The Priesthood of All Believers, Part 2

Part 2 – Offering Spiritual Sacrifices

According to what we read in 1 Peter 2, we are a community of priests offering spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God. What kinds of sacrifices is Peter talking about? Let’s look at four places in the New Testament where this idea appears:

Romans 12:1-2 – the offering of our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God.

Philippians 4:18 – speaks about the sacrifice of giving.

Hebrews 13:15 – speaks about the sacrifice of praise.

Hebrews 13:16 – speaks about sacrifices of good deeds and sharing. And that’s where this ties in with Romans 12.

Part 3 – Spiritual Gifts and the Priesthood of All Believers

Look back at Romans 12:3-8. It is our privilege and responsibility to minister to each other’s needs according to the way that God has uniquely gifted us. As I said last week, no one is exempt. Rather, we are to acknowledge that, as part of the body, as part of the fellowship of believers, we are to see ourselves as ministers of God.


- We don’t need a human priest to mediate between God and us the work of Christ, our great High Priest, gives us access to God (Hebrews 10:19-22).

- We don’t need a priest to interpret the Bible to us. John writes in 1 John 2:27 – “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you.” That does not invalidate the need for pastors and teachers and elders who teach and guard the flock. God has gifted people to teach His Word. Nor does it mean that each person can decide for himself or herself what the Bible is saying (as if it means different things to different people). What it does mean is that you as a Christian person are capable of understanding truth because God’s Spirit lives in you and teaches you.

- We don’t need a priest to do the work of ministry. That is assigned to all of us. The gifts belong to the body, not a super-spiritual subset of the body. Some of us function vocationally in ministry responsibilities, but all we are all ministers. That means that while it is appropriate for pastors and elders to visit the sick and care for people’s needs, any of you can perform the same spiritual function. My prayers are no more or less effective than your prayers. Many of you are just as capable if not more so of providing counsel and direction. That’s why Paul says later in Romans (15:14) that “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.” That word instruct means warn, admonish, exhort, counsel.

Catch this too – when the writer of Hebrews tells us that we have full and complete access to God on our own, he tells us to do two things. Look at Hebrews 10:23-25:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Ministry. Believers helping other believers grow toward godliness.

Responding to God’s Word – Your Place in the Priesthood of All Believers

What is the best way to respond to what God says in his Word about our status as priests and ministers to each other?

One response would be gratitude. This is a doctrine that people died for.[1] I am not saying this to inspire guilt or pity, as our parents may have done when they got us to eat our vegetables by reminding us of all of the starving children in the world. But certainly those who died to provide us with the heritage that we have cannot be treated with indifference.

Another response would be prayer. Prayer for what? Prayer that the church would be the church. We should pray that what Paul says about God’s intent for the church would be a reality.

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." (Ephesians 4:11-16, ESV)

[1]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1988). Be what you are : 12 intriguing pictures of the Christian from the New Testament (67). Wheaton IL: Tyndale House. “The priesthood of the believer is a precious article of the Christian faith, the defense of which has cost many a life.”