“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5, AV)
One of the technical jobs that I thought would be neat was to be an architect. I have always enjoyed looking at building architecture and seeing some of the beautiful innovations. There have been many styles throughout history. One of the great American architects was Frank Lloyd Wright. Once, while on a business trip in Arizona, I had an opportunity to see one of the homes he built from the outside. It was magnificent. On another occasion I was invited to a meal in one of his places while attending a trade association in Chicago. His designs were unique, innovative, and beautiful. Moreover, each one had a purpose.
Peter here spoke of believers as “living stones.” He stated that believers as “lively stones are being built up a spiritual house.” This house is the church, which is the complete assembly of true believers. He went on to describe this assembly as a “holy priesthood.” All believers have been made priests of God. The allusion here goes back to the Old Testament priesthood. The priests had a privileged position in Israel for they ministered for God by serving and offering sacrifices. The requirements for them to do this work was that they would be ceremonially cleansed from the defilement of the world.
Peter tells us that we are priests and that we fulfill the requirement of being holy so that we may accomplish priestly duties. You might ask, “How have we become holy?” It is through the shed blood of Jesus that has cleansed us from the defilement of sin (1 John 1:7). We have been made acceptable through the work of Jesus Christ who offered Himself as the propitiating sacrifice for our sin (1 John 2:2). Moreover, as holy priests, we have direct access to the Father through our Great High Priest, Jesus (Heb 8:1-3), and His shed blood (Heb 10:19).
So, what are our duties? Peter stated that we are to offer up “spiritual sacrifices.” First, we are to offer up our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1). This refers to the idea of forsaking our own fleshly lusts and offering our lives completely to God for His glorious purposes. It requires that believers seek God and His righteousness with a whole heart.
Second, it involves praising and glorifying God in a corrupt world. As previously mentioned, we do glorify God when we live out the transformed life, pursuing holy and righteous living. This involves letting the light of Christ in us be seen in good works Matt 5:16). Yet, there is also a verbal aspect of this work. It is that of giving praise to God. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “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” (Hebrews 13:15, AV). I am afraid that in this world, we who are believers spend too little time giving thanks and praise to God from whom all blessings flow.
Let us consider our privileged position as holy priests unto God. With such a high position, we should even more seek to be the living sacrifice, glorifying God through our lives and the verbal praise befitting our high calling.