The New Testament continually calls Christians-the “church.” Remember the Greek word translated “church” means “called out ones.” In other words, a minority is called out from the majority of the human race.
Consequently, many scriptures use the words “elect,” “elected,” “election,” and “elect’s” (sometimes translated “chosen”) to denote God’s dealing with Christians. Matthew 24:31; Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:10 and 2 Timothy 2:10 are a few examples of this usage.
This word describes the special selection of a smaller class (“little flock”) from the human race before all of humanity has its opportunity for salvation in the Kingdom.
What is this special calling or selection of the church? Christians are called to the multiple profession of judges, priests and kings of mankind in Christ’s Kingdom. What an honor! At first our faith staggers. But the Scriptures are explicit on this point. 1 Corinthians 6:2 states that “the saints shall judge the world.” 1 Peter 2:9 shows Christians are called to be a “royal [kingly] priesthood.” Similarly,
Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 states we are called of God to be “kings and priests” and “we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 20:6 states that Christians “shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Judges, priests, kings! What a profession Christians have been called to! But what a rigorous training course the Christian must pursue to attain this profession. Do you as a Christian see God working in your life-preparing you for this profession?
Christians will share with Christ in judging the world (1 Corinthians 6:2; John 5:22). John 5:28, 29 states that “ALL that are in the graves. . .shall come forth, they [Christians] that have done good, unto the resurrection of life [live and reign with Christ, Revelation 20:4]; and they that have done evil [the remainder of men] to a resurrection by krisis [Greek].” Many translations say, “resurrection of judgment,” but the Greek is literally “resurrection of krisis.” A doctor will speak of a patient reaching his crisis. He doesn’t mean the patient will die. Rather, the crisis time is when the patient will take a turn for the better or the worse.
The “krisis” or probation time for the remainder of men will be in Christ’s Kingdom. Therefore, their trial will not be based on the works of this life but their works during the Kingdom. Thus, the risen Lord says in Revelation 22:12, “Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work SHALL BE.” Christians will share with Christ in judging people according to their works in the Kingdom, their probation time.
The word “krisis” has been incorporated into many different languages. The Chinese write in symbols. And they use two symbols to denote “krisis.” One symbol denotes danger, the other conveys opportunity. Humanity’s trial or “krisis” in the Kingdom will offer the opportunity to attain eternal life. But it will also be a time of danger.
Those who fail to meet God’s conditions for attaining eternal life will be condemned to Second Death (Revelation 20:13-15).
Priests and Kings
Christians will not only be judges, but also merciful and sympathetic priests who will bless each member of the world with every possible help and opportunity to attain eternal life. Thus, the Scriptures show that Jesus and his church (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6) will not only be rulers over the remainder of men but also priests,
blessers. Hebrews 9:23 reveals that Israel’s tabernacle was a picture
of better things to come. After Israel’s high priest provided sacrifices for reconciliation on the Day of Atonement, the priests during the remainder of the year instructed, judged and blessed the people. Hebrews 5:1,2, states that Israel’s priests could have “compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Jesus was perfect, but he is able to sympathize with our infirmities as our High Priest because he was tempted in all points like us yet without sin (Hebrews 2:17,18; 4:15).
Being Made Christ-like
Unlike Jesus we have physical infirmities and moral weakness. Additionally, every hardship and tragedy that happens to the human race also happens to Christians (1 Corinthians 10:13). The word “temptation” would better be rendered trial, actually a test permitted of God to instruct us. But “God is faithful, Who will not suffer [permit] you to be tried above that ye are able.” If we are “babes in Christ,” God might remove the trial or hardship. But there is “a way of escape” that our “faithful God” would prefer to provide
during our hardships and tragedies-that His Holy Spirit would develop in us the spiritual maturity “that ye may be able to bear [endure] it.” But why should we endure tragedies instead of having God remove them? Remember God is training us to be sympathetic priests. Thus Peter says in 1 Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at
the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Christians who are rightly exercised by their difficulties are changed from glory to glory into the character likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Their exercising the spirit of Christ while struggling with their infirmities and hardships develops in them love, sympathy and understanding for their fellowman.
Just as the firstborn of the nation of Israel was representative of each family in Israel so the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23) will have experienced all the problems, hardships, tragedies mankind has endured. This preparation will qualify them to be merciful and sympathetic priests, judges and rulers of mankind in the Kingdom. Are your difficult experiences making you
sympathetic and merciful to others?
There is much more to the Christian life than accepting Jesus. Peter observed in 2 Peter 1:5-11, “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness
love. . .for if you do these things, ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Only if we develop these character qualities will we qualify to reign with Christ as kings and priests in his Kingdom (Revelation 20:6).
With a hope like this we can only conclude as Jesus did, that no suffering or tragedy is too great. Hebrews 12:2-4, “. . .who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be
wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” With a hope like this let us follow in his footsteps and “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter
various trials” (James 1:2, NAS).