Our further reading in 1 Peter today, (ch. 2) provides a sequel to yesterday’s thoughts on faith – that it is “more precious than gold.” As we feed our minds on the word of God “we grow up into salvation” [v.2]. A wonderful feeling – do we each feel we are growing up in that way? Is our faith getting ‘taller‘ – so that we can see further – spiritually? How do we perceive our ‘growth’ compared to past years?
Peter says we, “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.” [v.5] There are a lot of points in that verse to ‘chew’ over in our minds!
A ‘priest” – as Peter now saw life in Christ, is someone who chooses of their own freewill (not because of descent) to live a life of commitment to Christ, a sort of ‘sacrificial’ commitment. They become part of “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” [v.9] We “proclaim” this by the life we live.
This is wonderful – but we must remember it is a process of “being built up.” [v.5] It is following in the footsteps of Christ, it may means times of enduring, at least in some measure, experiencing sufferings. Peter knew that an awesome time of trial lay ahead for Jerusalem. Verses 20 and 21 express this clearly, ” … if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
Peter portrays a life of his total commitment, even unto a death that would “glorify God”, a death to some degree, comparable to that of Christ. Jesus had said this lay ahead for Peter (John 21 v.18,19). Peter sees the sacrifice of Christ as providing the inspiration and vision for him and us “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” [v.24]
As in the Master’s parables – there is no middle way! At least some to whom Peter is writing had stumbled away from the narrow way – do we feel ourselves stumbling? If so, may we see the last verse in today’s chapter as a message of encouragement – “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” – this is because we have died to sin.