The Kingly Priesthood of the Saints
Written by: Spurgeon, C.H. Posted on: 04/07/2003
The Kingly Priesthood of the Saints
by REV. C.H. SPURGEON
"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth."Revelation 5:10.
MUSIC HATH Charms." I am sure sacred music has; for I have felt something of its charms whilst we
have been singing that glorious hymn just now. There is a potency in harmony; there is a magic
power in melody, which either melts the soul to pity, or lifts it up to joy unspeakable. I do not know
how it may be with some minds; they possibly may resist the influence of singing; but I cannot.
When the saints of God, in full chorus, "chaunt the solemn lay," and when I hear sweet syllables fall from their
lips, keeping measure and time, then I feel elevated; and, forgetting for a time everything terrestrial, I soar aloft
towards heaven. If such be the sweetness of the music of the saints below, where there is much of discord and sin
to mar the harmony, how sweet must it be to sing above, with cherubim and seraphim. Oh, what songs must those
be which the Eternal ever hears upon his throne! What seraphic sonnets must those be which are thrilled from the
lips of pure immortals, untainted by a sin, unmingled with a groan: where they warble ever hymns of joy and
gladness, never intermingled with one sigh, or groan, or worldly care. Happy songsters! When shall I your chorus
join? There is one of your hymns that runs
"Hark! how they sing before the throne!"
and I have sometimes thought I could "hark! how they sing before the throne." I have imagined that I could hear
the full burst of the swell of the chorus, when it pealed from heaven like mighty thunders, and the sound of many
waters, and have almost heard those full-toned strains, when the harpers harped with their harps be fore the throne
of God; alas, it was but imagination. We cannot hear it now; these ears are not fitted for such music; these souls
could not be contained in the body, if we were once to hear some stray note from the harps of angels. We must
wait till we get up yonder. Then, purified, like silver seven times, from the defilement of earth, washed in our
Saviour's precious blood, sanctified by the purifying influence of the Holy Spirit
"We shall, unblemished and complete,
Appear before our Father's throne,
With joys divinely great."
"Then loudest of the crowd we'll sing,
Whilst heaven's resounding mansions ring
With shouts of sovereign grace."
Our friend John, the highly favoured apostle of the Apocalypse, has given us just one note from heaven's
song; we shall strike that note, and sound it again and again. I shall strike this tuning-fork of heaven, and let you
hear one of the key notes. "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth."
May the great and gracious Spirit, who is the only illumination of darkness, light up my mind whilst I attempt, in a
brief and hurried manner, to speak from this text. There are three things in it: first, the Redeemer's doings" and
hast made us; secondly, the saints' honors" and hast made us kings and priests unto our God;" and, thirdly, the
world's future" and we shall reign upon the earth."
I. First, then, we have THE REDEEMER'S DOINGS. They who stand before the throne sing of the
Lambthe Lion of the tribe of Judah, who took the book and broke the seals thereof" Thou hast made us kings
and priests unto our God." In heaven they do not sing
"Glory, honor, praise, and power
Be unto ourselves for ever;
We have been our own Redeemers;Hallelujah!"
They never sing praise to themselves; they glorify not their own strength; they do not talk of their own free-will
and their own might; but they ascribe their salvation, from beginning to end, to God. Ask them how they were
saved, and they reply, "The Lamb hath made us what we are." Ask them whence their glories came, and they tell
you, "They were bequeathed to us by the dying Lamb." Ask whence they obtained the gold of their harps, and
they say, "It was dug in mines of agony and bitterness by Jesus," Inquire who stringed their harps, and they will
tell you that Jesus took each sinew of his body to make them. Ask them where they washed their robes and made
them white, and they will say
"In yonder 'fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins.'"
Some persons on earth do not know where to put the crown; but those in heaven do. They place the diadem on
the right head; and they ever sing" And he hath made us what we are."
Well, then, beloved, would not this note well become us here? For " what have we that we have not
received?" Who hath made us to differ? I know, this morning, that I am a justified man; I have the full assurance
"The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view."
There is not a sin against me in God's book they have all been for ever obliterated by the blood of Christ. and
cancelled by his own right hand. I have nothing to fear; I cannot be condemned. "Who shall lay anything to the
charge of God's elect?" Not God, for he hath justified; not Christ. for he hath died. But if I am justified, who
made me so? I say"And hath made me what I am." Justification from first to last. is of God. Salvation is of the
Many of you are sanctified persons, but you are not perfectly sanctified, you are not redeemed altogether
from the dross of earth; you have still another law in your members, warring against the law of your mind; and
you always will have that law while you tabernacle in faith; you never will be perfect in your sanctification until
you get up yonder before the solemn throne of God, where even this imperfection of your soul will be taken away,
and your carnal depravity rooted out. But yet, beloved, there is an inward principle imparted; you are growing in
graceyou are making progress in holiness. Well, but who made you have that progress? Who redeemed you
from that lust? Who ransomed you from that vice? Who bade you say farewell to that practice in which you
indulged? Cannot you say of Jesus, "And hath made us!" It is Christ who hath done it all, and to his name be
honor, and glory, and praise, and dominion.
Let us dwell one moment on this thought, and show you how it is that it can be said that Christ hath made us
this. When did Christ make his people kings and priests? When could it be said, "And hath made us kings and
priests unto our God?"
1. First of all, he made us kings and priests, virtually, when he signed the covenant of grace. Far, far back in
eternity, the Magna Charta of the saints was written by the hand of God, and it needed one signature to make it
valid. There was a stipulation in that covenant that the Mediator should become incarnate should live a suffering
life, and at last endure a death of ignominy; and it needed but one signature, the signature of the Son of God, to
make that covenant valid, eternal, and "ordered in all things and sure." Methinks I see him now, as my imagination
pictures the lofty Son of God grasping the pen. See how his fingers write the name; and there it stands in
everlasting letters" THE SON!" O sacred ratification of the treaty; it is stamped and sealed with the great seal of
our father in heaven. O glorious covenant, then for ever made secure! At the moment of the signature of this
wondrous document, the spirits before the throneI mean the angelsmight have taken up the song, and said of
the whole body of the elect, "And hast made you kings and priests unto your God;" and could all the chosen
company have started into existence, they could have clapped their hands and sung, "Here we are by that very
signature constituted kings and priests unto our God."
2. But he did not stop there. It was not simply agreeing to the terms of the treaty; but in due time he filled it
allyes, to its utmost jot and tittle. Jesus said, "I will take the cup of salvation;" and he did take itthe cup of our
deliverance. Bitter were its drops;gall lay in its depths;there were groans, and sighs, and tears, within the red
mixture but he took it all, and drank it to its dregs, and swallowed all the awful draught. All was gone. He drank
the cup of salvation, and he ate the bread of affliction. See him, as he drinks the cup in Gethsemane, when the
fluid of that cup did mingle with his blood, and make each drop a scalding poison. Mark how the hot feet of pain
did travel down his veins. See how each nerve is twisted and contorted with his agony. Behold his brow covered
with sweat; witness the agonies as they follow each other into the very depths of his soul. Speak, ye lost, and tell
what hell's torment means; but ye cannot tell what the torments of Gethsemane were. Oh! the deep unutterable!
There was a depth which couched beneath, when our Redeemer bowed his head, when he placed himself betwixt
the upper and nether millstones of his Father's vengeance, and when his whole soul was ground to powder. Ah!
that wrestling man-Godthat suffering man of Gethsemane! Weep o'er him, saintsweep o'er him; when ye see
him rising from that prayer in the garden, marching forth to his cross; when ye picture him hanging on his cross
four long hours in the scorching sun, overwhelmed by his Father's passing wrathwhen ye see his side streaming
with gorewhen ye hear his death-shriek, "It is finished,"and see his lips all parched, and moistened by nothing
save the vinegar and the gall,ah! then prostrate yourselves before that cross, bow down before that sufferer, and
say, "Thou hast made usthou hast made us what we are; we are nothing without thee." The cross of Jesus is the
foundation of the glory of the saints; Calvary is the birth-place of heaven; heaven was born in Bethlehem's
manger; had it not been for the sufferings and agonies of Golgotha we should have had no blessing. Oh, saint! in
every mercy see the Saviour's blood; look on this Bookit is sprinkled with his blood; look on this house of
prayerit is sanctified by his sufferings; look on your daily foodit is purchased with his groans. Let every
mercy come to you as a blood-bought treasure; value it because it comes from him; and ever more say, "Thou
hast made us what we are."
3. Beloved, our Saviour Jesus Christ finished the great work of making us what we are, by his ascension into
heaven. If he had not risen up on high and led captivity captive, his death would have been insufficient. He "died
for our sins," but he "rose again for our justification." The resurrection of our Saviour, in his majesty, when he
burst the bonds of death, was to us the assurance that God had accepted his sacrifice; and his ascension up on
high, was but as a type and a figure of the real and actual ascension of all his saints, when he shall come in the
clouds of judgment, and shall call all his people to him. Mark the man-God, as he goes upward towards heaven;
behold his triumphal march through the skies, whilst stars sing his praises, and planets dance in solemn order;
behold him traverse the unknown fields of ether till he arrives at the throne of God in the seventh heaven, Then
hear him say to his Father, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do; behold me and the children thou
hast given me; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course; I have done all; I have accomplished every
type; I have finished every part of the covenant; there is not one iota I have left unfulfilled, or one tittle that is left
out; all is done." And hark, how they sing before the throne of God when thus he speaks: "Thou hast made us
unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
Thus have I briefly spoken upon the dear Redeemer's doings. Poor lips cannot speak better; faint heart will
not rise up to the height of this great argument. Oh! that these lips had language eloquent and lofty, that they might
speak more of the wondrous doings of our Redeemer!
" Crown him! crown him!
Crowns become the Saviour's brow."
II. Now, secondly, THE SAINT'S HONORS: "and hast made us unto our God kings and priests." The most
honorable of all monarchs have ever been esteemed to be those who had a right not only to royal, but to
sacerdotal supremacythose kings who could wear at one time the crown of loyalty, and at another the mitre of
the priesthood, who could both use the censer and hold the sceptrewho could offer intercession for the people,
and then govern the nations. Those who are kings and priests are great indeed; and here you behold the saint
honored, not with one title, or one office, but with two. He is made not a king merely, but a king and a priest; not
a priest merely, but a priest and a king. The saint has two offices conferred upon him at once, he is made a
priestly monarch, and a regal priest.
I shall take, first of all, the royal office of the saints. They are KINGS. They are not merely to be kings in
heaven, but they are also kings on earth; for if my text does not say so, the Bible declares it in another passage:
"Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood." We are kings even now. I want you to understand that, before I
explain the idea. Every saint of the living God, not merely has the prospect of being a king in heaven, but
positively, in the sight of God, he is a king now; and he must say, with regard to his brethren and himself, "And
hast made us," even now, "unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign upon the earth." A Christian is a
king. He is not simply like a king, but he is a king, actually and truly. However, I shall try and show you how he is
like a king.
Remember his royal ancestry. What a fuss some people make about their grand fathers and grandmothers,
and distant ancestors. I remember seeing in Trinity College, the pedigree of some great lord that went back just as
far as Adam, and Adam was there digging the groundthe first man. It was traced all the way up. Of course I did
not believe it. I have heard of some pedigrees that go back further. I leave that to your own common sense, to
believe it or not. A pedigree in which shall be found dukes, marquises, and kings, and princes. Oh! what would
some give for such a pedigree? I believe, however, that it is not what our ancestors were, but what we are, that
will make us shine before God; that it is not so much in knowing that we have royal or priestly blood in our veins,
as knowing that we are an honor to our racethat we are walking in the ways of the Lord, and reflecting credit
upon the church, and upon the grace that makes us honorable. But since some men will glory in their descent, I
will glory that the saints have the proudest ancestry in all the world. Talk of Caesars, or of Alexanders, or tell me
even of our own good Queen: I say that I am of as high descent as her majesty, or the proudest monarch in the
world. I am descended from the King of kings. The saint may well speak of his ancestryhe may exult in it, he
may glory in itfor he is the son of God, positively and actually. His mother, the Church, is the Bride of Jesus; he
is a twice-born child of heaven: one of the blood royal of the universe. The poorest woman or man on earth,
loving Christ, is of a royal line. Give a man the grace of God in his heart, and his ancestry is noble. I can turn back
the roll of my pedigree, and I can tell you that it is so ancient, that it has no beginning; it is more ancient than all
the rolls of mighty men put together; for, from all eternity my Father existed: and, therefore, I have indeed a right
royal and ancient ancestry.
And then, again, the saints, like monarchs, have a splendid retinue. Kings and monarchs cannot travel
without a deal of state. In olden times, they had far more magnificence than they have now; but even in these days
we see much of it when royalty is abroad. There must be a peculiar kind of horse, and a splendid chariot, and
outriders; with all the etceteras of gorgeous pomp. Ay! and the kings of God, whom Jesus Christ has made kings
and priests unto their God, have also a royal retinue. "Oh!" say you, "but I see some of them in rags; they are
walking through the earth alone, sometimes without a helper or a friend." Ah! but there is a fault in your eyes. If
you had eyes to see, you would perceive a body-guard of angels always attending every one of the blood-bought
family. You remember Elijah's servant could not see anything around Elijah, till his master opened his eyes; then
he could see that there were horses and chariots round about Elijah. Lo! there are horses and chariots about me.
And thou, saint of the Lord: where'er thou art, there are horses and chariots. In that bed-chamber, where I was
born, angels stood to announce my birth on high. In seas of trouble, when wave after wave seems to go over me,
angels are there to lift up my head; when I come to die, when sorrowing friends shall, weeping, carry me to the
grave, angels shall stand by my bier; and, when put into the grave, some mighty angel shall stand and guard my
dust, and contend for its possession with the devil. Why should I fear? I have a company of angels about me; and
whenever I walk abroad, the glorious cherubim march in front. Men see them not, but I see them; for "faith is the
substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." We have a royal retinue: we are kings, not merely
by ancestry, but by our retinue.
Now, notice the insignia and regalia of the saints. Kings and princes have certain things that are theirs by
perspective right. For instance, Her Majesty has her Buckingham Palace, and her other palaces, her crown royal,
her sceptre, and so on. But, has a saint a palace? Yes. I have a palace! and its walls are not made of marble, but
of gold; its borders are carbuncles and precious gems; its windows are of agates; its stones are laid with fair
colours; around it there is a profusion of every costly thing; rubies sparkle here and there; yea, pearls are but
common stones within it. Some call it a mansion; but I have a right to call it a palace too, for I am a king. It is a
mansion when I look at God, it is a palace when I look at men; because it is the habitation of a prince. Mark
where this palace is. I am not a prince of IndeI have no inheritance in any far-off hand that men dream ofI
have no El Dorado, or Home of Prester John; but yet I have a substantial palace. Yonder, on the hills of heaven it
stands; I know not its position among the other mansions of heaven, but there it stands; and "I know that if the
earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the
Have Christians a crown too? O yes; but they do not wear it every day. They have a crown, but their
coronation day is not yet arrived. They have been anointed monarchs, they have some of the authority and dignity
of monarchs; but they are not crowned monarchs yet. But the crown is made. God will not have to order heaven's
goldsmiths to fashion it in after-time; it is made already hanging up in glory. God bath "laid up for me a crown of
righteousness." Oh, saint, if thou didst just open some secret door in heaven, and go into the treasure chamber,
thou wouldst see it filled with crowns. When Cortes entered the palace of Montezuma, he found a secret chamber
bricked up, and he thought the wealth of all the world was there, so many different things were there stowed
away. Could you enter God's secret treasure-house, what wealth would you see!" " Are there so many monarchs,"
you would say, "so many crowns, so many princes?" Yes, and some bright angel would say, "Mark you that
crown? It is yours;" and if you were to look within, you would read, "Made for a sinner saved by grace, whose
name was;" and then you would hardly believe your eyes, as you saw your own name engraved upon it. You
are indeed a king before God; for you have a crown laid up in heaven. What ever other insignia belong to
monarchs, saints shall have. They shall have robes of whiteness; they shall have harps of glory; they shall have all
things that become their regal state; so that we are indeed monarchs, you see; not mock-monarchs, clothed in
purple garments of derision, and scoffed at with "Hail, king of the Jews;" but we are real monarchs. "He hath
made us kings and priests unto our God."
There is another thought here. Kings are considered the most honorable amongst men. They are always
looked up to and respected. If you should say, "a monarch is here!" a crowd would give way. I should not
command much respect if I were to attempt to move about in a crowd; but if any one should shout, "here is the
Queen!" every one would step aside and make room for her. A monarch generally commands respect. Ah!
beloved, we think that worldly princes are the most honorable of the earth; but if you were to ask God, he would
reply, "my saints, in whom I delight, these are the honorable ones." Tell me not of tinsel and gewgaw; tell me not
of gold and silver; tell me not of diamonds and pearls; tell me not of ancestry and rank; preach to me not of pomp
and power; but oh! tell me that a man is a saint of the Lord, for then he is an honorable man. God respects him,
angels respect him, and the universe one day shall respect him, when Christ shall come to call him to his account,
and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lor
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