As God’s children, we are called to repentance and salvation; confession and belief; belonging, obedience, and holiness. As we follow Jesus, we are all called to walk worthy, to be conformed to His likeness, and to focus on our future hope in Him.
But in 1 Peter, we read about God’s calling to the church as a whole. The Apostle Peter wrote this letter to several small churches scattered throughout Asia Minor, encouraging them in their salvation, the Christian life, and their communal identity.
Peter compares the church to “living stones” and a “spiritual house.” He exhorts the faithful to draw close to the Lord (v. 4), the living Stone risen from the dead. Peter describes Jesus as “rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him,” a description to which his audience would relate. Peter then calls them “living stones” as well—a “spiritual house” and a “holy priesthood” with one identity and one purpose, built on the cornerstone of Christ.
Peter draws on three Old Testament passages (Isa. 28:16, Ps. 118:22, and Isa. 8:14) that also used this metaphor. Those who believe in Jesus recognize Him as the precious Cornerstone, the foundation of the church upon whom our faith is built. But those who reject Him stumble and receive judgment.
As a result of their unity as a single spiritual house, Peter identified these churches across Asia Minor as “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” They were to be a cohesive, collective temple, a place to gather and worship together, as well as a presence of light and praise in the world, “that you may declare the praises of him who called [kaleo] you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (v. 9).
>> How does Peter’s description of the church compare to what we experience today? Consider how Peter’s description of the church’s calling or purpose might change our own expectations.
Father, as we study Your Word, we seek to cultivate strong understanding for what is true and right. As we resist self-deception and over-indulgence, bless our efforts to honor You with our lives and deeds.