levites took up the call. Even they were so unworthy that the Lord had to establish a long set of rituals to purify them so that they could enter his house without risking their lives.
Huge numbers were excluded from serving as priests because of physical defects or an inappropriate marriage. They couldn’t cut their hair or touch unclean things. It was a difficult life. But these were the only people who could come close to God. They were the only ones who could enter the holy place. Even these few privileged men could not enter the Holy of Holies. Only one man, the High Priest, could do that and then only once a year. The most respected man in Israel, the most pious, the most perfect man in the land and he could go before the Lord just once in a year.
The Old Testament priesthood was limited and inadequate. They could not solve the problem that God’s people were fallen and sinful. All they could do was keep God at bay just a little longer with sacrifice after sacrifice. Any slip on their part could spell disaster. In the midst of all the grandeur and elaborate ritual the Old Testament priests were complete failures. They could not and did not save the people. The ministry they brought to their God came from a distance. They barely knew their God and there was little they could do about it.
This was not the priesthood God intended in eternity past. He wanted a people worthy of himself. He wanted a people clean and holy who could approach him. He wanted a people who could enter his house without fear of destruction, a priesthood able to enter the Holy of Holies freely. He wanted a priesthood worthy of him that included all his people.
God has found his royal priesthood. They are as pure as God himself. They are fully qualified for the role. Who are these worthy priests? They are you and me. We are the royal priesthood of God himself. He has found us worthy to be priests of the living God. We are clean and holy despite being uncircumcised Gentiles. Whether we are physically whole or not makes no difference. How is this possible?