In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter uses the term “a royal priesthood” to describe those who, in “growing up in their salvation, have tasted that the Lord is good,” verse 3. So these are people who have personally experienced Jesus growing them up, chipping away at their imperfections, so they know something wonderful is happening to them.
And Peter tells us why it’s happening too, that like Jesus who was “chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood,” verses 4-5.
So God is building an extraordinary “house” – extraordinary because it’s being built out of “living stones,” the first and most precious of which is Jesus, “the living Stone” (verse 4).
And what was the purpose of this house of living stones? It was to create “a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God,” verse 4. We have this picture, then, of a ‘club house’ being built by God, the members of which make up his royal priesthood, all of whom have one goal and purpose, to offer “spiritual sacrifices.”
And Peter explains in verse 9 what these spiritual sacrifices are: they’re about “declaring the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” to make us into “the people of God” belonging to him now, not to the darkness we were in before – and purely because of his “mercy,” verse 10.
So God’s royal priesthood exists to make clear that this is God’s purpose for all human beings. He is lifting us out of floundering around in the darkness, not knowing anything about God or his mercy and love for us, to enter a whole new world where everything about him comes alive.
But how does this new world come alive? Because it can be seen in the “spiritual sacrifices” offered by members of the royal priesthood. They are “living stones” – “living such good lives among the pagans,” verse 12, that “they may see your good deeds and glorify God.”
Being a member of the royal priesthood, therefore, comes with the power to save others. Which is why we seek perfection in living as Jesus did, no matter how impossible it seems. Because that’s what gave him the power to save others (Hebrews 5:9).