Over 500 years ago, Martin Luther planted the seeds of a Reformation that swept through the Church, transforming it and profoundly affecting the course of Western Civilization. One of the seminal doctrines introduced by the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers. The job of studying and teaching the Scriptures, of representing a Holy God before sinful men, and approaching God through Christ was no longer the exclusive domain of the professional clergy, but of every believer.
- 1 Peter 2:5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The modern evangelical church has taken no priestly function more seriously than the injunction for every believer to preach the gospel—known to us as the Great Commission. I believe the Holy Spirit is now in the process of completing what He began through Luther over 500 years ago. Not only is every believer to preach the gospel, every believer is to do the works that Christ did, including miraculous works as confirmation of the gospel. I am not referring to the manifestation of the gift of healing here, which is clearly not given to every believer. I am referring to the fact of physical healing in the atonement.
- Matthew 8:16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”
- Isaiah 53:4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
These Scriptures clearly show that the atonement which Christ accomplished for us when he died on the cross purchased for us physical healing and deliverance, as well as the greatest benefit of peace with God. When a believer preaches the atonement, both physical healing and forgiveness of sins is available. It is one package. God is perfecting the priesthood of believers, He is restoring His saints into the image of His Son Jesus Christ—not only in terms of his holy character, but also his power and authority for the preaching of the gospel.