Today we’ll continue our study of “Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The last chapter considered the prophetic role of Christ, today we’ll examine chapter 26, “Christ the Priest.”
Our sin renders us unable to stand before a holy God. We need to be delivered from our guilt, and in the Old Testament the High Priest would make such an offering for sin. A priest would stand before God on behalf of man: “The prophet is one who came with a message from God to man; the priest is one who goes from man to God…” (297).
However, the sacrifice rendered by human priests was insufficient. Hebrews 5:1-5 teaches that one of the roles of the Lord Jesus was to fulfill this role as priest on behalf of man. Lloyd-Jones summarizes four points about the nature and function of the priesthood from Hebrews 5 (299):
- He must be a human to represent humanity (v. 1).
- He is chosen and appointed by God (v. 4).
- He is “active in the interests of men in things pertaining to God” (v. 1).
- He offers gifts and sacrifices for sins (v. 1).
Furthermore, Scriptures teaches that priests should be holy:
They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God. For they offer the Lord’s food offerings, the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy (Lev. 21:6).
Based on these functions, MLJ defines the priest as “essentially a mediator who does two main things. First he propitiates by sacrifices; second, he intercedes on behalf of the people” (300). The priest secures reconciliation between God and man through propitiation (satisfaction offered to a holy, offended God) by means of a substitute (someone who’s innocent suffering on behalf of the guilty) to provide atonement (bringing together two people who were formerly divided).
Thankfully, Jesus has fulfilled all of these priestly functions (Heb. 3:1; 4:14; 5:5; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1). Without such a mediator, we could not have access to a holy God. Without such a sacrifice, we could not be cleansed. Christ has come so we have an Advocate who endlessly intercedes on our behalf. Lloyd-Jones concludes:
Having Himself experienced the infirmities, though still without sin, having been tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, He is the High Priest who can represent us and speak on our behalf. And we have seen that He has an offering to offer, a sacrifice to present that has been accepted of God. So He intercede and ever lives to make intercession for all who come to God by Him (305).