1Pet. 2:9 ¶ 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;
One of the most radical tenets of the Protestant reformation is called the priesthood of the believer. Before the reformers began to proclaim this powerful message, the church had lapsed into spiritual darkness. With no proclamation of the righteousness of God that is received as a gift by faith, man had settled for a system of works to try to approach the Holy God. Because of his guilt ridden conscience, man had instituted another priesthood to mediate between him and God. As Martin Luther and others began to preach the righteousness of God that could be received as a gift by grace this error, based on human effort, began to be exposed. Luther taught the liberating message of the priesthood of all Christians. He was saying that because of the shed blood of Jesus that He was Himself our mediator and we could all approach God, without an earthly priest, by faith in the offering of Christ. Here is something Luther said of the privilege of being a priest unto God.
“Nor are we only kings and the freest of all men, but also priests for ever, a dignity far higher than kingship, because by that priesthood we are worthy to appear before God, to pray for others, and to teach one another mutually the things which are of God. For these are the duties of priests, and they cannot possibly be permitted to any unbeliever. Christ has obtained for us this favour, if we believe in Him: that just as we are His brethren and co-heirs and fellow-kings with Him, so we should be also fellow-priests with Him, and venture with confidence, through the spirit of faith, to come into the presence of God, and cry, “Abba, Father!” and to pray for one another, and to do all things which we see done and figured in the visible and corporeal office of priesthood.”
What a powerful, life changing truth. First, I can appear before God without sin, shame, or even a blemish. I stand before God on the basis of the holiness and righteousness of Christ Himself, this is the foundation of what Luther preached that changed western civilization and is reverberating today in every continent around the world. We are priests unto God. We can worship and enjoy Him freely and completely, we are acceptable before Him. Secondly, this priesthood that has been given to us qualifies us to speak to this world on His behalf. The second ministry of a priest is to the lost of this world. As the root meaning of the word priest implies, we are a bridge between God and this world. This is the blessed life we have been called to, we minister to Him and drink deeply of His goodness. From there we pour out to whosoever will.