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The Priesthood

of Believers

In its Relation to Inner Mission Work or

Christian Social Service

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By
REV. G. H. GERBERDING, D.D., LL.D.

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Published by

THE INNER MISSION BOARD
OF THE UNITED LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA

828.5 6,327

The Priesthood of Believers In Its Relation to Inner Mission Work or Christian

Borial Berpice

I.

The Doctrine. This grows out of and is based on the Priesthood of Christ Jesus. The Priesthood of Christ was a completion and fulfilment of the Priesthood of the Old Testament. Besides many other Scripture passages we have all this brought out and explained in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Man had broken God's law. For this God was angry, as He is indeed angry with the impenitent, wilful sinner every day. By his sin man had barred himself out from the presence of God. He could no longer approach God. Left to himself man would have been separated from God forever. Man could never have bridged the gulf of separation. Man would have been eternally a lost and condemned creature.

But God provided a way of escape, a way of salvation. Man could not and would not approach God. But God approached man. He called him and promised him a Redeemer.

He began a long and patient training of mankind for redemption. Man had to learn how needy and helpless and guilty he is. To teach him this, to bring about in him penitence for sin and an earnest longing for deliverance from its guilt, its penalty and its power, to awaken an unshaken and abiding trust in the promise of deliverance, this was the purpose of the patient pedagogy of God. The whole Old Testament dispensation was the setting forth and carrying forward of this divine pedagogy.

Man was too sinful and rebellious to draw near to God. His guilt filled him full of fear and foreboding. He needed God but he could not approach Him. Wherewithal should he come?

God provided a sacrificial cult, a priesthood with sacrifices. The guiltless animal victim was to substitute the guilty sinner. The priest, with the victim's blood, was the mediator between the offended God and the offending sinner. With the sacrifice of expiation the priest brought to God the confessions and prayers of the people. And so the priest with his sacrifice and intercession was the daysman, the advocate, the mediator between the people and God. This was the old Tustament Priesthood and its meaning. Through it God was teaching.

The Old Testament priest, with his offering, typified and foreshadowed Christ. Every expiatory sacrifice offered on an Old Testament altar was a finger pointing forward to the coming Christ and His sacrifice of Himself for the sin of the world. And in Him the whole sacrificial cult, with all its pedagogy, from Abel's sacrifice down through the old covenant centuries, was fulfilled:

"But Christ having come as a high Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say not of this creation; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own Blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained an eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to worship the living God." Heb. 9: 11-14.

Through Christ the throne of Judgment has become a throne of Grace. The veil has been rent. The way to the Holy of Holies is open. We need neither sacrificing priest nor offering of atone

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