Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Vocation Is: Royal Priesthood

Monroe sunset
N.T. Wright, in After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, begins the 7th chapter by summing things up so far. He writes: "The main point I have been making throughout, is to show what it means to develop the virtues, in the present time, which genuinely anticipate those of the “royal priesthood.” We are designed to be, in the end, fully renewed, image-bearing human beings." (p. 219)

Here is the Pauline idea that:
  • Christ would be "formed" in us (Gal. 4:19)
  • That we might have the "mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16)
  • We would be renewed by the metamorphing of our minds (Rom. 12:1-2)
And it is the Jesus-idea, put forth in John chapters 14-16, and expressed in Jesus' prayers in John 17, that we might dwell in Trinitarian union as the Son does.

This is the destiny for every Jesus-follower, and we must keep our hearts and minds set on that. Because the future shapes the present, we are to engage in those spiritual practices that usher us into the presence of God today, so as to be further shaped by the Spirit into what we will one day be.

Wright's ch. 7 begins to spell those things out in more detail. He writes:

"First, what does it mean in the present to behave as the royal priesthood, and what are the habits of heart, mind, and life which contribute to that? Second, how does this vocation not only engage the wider world, by holding before it a vision of a new way of being human, but also visibly upstage the classical (and modern) tradition of a secular virtue ethic, retaining the best emphases within that tradition but transforming them within the new framework? Third, how does this larger vocation give shape and body to the particular habits which generate specifically Christian behavior and help us to avoid specifically pagan behavior? How, in other words, does following Jesus in the vocation to royal priesthood both necessitate and generate a life of genuine Christian holiness?" (pp. 219-220)

Our true vocation, our high calling, is to be a royal priesthood.