In 1 Peter believers are represented as a Priesthood that 'offer spiritual sacrifices'. Assuming that they can't be for expiation as only Christ was worthy to offer his own soul for that (represented by animal blood in the OT) what sort of sacrifices are these?:

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (ESV, 1 Peter 2:4-5)

Note: I used a technical word that seems to require a definition.

Expiation definition

Guilt is said to be expiated when it is visited with punishment falling on a substitute. Expiation is made for our sins when they are punished not in ourselves but in another who consents to stand in our room. It is that by which reconciliation is effected. Sin is thus said to be "covered" by vicarious satisfaction. The cover or lid of the ark is termed in the LXX. hilasterion, that which covered or shut out the claims and demands of the law against the sins of God's people, whereby he became "propitious" to them. The idea of vicarious expiation runs through the whole Old Testament system of sacrifices. (Bible Dictionary)

  • Mike, after having read the question three times, I'm still wondering what is being asked here. However, as far as I can tell, Ezekiel said 'He will only take what you're willing to sacrifice', so there is no need to look for something best to offer, at least in the measure in which human beings can choice, but brute beasts not. Oct 5, 2013 at 10:04
  • Some Protestants many be unfamiliar with "expiratory," and no religious defs show upon first page of googling.
    – pterandon
    Oct 5, 2013 at 13:37
  • @pterandon - ya I did not realize I was asking a complicated question until I re-read it. I provided a definition. Good comment
    – Mike
    Oct 5, 2013 at 14:18
  • Sorry: knew about expiation, not is adjective: "expiratory."
    – pterandon
    Oct 6, 2013 at 11:38
  • Expiratory may have something to do with dying or exhaling, but expiatory is a religious property.
    – pterandon
    Oct 6, 2013 at 21:12

2 Answers 2


The best place to look for an answer to how Lutherans would view the 1 Peter passage on sacrifices is to look at the section on the Defense of the Augsburg Confession on sacrifice.

19] Moreover, the proximate species of sacrifice are two, and there are no more. One is the propitiatory sacrifice, i.e., a work which makes satisfaction for guilt and punishment, i.e., one that reconciles God, or appeases God's wrath, or which merits the remission of sins for others. The other species is the eucharistic sacrifice, which does not merit the remission of sins or reconciliation, but is rendered by those who have been reconciled, in order that we may give thanks or return gratitude for the remission of sins that has been received, or for other benefits received.

25] Now the rest are eucharistic sacrifices, which are called sacrifices of praise, Lev. 3:1f.; 7:11f.; Ps. 56:12f., namely, the preaching of the Gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the afflictions of saints, yea, all good works of saints. These sacrifices are not satisfactions for those making them, or applicable on behalf of others, so as to merit for these, ex opere operato, the remission of sins or reconciliation. For they are made by those who have been reconciled. 26] And such are the sacrifices of the New Testament, as Peter teaches, 1 Pet. 2:5: An holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices. Spiritual sacrifices, however, are contrasted not only with those of cattle, but even with human works offered ex opere operato, because spiritual refers to the movements of the Holy Ghost in us. Paul teaches the same thing Rom. 12:1: Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, which is your reasonable service. Reasonable service signifies, however, a service in which God is known, and apprehended by the mind, as happens in the movements of fear and trust towards God. Therefore it is opposed not only to the Levitical service, in which cattle are slain, but also to a service in which a work is imagined to be offered ex opere operato, The Epistle to the Hebrews 13:15, teaches the same thing: By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; and he adds the interpretation, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. He bids us offer praises, i.e., prayer, thanksgiving, confession, and the like. These avail not ex opere operato, but on account of faith. This is taught by the clause: By Him let us offer, i.e., by faith in Christ.

  • ya I think the sacrifice of praise is heading down the right track
    – Mike
    Oct 6, 2013 at 12:55

As I understand your question, you seem to be confused about orders in the priesthood and if one priest is more qualified than another to offer Sacrifice. As I read the book of Exodus and Leviticus, God only had Moses divide the priesthood into two sections, that of a priest and that of a High priest. As far as I can determine from Moses writing the only difference between the two is that the High Priest only could enter into the presence of God(the Holy of Holies in which was the Mercy seat).

There were differences in the functions of the priest, but all had a part, that is a different function in the ceremony of sacrifice.

Your question assumes that you or another, can present an acceptable sacrifice to God. As far as sin is concerned no other sacrifice is needed, or can be offered since that sacrifice requires a sinless offering. Only Jesus could have and did be that offering.

As far a sacrifice for sin Goes, I refer you to the following Scriptures.

Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Hebrews 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

There is only one other sacrifice in the new Testament that we have the opportunity to offer.

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

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