The Spiritual House

I. Base Text: 1 Peter 2:4-10

II. Understanding the Text
A. Background
1. 1 Peter 1:1-9: great encouragement in the midst of trial--
hope of the Christian based in the resurrection, salvation
ready for the final day
2. 1 Peter 1:10-12: Great value of salvation, desire of angels
to investigate it
3. 1 Peter 1:13-21: first application: set hope fully on grace,
be holy in conduct, conduct self with fear throughout life,
ransomed by blood of Christ
4. 1 Peter 1:22-25: second application: having been purified
through obedience, love earnestly from a pure heart, having
been born again by the imperishable Word of God, the Gospel
5. 1 Peter 2:1-3: Put away wickedness, grow up into salvation
through pure spiritual milk of Word, if you have tasted that
the Lord is good
B. The Spiritual House (1 Peter 2:4-5)
1. Peter begins by making the statement for which he will then
make his argument
2. "As we come to Jesus"-- initial obedience, growth in faith
(Romans 8:29, 1 Peter 1:17-25)
3. Jesus the "living stone," "rejected by men," "chosen and
precious" in God's eyes
a. John 1:9-11, Matthew 16:16-19
b. This idea fleshed out in later verses (vv. 6-7)
4. Peter, of all people, understood Jesus as the Rock!
5. He then applies this idea of living stones to believers--
Christians as Temple
a. Christians as living stones, built up into spiritual house
(cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20, Ephesians 2:19-21)
b. Temple imagery familiar to both Jews and Gentiles
c. Temples as houses for deity, place to offer sacrifices,
obtain favor (cf. Leviticus, 1 Kings 8)
d. Peter continues with believers as holy priesthood offering
spiritual sacrifices (cf. Romans 12:1)
e. These sacrifices are acceptable to God through Jesus
C. The Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6-8)
1. Peter continues by expanding on his statements, beginning
with the nature of Jesus
2. Begins by citing Isaiah 28:16 (LXX) as reference to Jesus
a. Cornerstone in Zion, those believing in Him not put to
b. He quotes this to show that there is honor for those who
believe in Jesus
3. He then turns to the unbelievers who rejected Jesus
a. Regarding them he cites Psalm 118:22-23-- the stone the
builders rejected God makes the cornerstone
b. Jesus quotes this verse regarding Himself in
Matthew 21:42/Mark 12:10/Luke 20:17
c. Peter previously cited this language when preaching in
Acts 4:11
d. He then quotes two sections from Isaiah 8:14 in regards
to Jesus: a "stone of stumbling" and "rock of offense"
e. Christ crucified as stumbling-block for Jews
(1 Corinthians 1:21-25)
f. They stumble by their disobedience, which they were
"destined" to do
g. Unlikely a statement of personal "election to
condemnation," more likely based in prophecy-- God
predicted it would take place, thus, it would take place
4. All of these things, therefore, foretold in prophecy: Jesus
as cornerstone, source of hope for those who trust in Him,
stumbling-block for those who disobey and reject Him
D. The People of God (1 Peter 2:9-10)
1. Peter then returns to describe those who have come to God
2. He does so through a series of quotations from the Old
3. A chosen race-- Isaiah 43:20 (LXX)
4. A royal priesthood, a holy nation-- Exodus 19:6, 23:22 (LXX)
5. A people for His own possession-- Deuteronomy 7:6
6. All of these were titles for the Israelites, now given to
7. The reason for this: to proclaim excellencies of God who
called you out of darkness to light (cf. John 1:5, 9-13,
1 John 1:5-10)
8. Peter then applies Hosea 1:9-10, 2:23 to Christians-- once
not a people, now God's people; once without mercy, now
receiving mercy
a. Hard to imagine how one could say this about the Jews
b. They were certainly God's people-- described as such
(cf. Romans 11)
c. Clear reference, therefore, to the Gentiles
d. Ephesians 2:11-18
9. Peter demonstrates, therefore, that Christians are the
spiritual Israel, representing the spiritual Temple!

III. Applications
A. The Spiritual House
1. Peter would understand the idea of Jesus as the living
stone-- the "Rock" upon which the church would be founded in
Matthew 16:16-19!
2. As with Paul, so Peter: image of Christians as comprising a
spiritual house (cf. Ephesians 2:19-21)
3. Christians, therefore, work together and exist together to be
something greater than each individual, as also seen in
Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
4. Without stones, you cannot have a house-- importance of
5. Yet one stone cannot make a house-- importance of collective
B. The Priesthood and Sacrifices
1. In discussions with certain denominationalists, idea of all
Christians as priests in 1 Peter 2:5 emphasized
2. Yet, in context, Christians are just as much "living stones"
and "sacrifices" as "priests" (v. 5)
3. How can the Christian be the building as well as the minister
as well as the offering?
4. This passage an indication, along with Romans 12:1,
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20, Ephesians 2:19-21, and
Hebrews 13:15, that the Israelite Temple and its rituals now
seen in individual believers and the church
5. Israelite Temple and rituals: God's Presence in Temple,
sacrifices of animals offered for sin, thanksgiving, etc.;
offerings of animals, libations, incense accomplished by
priests ministering for the people before God-- center of
6. Today, God dwells with believers, not in a building
(John 4:24, Romans 8:11)
7. Thus, individual believers and the church as the "holy place"
8. The work of Christians as believers thus the "sacrifice"
9. Since we are practicing it, we are the ministers, thus
10. Therefore, we must emphasize how believers, individually
and communally, represent the Body of Christ and the Temple
of God, "religious functions" no longer limited to few
selected by lineage
11. This is Peter's emphasis-- that which was vested in the
Jewish Temple and in the priesthood now vested in believers!
C. God's Holy Nation
1. Many times the aspects of 1 Peter 2:9 are individually parsed
2. That can be profitable, but Peter is trying to make a strong
point with the whole presentation
3. Much made of Christians as "royal priesthood"-- yet
originally cited in Exodus 19:6, 23:22 LXX to refer to God's
intention for all of Israel-- that every Israelite would
minister to God their King
4. Thus, God is accomplishing now with Christians some things
He did not accomplish with Israel!
5. Regardless, the whole list of descriptions, for generations,
referred only to Israel-- the Israelites were the chosen
race, the holy nation, the people of God's own possession
6. Yet now, on account of prophecy, Peter connects them to
believers in Jesus Christ-- any and all of them!
7. He also applies promises God made to Israel through Hosea to
believers now in Christ-- those who did not receive mercy did
receive mercy, and those who were not God's people are now
God's people
8. Therefore, Christians are the spiritual Israel, and their
lives and conduct should reflect their new status!
9. We must now proclaim the excellencies of God who has brought
us from darkness to light
10. That means we must walk in the light, know and do the
commandments, and walk as Jesus walked (1 John 1:5-2:6)
D. Peter's grand point is that whereas the old covenant featured a
nation chosen by lineage with a Temple and offerings, the new
covenant features a nation chosen through grace and faith and
obedience with a spiritual house made up of believers serving
God and doing His will on earth!
E. Are our offerings acceptable to God through Christ? Do we
proclaim God's excellencies through our words and deeds?

IV. Conclusion
A. Thus we see 1 Peter 2:4-10
1. Jesus as cornerstone, rejected by many, source of honor and
hope for those who trust in Him
2. Christians as spiritual Israel, God's new chosen people
3. Israelite Temple and ritual now spiritual, internalized in
Christian believers, Church
B. Let us offer pleasing sacrifices to God and proclaim His
excellencies through our words and deeds!
C. Invitation/songbook

By Ethan R. Longhenry

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