Writing to believers, Peter urges: “Let yourselves be built as a spiritual temple” (1 Pe 2:5). He leads up to this beginning his letter by blessing God for His work of salvation that culminates with receiving the inheritance stored up for us in heaven (1 Pe 1:4; Mt 25:34). Peter continues with a call to be holy (1 Pe 1:13-21).
He concludes Chapter 1: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Pe 1:22-25 NKJV).
The word of the Lord is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16b-17 NASB). Here, training in righteousness in particular, Peter urges us to lay aside sins of discord. We experience these sins levied against us in the world and even in church. Sometimes we practice them ourselves. In America, all of the following sins are politically correct and predominant in our culture. We are to put them off and instead desire the pure milk of the word. Thus, to grow up.
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Peter 2:1-3 KJV
New born babes desire their mothers milk and insist on it. In that vein, Peter writes,: “Surely you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” ”Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the person who trusts in him” (Ps 34:8 ISV)!
Now Peter presents his picture of a spiritual temple.
Come to Him. He is the living Stone whom men rejected but God selected as precious. You also, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual temple, to be holy priests who bring spiritual sacrifices that God gladly accepts through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5 AAT
The Lord, Jesus, Christ, is the living Stone. Ref. Ps 118:22; Is 28:14-22; 1 Cor 3:10-15 Man rejected Him. Some went so far in their rejection that they instigated His crucifixion. But God selected this living stone as precious—held in honor. We also are living stones being build into a spiritual temple.
“Temple” is a kingdom word that draws our attention to the real things in Messiah Jesus. God’s temple building plan overcame prejudice and animosity between believing Jews and Gentiles, the circumcised and the uncircumcised and brought them into spiritual union Paul called a holy temple in the Lord, God’s home in the Spirit.
Remember then, physically you once were Gentiles, and those who call themselves “circumcised” (which is physical and done by human hands) called you “uncircumcised.” You were then without the Messiah, excluded from being citizens of Israel and strangers to the covenants that had the promise. You had no hope or God in the world.
Once you were far away, but now in Messiah Jesus the blood of the Messiah has brought you near. He is our Shalom: In His flesh He has made the Jew and the non-Jew one by breaking down the wall of enmity that kept them apart and by putting away the Law with its rules and regulations, in order to make the Jew and the non-Jew in Himself one new man (so making peace/shalom) and to make both in one body friends with God by His cross, on which He killed the enmity. And He came with the good news of peace/shalom to you who were far away and to us who were near, since by one Spirit He enables both to come to one Father.
Then you are no longer foreigners or strangers but fellow citizens, a part of God’s holy people and members of His family. You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone. In Him the whole building is fitted together and grows to be a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you too are built up with the others to be God’s home in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:11-22 AAT
In the Old Testament Israel, the temple was a physical building. In the kingdom of God we together are a spiritual temple. God has made us what we are. In Messiah Jesus, He made us a new spiritual order of creation. Paul tells us in Messiah Jesus he made us fellow citizens of the kingdom, a part of God’s holy people and members of His family. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and Messiah Jesus is the Cornerstone. In Messiah Jesus we are fitted together and grow to be a holy temple in the Lord.
In that setting, we are being built … to be holy priests who bring spiritual sacrifices that God gladly accepts through Jesus Christ
In the Old Testament, priests were of the house of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi (Heb. 5:1). They offered the blood of bulls and goats “which can’t make the worshiper feel perfect in his conscience” (Heb 9:9). “But now Christ has made his appearance, a high priest concerned with blessings already won.” The blood of Christ is the sacrifice that has cleansed our conscience so we can turn our backs on futile actions and “instead give ourselves up to the service of the living God.”
But now Christ has made his appearance, a high priest concerned with blessings already won. The tabernacle of which he made use was the greater and more perfect one, the tabernacle not fashioned by any human hand, that is to say, the one which does not belong to this order of creation at all. Moreover, if he has entered the sanctuary once and for all, securing a deliverance which lasts forever, it was his own blood, not that of goats and calves, which was his means of accomplishing this. And indeed, if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled upon those who have suffered defilement hallows them, so as to restore their outward purity, how much more effective will be the blood of Christ, who, by virtue of the eternal spirit which was his, offered himself up to God, as a sacrifice free from all blemish; how much more effective, I say, will be Christ’s blood in cleansing our conscience, so that we turn our backs on actions without any life in them and instead give ourselves up to the service of the living God. Hebrews 9:11-14 Cassirer
And He is the Mediator of a now covenant. By dying He paid the ransom to free people from the sins under the first covenant, and those who are called are to get the everlasting inheritance promised them. Hebrews 9:15 AAT
The spiritual sacrifices we offer as holy priests are summed up by Peter in verses 9 -10 you will find further down and by Paul here in Romans 12.
I appeal to you fellow Christians, by the mercies of God, to give your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, and so worship Him as thinking beings. Don’t live like this world, but let yourselves be transformed by a renewing of your minds so you can test and be sure what God wants, what is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 AAT
Christ Jesus is the Cornerstone of a spiritual temple
The Bible says: I am laying in Zion a Cornerstone, chosen and precious, and if you believe in Him, you’ll never be disappointed. He is precious to you who believe, but to those who do not believe He is the Stone which, rejected by the builders, has become the Cornerstone, as the Stone they stumble over and a Rock they fall over. When they disobey the Word, they stumble over it; that’s the end appointed for them. 1 Peter 2:6-8 AAT Ref. Isa 28:16, Ps 118:22, Is 8:14
As believers, the living Stone, Jesus Christ, the Rock of Salvation, is preciousness. We partake of the wonderful value of this Stone and will never be disappointed in Him. To those who do not believe, He is the Stone they stumble over and a Rock they fall over.
This was illustrated by a healing that brought trouble. Shortly after the Holy Spirit was poured out, Peter was moved to bring healing to certain man lame from his mother’s womb. “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6 KJV). The lame man was healed. “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8). That stirred up the religious leaders of the Jews. The had Peter arrested. The next day, they asked: “By what power or name did you do this?”
Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. “Rulers of the people and elders,” he said to them, “if we’re questioned today about helping a cripple, how he was made well, all of you and all the people of Israel should know this man stands healthy before you by the name of Jesus the Messiah from Nazareth, whom you crucified but God raised from the dead. He is the Stone rejected by you builders and has become the Cornerstone. No one else can save us, because in all the world there is only one name given us by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:8-12 AAT
God did not reject the people of Israel, only those who rejected Messiah Jesus (Acts 5:29-32, Ro 9). Jesus the Messiah, was rejected by the builders, the religious leaders of the Jews. God chose this Stone, scorned and despised by man, as a most precious stone, the Cornerstone of the spiritual temple.
You are a chosen people, priests of a King, a holy nation.
But you are a chosen people, priests of a King, a holy nation, a people saved to be His own and to tell of the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had received no mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 AAT
As the worldwide community of the King, we are chosen people, priests of a King and a holy nation. We are God’s people of the new covenant, being built into a spiritual temple. God saved to be His own and to tell of the wonderful deeds of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
One of the main ways we tell of His wonderful deeds is by living a noble life, as Peter exhorts.
Dear friends, I urge you, as guests and strangers in the world: Refuse to do what the body wants, because its appetites fight against the soul. Live a noble life among the people of the world, that instead of accusing you of doing wrong, they may see the good you do and glorify God when He visits them. 1 Peter 2:11-12 AAT