1 Peter 2:4,5:
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 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.”
Jesus is the foundation of our worship. A spiritual house is a place of worship and of communion between God and man. Jesus, as a living stone, is the most important stone of the foundation of our spiritual house.
The Jews and Romans rejected Him when He presented Himself in Jerusalem. He came to fulfill the law and prophets. He did so perfectly, but they refused to believe. Yet, in God’s sight, He perfectly fulfilled the law. There was no error in Him. He was God’s chosen One–The Anointed, The Messiah. He was precious to God, for the love they shared and which He proved through His perfect obedience.
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice–the one to which all other sacrifices pointed in ancient Hebrew worship. His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin–one perfect, infinite life for many finite lives owed to God. His sacrifice was perfectly acceptable to God.
He is a living stone. When we come to Him, we are “like living stones.” Upon the foundation of the spiritual house, which He laid by His righteousness and sacrifice, we come together to form the house. There is no longer a physical sacrifice to be made in our worship. The way is open for us to commune with our Maker, to enter into His presence as the ancient priesthood once did with the blood of bulls and lambs.
Jesus’ blood, shed once, covers us symbolically for all time, and this makes us a holy priesthood. Because Jesus’ sacrifice was acceptable, when we come under the cover of His blood, our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God.
What are our “spiritual sacrifices”?
Based upon a word study of “spiritual” (Strong’s G4152 & Vine’s at blueletterbible.org), transliterated ‘pneumatikos’, what follows is my understanding of what Peter the Apostle was conveying here:
We receive the spiritual blessings of regeneration (new life in Christ), including wisdom and understanding, along with the power of the resurrection. This transforms us into instruments of God to serve His purposes. As His instruments, living in harmony with His character and law, we express His gospel-purposes through words and songs in the company of those who believe and we walk so as to please God among men. By the operation of the Spirit of God (living within us), His fruit is produced and His purposes are maintained through the God-ward activities of regenerate men.
Because Christ’s real, corporeal sacrifice was acceptable to God, all of these God-ward activities of man are acceptable, ethereal sacrifices in which our human, earthly existence is matched up with our spiritual reality. In Christ, we do all according to who we are and Whose we are, and that is our spiritual sacrifice–living and holy.
Then one day, our physical reality, too, will match our heavenly one, when we receive our spiritual, resurrection bodies on the day that Jesus comes for His bride–the spiritual house made of living stones, sanctified in Christ and wholly pleasing to God, our Father.