[u]Saved to the Uttermost![/u]
The priestliness we are called to is eternal. It is written into our life. We are part and parcel of it, being caught up into the High Priest. We are one with Him, which means that everything has got to be sanctified. This priestliness is meant to enter and permeate every aspect of our life, even the most mundane. In fact, it is in the most mundane places that it is the most precious. The most ordinary things become holy. The whole of life becomes a sacrament. Eating is no longer a gastronomic activity. Sex is not just getting your relief. We dare not approach our bedrooms, our kitchens, our chance conversations without feeling that sanctifying affect of this High Priest, whom we have put on. There is no longer trivial, careless talk. Everything is significant, consecrated, having an eternal weight of glory. It is a transfiguration of life itself by bringing into it a heavenly dimension.
This is true priestliness, and one can measure the absence of it by the absence of a real knowledge of resurrection life. The two are intimately linked together. Ours is not a physical heritage like that of Aaron's, but a spiritual heritage by virtue of entering into resurrection life. We cannot alter or tailor the priestly garments to suit ourselves. There was one high-priestly garment for Aaron, and it is not cut down to accommodate the measure of men. Aaron's successors had to grow into it, and so is it also for us today. There is one holy garment, one holy Melchizedek Priest to put on, and we must grow up into Him. To do less, and to minister out of anything other than the resurrection life, is to fall short of priestly ministry. Anyone with discernment should recognize the difference. The burdens that inhere in this priesthood are far greater, and the demands are more drastic than the Levitical priesthood, but the power to meet and to fulfill them is likewise greater. To put this garment on is to put on resurrection life. We have heard good messages, good teachings and good ministry, but there is a difference between that which is good and that which is empowered by "life out of death." Without death there is no resurrection life. Without entering into that death in waiting, humiliation, obedience and consecration, there is no entering into the life and calling of the High Priest.
It is better that we remain insensitive and unmoved, and be willing to wait for those burdens that come as expressions out of the indestructible Life from heaven, rather than fashion burdens for ourselves out of guilt, or our own ideas of what is appropriate and spiritual. Such self-wrought and convenient burdens will burst like a bubble when the first challenge and the first pressure and need to sacrifice self-interest touches them. The burden must come from the indestructible, resurrection Life of the King of Righteousness in heaven. It must come from the Life of the True Priest, who neither has, or desires, any earthly inheritance, who is not bound to earth and upon whom nothing of this world has a grip and a hold. When we put on this priestly garment, fastened on with cords that ascend to heaven, we are bound to heavenly realities, and not to the constraints of this earth.
Jesus is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. He is able, therefore, to save to the uttermost, completely, perfectly and eternally all those who draw near to God through Him. We need more of this kind of salvation and far less of the shabby kind that produces countless tens of thousands who are called 'saved' but who are not 'converted.' Those whose lives are one long struggle to make it for God, and who are trying to hang on until the end to find at least a little niche in heaven, have surely not been brought to salvation by a Melchizedek priest, because one brought to God through him is saved to the uttermost!
We need more of this 'uttermost' salvation and less pre-packaged evangelistic techniques. We need more priests bringing the conviction and mercy of God down from His throne in heaven, and less well-meaning men bringing their own devices and systems out from their own heads. We need more lifting up of God and less pandering to man's self-interest. We need to stop appealing to men on the basis of all the benefits that will accrue to them if they would only 'accept' Jesus. A true priest would gag and choke on such terminology and egocentric appeals, based on benefits to self for 'accepting' Jesus. He would be repulsed by it, because it is a contradiction in terms. It is not salvation in the Biblical sense of the word. True salvation is to be saved out of oneself, and to be saved out of oneself is to be saved to the uttermost. How can we bring men to true salvation when we ourselves have not been truly converted, when we ourselves are still bound in self-interest, when we have not experienced the exchange of our old fleshly life for the resurrection life? God's Holy Seed is meant to reproduce itself after its own kind, but all around us we see reproduced the image of ourselves, our incompleteness and carnality. We need more priests to be the instruments of the salvation of men on the basis of the power of the indestructible life, and not on the basis of their own ideas, sentiments or soulish appeals. These things are so desperately needed upon earth, because men are perishing, even while they are living. Our mental breakdowns and emotional disorders, ulcers and cancers are more often than not derived from lives that are lived in unreality. The body was not designed by God to live in untruth. Heaven is reality and righteousness, and we are called to be the priests of that reality.
-Art Katz from [i]Apostolic Foundations[/i]