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Second class Christians
- Jacob Ninan
Many Christians do not seem to have understood that the priests and prophets of the old covenant who had a special relationship with God, and from whom the ordinary people had to receive their instructions for life, are no longer there. Under that old arrangement these special class of people were mediators between God and the masses. If we lived at that time you and I could not find out for ourselves what God wanted us to do, and it would have been illegal for us to offer our own sacrifices to God. But now under the new covenant we are all kings and priests before God (1Pe.2:9). In addition we are all brothers and sisters for one another, and the smallest of us--those who have become children of God only today--have the same access to God as the oldest among us (He.8:11). In fact, under this covenant of grace, we can all be bold to enter the presence of God as His children (He.10:19) and to talk with Him.
Those who do not understand this privilege which God has freely given to every one of His children consider themselves as being 'unworthy' and hesitate to go before God. They consider 'servants of God', 'men of God', etc., as those who have free access to God, and still try to reach God through such people. They ask such people to pray for them because they are not sure that God will answer their own prayers. They ask them to find out and tell them God's will in different situations, just as people used to go to prophets in the old covenant. Even though they have really been made children of God (1Jn.3:1), they live as if they were some second class citizens. They seem to keep at the back of their mind the old covenant concept of a priestly class and ordinary people, or in modern terms as the clergy (or pastor) and the laity. It is so sad that many Christians do not even know how to pray, but for every occasion they want the priest or the pastor to be there to take care of all the spiritual (or religious) aspects.
Of course there is a gradation in the depth of our knowledge of God from person to person. But it is not based on our position in the church or our office in an organisation. It is based on our own individual walk with God. So it may be that a person whom no one recognises officially may know God more closely than the pastor or the general secretary. Certainly these people have more authority with God than the recognised officials (Jas.5:16). Officials are very much required to carry out the official duties and handle the administrative responsibilities. But it does not follow automatically that they are the most spiritual among the people or closest to God.
It is not for us to see who is the most spiritual person (Lk.9:46). But it is important for all of us to realise that no one or nothing can prevent us from becoming spiritual people or close to the heart of God. It is something we decide or choose in our individual life. That decides our values and priorities in life, and vice versa.