A Spiritual House (Chapter 2 Verses 1-10)
The Apostle continues his thought of living (vv4-10). We are reborn (1.3), as infants in Christ we grow up (2.2). As we so we more and more realise God’s purpose in service for us. What does it matter if an unholy world comes to us with its hatred, persecution, and causing us all sorts of grievous trials (1.6). What are these in comparison to our heavenly standing and priestly duties before God? Here is a picture of what a Church is. Some people have mistaken the Church for bricks and mortar, a building where people meet and do religious things. No, here it is, living stones (v4), how did they become living stones? Coming to him, Jesus, and keeping coming to him, how did they come to him, because they were chosen by him (v4). O yes, rejected by the world but very, very precious to God (v1-2). A Church is a gathering of people who have been lifed by God, if there is no spiritual life there is no Church there. Now others think of the Church differently, they rightly assume it is a body of people. But where they go wrong is, they think that all these people just sit in rows of seats while one man, albeit a clergyman, conducts a religious meeting, while the gathering just sits and listens, non- participative. Well again that is not the Church. Here Peter lays before us the royal priesthood of all believers, buried in pre-reformation times, re-discovered by Luther and the reformers, but never really fully developed. It has begun to in recent years, many churches were forced to address this issue with the advent of the Charismatic Movement. They have done more to resurrect and develop it than many would care to admit in Reformed evangelicalism.
These living stones have a function (v5). Firstly they are to allow themselves to be built into a spiritual house, again community. This means allowing other believers to function as priests within the community, ministering to one another in love. It means allowing people to receive and develop their spiritual gifting, it means allowing them yes, sometimes even to make mistakes in order that the building process may continue. Within this community this priesthood of believers are to offer spiritual sacrifices, not just one person, all of them. The sacrifices of a broken heart expressed in repentance, the sacrifice of praise, expressed in thankfulness to the Lord of love, salvation, life and victory. These offerings are many. But here is a body of people all functioning together, very much participants. Christian worship is not a spectator sport. Where body-expression is suppressed, so is the growth, and life of the body.
(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)