1 Peter 2.4-5
“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.”
We read last week in Ephesians 2 that the followers of Jesus are “a holy temple in the Lord” and “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” The 1 Peter passage above expands on this truth and further clarifies the unique character of the Church.
The Old Testament law had three key elements to it: the temple, the priesthood, and the sacrifices. 1 Peter 2.5 teaches us that Jesus Christ has made Christians—the Body of Christ, the Church—all three of those elements.
We are living stones built into a spiritual house.
Just as there was a temple under the old covenant, so there is a temple under the new covenant. We are that temple. We are “living stones being built up as a spiritual house.” As we saw in yesterday’s devotional, we are a “dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Press pause and let the enormity of that reality settle in.)
Note also that Jesus was the first “living stone” (see Isaiah 28.16 and Psalm 118.22), and through his presence in our lives empowers a process of spiritual growth and development, both individually and collectively. Jesus is the builder of this spiritual house, the church. He is shaping us.
We are a holy priesthood.
In addition to being living stones whom the Lord is shaping into a spiritual house for God’s habitation, we are also a “holy priesthood.” The church is a people, not a place, and the Lord has made every Christian a holy priest in the community of the King. We are not called to be passive recipients of liturgy, rituals, and ceremonies. We are called to be active participants and agents of the church’s worship, ministry, and action in the world. Every Christian. This is the great truth of the “priesthood of all believers.”
We are living and spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ.
By virtue of our redeemed relationship with Jesus, we are continuously offered as living and spiritual sacrifices to God. The sacrifices we offer are transformed lives that bear the fruit of the Spirit.
More tomorrow on what it means to be a spiritual sacrifice …
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2.9)