“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
In the Old Testament, a priest had to be a male who belonged to the tribe of Levi and was a descendant of Moses’ brother Aaron, the high priest. In the New Testament, a priest has to belong to Christ, the high priest. Every person saved by Jesus’ atoning death is a member of a holy and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Just like Christ who is both the sacrifice and high priest of the new covenant, every Christian is both a sacrifice to God and priest in His holy temple, the church.
In the passage above, Paul describes three definitive characteristics of every Christian priest:
Moral transformation. Literally translated, verse 2 begins with the imperative: “STOP being conformed to this world.” The world and its lusts are passing away (1 John 2:16); there is nothing of permanence, value, or genuine substance in sin and its passing pleasures. Therefore, those who have died with Christ put to death the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (Colossians 3:1-3, 6). As a Christian/New Testament priest who has died to sin, you no longer live in it (Romans 6:2); instead, you deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age (Titus 2:12). A New Testament priest must be morally transformed.
Mental transformation. Because of the inseparable connection between what the body does and what the spirit feeds upon, a mental transformation (literally, a metamorphosis) is essential. Moral corruption ultimately arises from the heart. It is of no lasting value to wash the outside of a vessel if you do not clean it inside also. A Christian priest’s mind is to meditate upon things which are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8). A New Testament priest must be mentally transformed.
Motivational transformation. Everyone needs an epic challenge to live for. The Christian priest most definitely has one: To put to the test the will of God and prove it to be satisfactory. As presented in Scripture, God’s will is declared to be: 1) beneficial to humanity; 2) capable of compliance which results in His being pleased; and 3) in no way deficient or inadequate. Satan denies the truthfulness of each of these claims for God’s will. The assignment given to each New Testament priest is to exonerate God and His will. What an epic challenge. A New Testament priest must be motivationally transformed.
What high and holy expectations God has of all Christians/New Testament priests!