2:1-10 Evil-speaking is a sign of malice and guile in the heart; and hinders our profiting by the word of God. A new life needs suitable food. Infants desire milk, and make the best endeavours for it which they are able to do; such must be a Christian's desires after the word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is very merciful to us miserable sinners; and he has a fulness of grace. But even the best of God's servants, in this life, have only a taste of the consolations of God. Christ is called a Stone, to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built. He is precious in the excellence of his nature, the dignity of his office, and the glory of his services. All true believers are a holy priesthood; sacred to God, serviceable to others, endowed with heavenly gifts and graces. But the most spiritual sacrifices of the best in prayer and praise are not acceptable, except through Jesus Christ. Christ is the chief Corner-stone, that unites the whole number of believers into one everlasting temple, and bears the weight of the whole fabric. Elected, or chosen, for a foundation that is everlasting. Precious beyond compare, by all that can give worth. To be built on Christ means, to believe in him; but in this many deceive themselves, they consider not what it is, nor the necessity of it, to partake of the salvation he has wrought. Though the frame of the world were falling to pieces, that man who is built on this foundation may hear it without fear. He shall not be confounded. The believing soul makes haste to Christ, but it never finds cause to hasten from him. All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world: of another spirit, principle, and practice; which they could never be, if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. Their first state is a state of gross darkness, but they are called out of darkness into a state of joy, pleasure, and prosperity; that they should show forth the praises of the Lord by their profession of his truth, and their good conduct. How vast their obligations to Him who has made them his people, and has shown mercy to them! To be without this mercy is a woful state, though a man have all worldly enjoyments. And there is nothing that so kindly works repentance, as right thoughts of the mercy and love of God. Let us not dare to abuse and affront the free grace of God, if we mean to be saved by it; but let all who would be found among those who obtain mercy, walk as his people.
5. Ye also, as lively stones—partaking of the name and life which is in "THE Living Stone" (1Pe 2:4; 1Co 3:11). Many names which belong to Christ in the singular are assigned to Christians in the plural. He is "THE Son," "High Priest," "King," "Lamb"; they, "sons," "priests," "kings," "sheep," "lambs." So the Shulamite called from Solomon [Bengel].
are built up—Greek, "are being built up," as in Eph 2:22. Not as Alford, "Be ye built up." Peter grounds his exhortations, 1Pe 2:2, 11, &c., on their conscious sense of their high privileges as living stones in the course of being built up into a spiritual house (that is, "the habitation of the Spirit").
priesthood—Christians are both the spiritual temple and the priests of the temple. There are two Greek words for "temple"; hieron (the sacred place), the whole building, including the courts wherein the sacrifice was killed; and naos (the dwelling, namely, of God), the inner shrine wherein God peculiarly manifested Himself, and where, in the holiest place, the blood of the slain sacrifice was presented before Him. All believers alike, and not merely ministers, are now the dwelling of God (and are called the "naos," Greek, not the hieron) and priests unto God (Re 1:6). The minister is not, like the Jewish priest (Greek, "hiercus"), admitted nearer to God than the people, but merely for order's sake leads the spiritual services of the people. Priest is the abbreviation of presbyter in the Church of England Prayer Book, not corresponding to the Aaronic priest (hiereus, who offered literal sacrifices). Christ is the only literal hiereus-priest in the New Testament through whom alone we may always draw near to God. Compare 1Pe 2:9, "a royal priesthood," that is, a body of priest-kings, such as was Melchisedec. The Spirit never, in New Testament, gives the name hiereus, or sacerdotal priest, to ministers of the Gospel.
holy—consecrated to God.
spiritual sacrifices—not the literal one of the mass, as the Romish self-styled disciples of Peter teach. Compare Isa 56:7, which compare with "acceptable to God" here; Ps 4:5; 50:14; 51:17, 19; Ho 14:2; Php 4:18. "Among spiritual sacrifices the first place belongs to the general oblation of ourselves. For never can we offer anything to God until we have offered ourselves (2Co 8:5) in sacrifice to Him. There follow afterwards prayers, giving of thanks, alms deeds, and all exercises of piety" [Calvin]. Christian houses of worship are never called temples because the temple was a place for sacrifice, which has no place in the Christian dispensation; the Christian temple is the congregation of spiritual worshippers. The synagogue (where reading of Scripture and prayer constituted the worship) was the model of the Christian house of worship (compare Note, see on Jas 2:2, Greek, "synagogue"; Ac 15:21). Our sacrifices are those of prayer, praise, and self-denying services in the cause of Christ (1Pe 2:9, end).
by Jesus Christ—as our mediating High Priest before God. Connect these words with "offer up." Christ is both precious Himself and makes us accepted [Bengel]. As the temple, so also the priesthood, is built on Christ (1Pe 2:4, 5) [Beza]. Imperfect as are our services, we are not with unbelieving timidity, which is close akin to refined self-righteousness, to doubt their acceptance THROUGH Christ. After extolling the dignity of Christians he goes back to Christ as the sole source of it.