“As you come to Him”
1 Peter 2:1-5 ESV
1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 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. ESV
Repeating in part our previous review we noted that we started to think about the words “As you come to him” that we find at the beginning of 1 Peter 2v4 and we concentrated on what Peter had to say about the one to whom we come.
In thinking about this coming to Jesus we noted that it is a continual coming and that as people come to Him something simultaneously happens to them. Peter goes on to speak of those who come to Him and what happens to them when they come as we see in verse 5 where he continues by saying: “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”. So, we’ll start to think about that verse today. There are five things that Peter had to say in the verse about those who come to Christ as the living stone. They are:
What they come as
What they come to experience (two posts)
What they come to be
What they come to do
What they come through
So, as we have begun to consider with the first two points we are going to consider the third and last point concerning:
What they come to experience (Third Point)
The third thing I’d like you to notice from this phrase “being built up as a spiritual house” is the fact that we are “being built”. You sometimes see signs go up saying something like: “building work will commence here on such and such a date” and then it’s usually considerably later when the work actually begins. Well, Peter doesn’t say that this building is yet to start. Neither does he say that the building has already been completed. No, he says that we are “being built”. That’s in the present continuous tense. The work has begun and it’s an ongoing process. As we continually come to Christ so we continue to be built into this temple. In other words, God’s temple project is a work in progress.
We see exactly the same emphasis in Paul’s words in Ephesians 2v19-22 where we read:
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit”.
Again, this speaks of “a holy temple” that’s “a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” that’s built from believers in Christ with “Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone”. That’s exactly the same sort of language and terminology that Peter has been using and you see that it speaks of us “being joined together” and “being built together”. Again, we have that indication that this building work is ongoing. It’s been started, it’s not yet complete but it is continuing.
Now, there are three things that I’d like to mention that arise from our having recognised that our being built into God’s temple is a work in progress.
Firstly, this should spur us on to continue to come to Christ.
Do you want to see God’s temple built? Do you want to see it brought to completion? We’ve seen that it’s as we continue to come to Christ that we are “built up as a spiritual house”. So, if you want to see God’s temple built, keep on coming to Christ. Put Him first. Trust in Him. Live for Him. Remember that He is the foundation on which the church is being built. Speaking of the church in Corinth as “God’s building” Paul went on to say in 1 Corinthians 3v11:
“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”.
So, don’t stray from the foundation. Make sure that you’re always firmly rooted in Christ. The way to do that is to keep coming to Him with a desire that’s as intense as the insatiable desire that a new born baby has for its mother’s milk.
Secondly, knowing that the building work is still ongoing should keep us from expecting perfection.
There will be things about the church that seem disappointing. There will be times when people let you down. There will be misunderstandings and differences of opinion. There will be difficult times. There will be hardships. That’s because the building is not yet complete. The foundation stone is perfect but the other stones are still being knocked into shape and fitted together.
A good many years ago we had an extension built on our house. The building work seemed to go on forever and just about every room in the house was affected by it. We were effectively living on a building site so lots of things were less than ideal and we had to cope as well as we could. Well, always remember that being in the church now is a bit like living on a building site. So, don’t have unrealistic expectations. The building is not yet complete but by persevering with the hardships and constantly coming to Christ the building will progress.
The writer of the book of Hebrews gave some good advice in chapter 10v19-25 where he said:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”.
May it be that we all bear that advice in mind and seek to put it into practice by “drawing near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” and by “holding fast the confession of our hope” and by “stirring up one another to love and good works”.
Thirdly and finally,
…be sure that although the building is a work in progress it will most certainly be completed. Always remember the promise that Jesus gave in Matthew 16v18: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. Nothing will stop Jesus from building His church.
Lord willing we will consider the following three items when we return to this study:
What they come to be
What they come to do
What they come through
Dr. Steve Orr
Dr Orr has served the Body of Christ in the United Kingdom for many years and in various capacities (preaching, teaching, etc.,). Steve is a regular contributor to the pages of Christ My Covenant. His insights into the Word of God will serve you in your personal study of God’s Word. Learn of Christ!