There are four things with reference to the general priesthood of believers I would like topoint out.
First, a functioning priesthood is essential and basic to the people of God.
Secondly, any church traditions and practices which in their practical outworkingsquelch the functioning of believers as priests must be rejected.
Thirdly, we must realize that people, not buildings, constitute the "house of God"(cf. 1 Cor.3:9). For example, well-meaning parents say to their children, "be quietand still, for we are in the house of God." However, "God's house" must not beidentified with any building, for this clouds the fact that Christ's people are a"spiritual house." The old covenant emphasis on places has passed away becausethe fulfillment of these types has come in a spiritual people (John 4:20-24).
Fourthly. in light of our priesthood, we cannot give credence to the historical"clergy/laity" distinction. Howard Snyder points this out by saying:The New Testament simply does not speak in terms of two classes of Christians -- "minister" and"laymen" -- as we do today. According to the Bible, the people (laos, "laity") of God compriseall Christians, and all Christians through the exercise of spiritual gifts have some "work of ministry." So if we wish to be biblical, we will have to say that all Christians are laymen (God'speople) and all are ministers. The clergy-laity dichotomy is unbiblical and therefore invalid. Itgrew up as an accident of church history and actually marked a drift away from biblicalfaithfulness.... It is one of the principal obstacles to the Church effectively being God's agent of the Kingdom today because it creates the false idea that only "holy men," namely, ordainedministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry (TheCommunity of the King [IVP, 1977], pp.94-95).The N.T., indeed, makes a distinction between leaders and people (cf. 1 Thess.5:12-13). But thisdistinction assumes the priesthood of believers, and does not swallow it up as the "clergy/laity"practice has in the past.
Eph. 5:18-21In v.18, Paul issues forth an imperative, "be filled with the Spirit." The fulness of the Spirit, then,comes to expression through the five participles which follow: "speaking to yourselves...singing... making melody... giving thanks... submitting yourselves one to another" (vv.19-21).The "Spirit-filled" life is not some nebulous, ecstatic experience. It comes to visible expressionin relationship with other people.Thus, a basic aspect of our priesthood in Christ is to be in a submissive frame of heart withreference to the other brethren. That is to say, wrapped up in our priesthood is a spiritualcommitment to others. Before Paul moves on to specific forms of submission (5:22; 6:1; 6:5),and specific headship responsibilities (5:25; 6:4; 6:9), he first sets forth the absolute necessity of mutual submission to one another in the fear of. Christ (5:21). Our Christian priesthood, then,means at least two things: (1) that we make a commitment of love to minister to our brother's