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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“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.” -1 Peter 2:4-5

The failure to grasp clearly our God-given identity and purpose is a formidable foe, one with the capacity to hinder and hamstring consistent growth and faithfulness. Therefore, as believers, we must understand our corporate identity.

The apostle Peter understood this, consequently he regularly sought to remind his battered readers of their identity (1 Peter 1:14-16; 2:9-11; 2:21-25), so that they might persevere in faithfulness while enduring suffering and hardship. In this passage the apostle Peter unpacks a few distinguishing features of Christ’s church.

In verses 4-5, Peter reminds his readers that as they come to Christ, the Living Stone, they are simultaneously being incorporated into God’s grand building project. Verse 5 states we are “being built into a spiritual house.” But don’t picture four walls with a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom as in the typical house. Think temple. That is the image Peter has in mind (Mark 2:26; 11:17; John 2:16–17; cf. Acts 7:47). A temple is the place where God’s presence specially dwells. Though our Lord can be all places at one time, He is also said to dwell in particular places in a special and more immediate way.

So Peter is saying that, as we come to Him, we are being fashioned into the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. Notice the emphasis in this passage is not that we are individual temples. But rather that each of us represent a stone which together make up the spiritual house, with Christ our Lord standing as the most instrumental and important piece, the chief cornerstone.

God forms us into a spiritual house in order that we might be changed both in character and conduct. Verse 5 tells us we were made into a spiritual house in order that we might be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. This statement is significant, especially when considered against the backdrop of Israel’s checkered history. Israel possessed some honorable and upright priests. However much of the priesthood was marked by moral compromise and corruption. So much so, that in the time of Malachi the Lord exclaims “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand” (Malachi 1:10).

However, Peter speaks here of a new and glorious reality by virtue of the new covenant. Through this new covenant we are able to succeed where Israel failed and are made into a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6 cf Revelation 1:6; 5:10). Thus all of God’s people are made and empowered to be holy and to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ.

Brandon Brooks
Ministry Fellow at Harvard
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