Jesus = The Cornerstone; Us = We are a Spiritual House/Priests
“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. For it stands in Scripture:
‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ (1 Peter 2:5-6)
Peter is quoting from Isaiah 28. Isaiah prophesied that a Messiah would come whose life and ministry would be like a cornerstone, chosen and precious. The living stone is also the cornerstone of a great house and we, the living stones, make up the house. Peter mixes the metaphors here, but I think we can understand this. He is using building material imagery (stones, cornerstone) to describe a spiritual reality.
If you enjoy The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, this will be easy for you. Why? They often refer to people groups as the house of somebody. So you have the house of Rohan which refers both to the name of the royal family and all the people in that kingdom. The house of Gondor is another kingdom in Middle Earth. The house of Gondor is a house but it’s not made of brick and stone; the house is people who make up the kingdom and serve in the kingdom.
Those are fictional houses; this passage describes a real house. The house of Jesus Christ is not made with brick and mortar. It is made up of all who put their faith in Jesus as the cornerstone of their faith and hope.
“William Barclay recounts a story…about a Spartan king boasting to a visiting monarch about the walls of Sparta. As the visiting king looked around, he could see no walled city and asked, ‘Where are the renowned walls of Sparta?’ The Spartan king pointed to his army and replied, ‘These are the walls of Sparta, every man a brick.’” (Karen Jobes, 1 Peter, p. 149.)
“To be a holy priesthood…” (Verse 5) We are priests in this house. How so? In the Old Testament, a priest would offer sacrifices in the temple. He represented the people to God. But in the New Covenant, we don’t go through any man to have access to God. We are the priests. We have direct access to God which Jesus provides for us. Perhaps you have heard the theological phrase, the priesthood of all believers. Here is one of its best proof-texts.
“To offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (Verse 5) What sacrifices do we offer? Not bulls or goats. Here are some passages that describe our sacrifices (Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, p. 101):
- Offering of our bodies to God for his service (Romans 12:1)
- The giving of gifts to enable the spread of the gospel (Philippians 4:18)
- The singing of praise (Hebrews 13:15)
- Doing of good and sharing our possessions (Hebrews 13:16)
Grudem adds that this varied list indicates that anything we do in service to God can be thought of as a “spiritual sacrifice.”
This is an exciting truth for us. Everything good and holy can be offered as worship. All of it part of our priestly service to God “acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (Verse 5) Our vocations, our giving, our time, our words, all of it like lambs on the Old Testament altar, offerings to God.
If you are a Christian, you are a priest. The issue is whether or not you are a good one. What are you offering to him? How are you serving him? How might the quality of your service improve if you saw each category of your life as a daily offering to God?
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2015 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here