One of the most prominent doctrines of evangelical and protestant churches is something called the priesthood of the believer. The doctrine is derived from a very important scripture: 1 Peter 2:5-9. Peter tells us in the beginning of that passage that those of us who are submitted to God through Christ are like living stones that are being built into a spiritual house. He goes on to argue that the purpose for that is for us to become a holy priesthood who will offer up spiritual sacrifices to God. In other words, we function together as both a temple, and as the priests who serve it.
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of that passage in regards to how it should be incorporated into the life of every believer. First, the passage demonstrates that there is now no need for anyone to see a human priest and have the word explained to them, or to have their sins absolved. If a person has submitted him or herself to God through Christ, then that person is a priest. Such a person will make himself a disciple and will study the word in conjunction with other followers. The holy spirit will then guide them in truth and knowledge, and bring them to repentance. They will approach Jesus, the only high priest, directly for absolution, and that high priest will make things right with the sacrifice that has already been made (Hebrews 4:14-16). Most people are happy to recognize the truth that a submitted Christian is a royal priest.
But there is a second portion of the argument that is often overlooked or forgotten. Priests do not exist solely for themselves. Peter tells us that our purpose as priests is to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God. This is an interesting point. Most of the sacrifices that Old Testament priests offered up were sacrifices that were brought to them by others. A new testament priest is to offer up spiritual sacrifices of his own accord. How does he do this? By living a life dedicated to advancing God’s kingdom. He will lead a life of being disciple, and a life of making disciples. He or she will intercede for people by sharing the truth with them. An Old Testament Priest only foreshadowed the high priest of Jesus. New Testament priests sacrifice themselves — like Jesus. Peter tells us that our lives are to be marked by declaring the praises of God who brought us out of darkness and into light (1 Peter 2:9). This is a hard, and trying, and joyous, and glorious sacrifice. And it is acceptable to God when people respond to that sacrifice, follow in your footsteps, submit themselves to God, and change their lives.
Are you engaging in your priestly duties? If not, why not?