1 Peter 2:4-6
To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
A Jew, writing to Jews, very naturally made use of language and of metaphors based upon the usages and practices of the Jewish religion. Peter knew well that the temple offices and observances, the building and its purposes, to which he here referred, had all their meaning in their relation to the Savior in whom he and his fellow-Christians believed, in their relation to the gospel which he preached.
I. CHRISTIANS ARE THE MATERIAL OF THE TRUE AND SPIRITUAL TEMPLE.
1. They are built in and upon the divinely chosen Cornerstone - Christ himself. Cephas, Peter, "the rock," thus witnesses to the Rock of Ages, whose perfect qualifications to occupy this position were well known to the apostle who enjoyed his intimacy and friendship. His nature, his character, his mediatorial work, all concurred to fit our Lord to be the Support, the uniting and central Force, of the spiritual edifice. None other could have constituted the living unity; none other could have served as the Cornerstone, and at the same time the Foundation-stone, of the new humanity.
2. They are individually living stones; in this differing from the fair and costly masonry employed in the temple at Jerusalem. An intimation this of the dignity of each Christian's vocation, who has his own place to fill, his own work to do, in the spiritual sanctuary; and at the same time a summons to that life, that conscious and voluntary fulfillment of service, which distinguishes the living from the lifeless material.
3. They constitute in concert the "spiritual house," which is the glory of the "new dispensation;" the idea of which is in the mind of the Divine Architect, and which is gradually being brought to realization and perfection under his superintendence, and through the concurrence of those who can only very partially comprehend the bearing of their life upon the glorious whole which is in due time to be consummated. The whole edifice is based by faith upon Christ; the several stones are cemented by mutual love.
II. CHRISTIANS ARE THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE TRUE AND SPIRITUAL TEMPLE.
1. This is asserted of the whole body of the faithful. There are indeed special ministries in the Church - bishops, presbyters, deacons, etc.; but there is one general ministry to which all Christians are called, and that is the priesthood.
2. The character of this priesthood is stamped as "holy." From the Book of Leviticus and other parts of the Old Testament we learn what were the marks of the Hebrew priesthood - their descent, their equipment, their qualifications, their office. But the one all-pervading idea in these regulations was the inculcation of "holiness unto the Lord." Under the new covenant the holiness prescribed is holiness of spirit and of life; not merely purity of vesture, separateness of function, etc.
3. The office of this priesthood is specified: spiritual sacrifices are to be offered. What these are is not here specified, but other passages of New Testament Scripture leave us in no doubt upon this; the Christian sacrifices are comprehended under these two headings - obedience and praise.
4. The acceptance of such service is assured through the intercession of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Thus the apostle, at the expense of combining metaphors scarcely consistent, sets forth more fully the dignity and the duty, the fellowship and the happiness, belonging to all those who are faithful and consecrated members of the living Church of Christ. - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,