A few years ago, studying 1 Peter, I focused in on something I too often skip over heedlessly: an Epistle’s “introduction.” There I found my identity better than I ever could in any psychologist’s office or self-improvement book… Because the opening to Peter’s letter tells who we are in such an illuminating way.
I won’t go into the whole picture. (But you might want to examine it yourself to see what surprises you find.) There’s one detail I want to hone in on now, because, referring to the Levitical Law, it speaks of something intriguing relating to us who belong to Christ.
Chosen for What?
1 Peter 1:2, calling us “chosen” (or “elect”), tells two things for which we’re chosen: 1) Obedience to Christ and 2) sprinkling of His blood!
Why are we “sprinkled”? I wondered, and rather than just guess or try to pull an answer from the air or remember something someone once said, I went to the texts about the Law in Exodus and Leviticus, to find out what Old Testament things were “sprinkled” with blood. What they have in common is key…
Exodus 29:16 says the altar of burnt offering must be sprinkled.
Exodus 29:20-21 says blood must be placed on the right ear, thumb, and big toe of the priest chosen to serve in the temple.
And Exodus 39:41 requires that all the priests’ ministerial garments be sprinkled with blood.
Leviticus 4:5-7 calls for sprinkled blood in front of the veil of the sanctuary and on the altar of incense…
I began to see something all these had in in common: they were all used in the service of God!
Leviticus goes on to show this blood sprinkling as a means of cleansing, consecrating, and sanctifying (setting apart especially to and for God):
Leviticus 14:6-7 says a person cured of leprosy was to be sprinkled (cleansed), so that now he could rejoin the community of God’s people.
Leviticus 16:11-16,18-19 tells me blood was sprinkled to cleanse and consecrate the Holy Place, tabernacle, and altar–all to be made fit for the service of Holy God.
How does this apply to me–and you?
What About Us?
1 Peter 2:5 says we’re living stones, being built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, “to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
1Pe 2:9 calls us “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people”–and for what purpose? that we might acceptably “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
So, Christ’s shed blood extends beyond just saving us so we can “go to heaven.” Figuratively sprinkling us, it cleanses and consecrates us, making us fit not only to come before Him for our own benefit, but also for His service, honor, and glory, and the benefit of others to whom we may now minister, in any of the callings that a “kingdom of priests” to God might have. What purpose for living! Thanks again to God for His indescribable gift!