The Expository Files

The Priesthood of all Believers

1 Peter 2:5

A study of the New Testament reveals that all Christians are priests. Peter said, "...You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 2:5). Thus, all Christians are of that holy priesthood and can offer spiritual sacrifices to God. All have the right to go directly to God through Jesus Christ, our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).

Peter continued, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..." (1 Pet. 2:9). Rev. 1:5-6 says, "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever." Consequently, the New Testament repeatedly teaches that all Christians are priests. When one obeys the gospel of Christ, he is added to the body of Christ and is thereby part of God's holy priesthood. As priests, all can offer up spiritual sacrifices and draw nigh to God through the mediatorship of Jesus.

A sacrificing priesthood of men was appointed under the law of Moses, but the animal sacrifices offered by those priests were mere types and shadows of the one sacrifice made by Christ. By the one sacrifice made by Jesus, He put an end both to the Levitical priesthood and the Old Testament law. (See Heb. 7:23-25; Col. 2:14-17).

Jesus is now at the right hand of God and ever lives to make intercession for His people (Heb. 7:25; 9:24). Through the one sacrifice of Himself, He became the sole mediator through which men have access to God (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:26-27; 9:24-28; Eph. 2:18). He is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9).

There is no priesthood on earth that has the right to forbid each Christian from going directly to God through Christ, or to assume the authority to administer graces and obtain mercy for others. All Christians are of that royal priesthood of God, and have but one great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Heb. 10:19-22 says, "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."

By David J. Riggs
From Expository Files 6.6; June 1999