CHOSEN, SANCTIFIED, REDEEMED, REGENERATED, AND FEEDING
Although the subject of the Epistles of Peter is the government of God, their content is still in the principle of the inner life and the church life. A second set of verses shows us this content. First Peter 1:2-4 says, “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father in the sanctification of the Spirit unto the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, kept in the heavens for you.” Verses 18 and 19 read, “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.” Verses 22 and 23 continue, “Since you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned brotherly love, love one another from a pure heart fervently, having been regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.” In addition, 2:2-3 says, “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
The Father chose us in eternity past, the Holy Spirit sanctified and separated us, and Christ redeemed us by shedding His blood. Moreover, God also has regenerated us. To be regenerated means that God has put Christ into us as our life that we may have another life, the divine life, in addition to our human life. All of these basic matters—God’s selection, Christ’s redemption, the Holy Spirit’s sanctification, the divine regeneration—are found in the writings of Peter. Now after being regenerated, we need to seek the spiritual food and spiritual milk for us to drink that we may grow and that our soul may be purified. The apostle Paul did not use the word purified as Peter did, but he used the word transformed (2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 12:2). To be transformed is to be purified in our soul.
GROWING TO BE BUILT UP AS A SPIRITUAL HOUSE
First Peter 2:4-5 says, “Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” The purpose of our growing is to be built up as a spiritual house, which is the church. God’s purpose is that we be built up together as a spiritual house, and this spiritual house is a priesthood, a body of priests built together to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God. This is the service in the church and the church life. This building, this spiritual house, is the Body of Christ. The Body with many priests coordinated together offers up spiritual sacrifices to God.
THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD AND THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
Verse 9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The believers are not only holy priests but also royal priests. Whereas the holy priests are according to the order of Aaron, the royal, kingly priests are according to the order of Melchisedec. Melchisedec was a king and a kingly priest (Heb. 7:1). The holy priests are those who are separated to go to God to represent God’s people, while the kingly priests come from God to care for us, just as Melchisedec came from God to meet Abraham to minister bread and wine to him (Gen. 14:17-18). On the one hand, we are the holy priests, always going to God to represent the people, while on the other hand, we come from God to the people to represent God. We may apply this in a practical way. Before we go out to preach the gospel, we should go to God in prayer, praying day and night, representing the sinners before God. At this time we are the holy priests. Then, when we go to the sinners to proclaim the gospel to them, representing God to minister grace and life, we are royal priests.
The holy priesthood in 1 Peter 2:5 offers spiritual sacrifices to God, while the kingly priesthood in verse 9 tells out the virtues of God. The holy priests offer something to God for the sake of the people, while the royal priests declare the things of God to people. We are the holy priests and the kingly priests, going and coming in two directions.
In the past we may not have had the thought that we are not only holy priests but also kingly priests coming from God, representing Him, to minister Christ to others. Many times I have had the realization that we are the kingly priests, those coming from God to others. We are here representing God, declaring something of God to people, declaring His excellency, His grace, His life, and His divine nature to others. The church is this kind of priesthood. The church is composed of those who are regenerated, purified in their soul, nourished and growing up, and built together as a living house to contain God, to be indwelt by God, to serve Him as the holy priests, and to minister Him to people as the royal, kingly priests. Even in such a book as 1 Peter, which speaks about the government of God, there is the content of the divine life for the church life.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 3: Hebrews through Jude, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)