“5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
In our last study, we started looking at our corporate identity as the new covenant people of God. We saw that in this section, Peter, using Old Testament imagery, likens the believers to living stones that are built together to form a spiritual house for God to dwell in. This building is sitting on the foundation stone, who is Christ Himself.
He then goes on to tell us that we are not only the temple, but also the priests who serve in the temple; and the sacrifices that we offer are spiritual sacrifices, which are accepted through Jesus Christ, our high priest.
In order for us to appreciate our identity as priests, we need to look at the Old Testament to see who the priests were and what their function was.
In the first place, the priests were chosen by God from the tribe of Levi and further from the Kohathite clan, from the line of Aaron; they were also to be without obvious physical deformity (Lev 21:18ff).
In the second place, they were to be anointed, sanctified, and set apart for the service of the Lord; they wore special sacred garments when performing their duties and had to live ceremonially and morally pure lives. This was needful in order for them to be able to offer up sacrifices to atone for the sins of their fellow Israelites; besides their role as mediators, they were to teach God’s law to the people (Lev 10:11).
Similarly, God has chosen us in Christ to be a holy priesthood; He has sanctified us by the blood of Christ and anointed us with His Holy Spirit; and Christ our high priest and representative has given us access to the throne of God.
The sacrifices we now offer are those of a life yielded to the will of God (Rom 12:1), of praise and adoration (Heb 13:15), of doing good to others (Heb 13:16), and of testifying to the truths of the gospel.
All these sacrifices, though tainted with sin, are made acceptable to God through our mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“…To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Rev 1:5-6) Amen!