We’ve already talked about being living STONES, now we turn our attention to the second half of verse 5:
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
(1Peter 2:5, emph seb)
What exactly are the SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES we are to offer up to God?
Before we attempt to discern what they are, let’s note four things about them.
Firstly, we are to be ACTIVELY doing them, “Offer up…” Being a Christian is not a passive condition, it’s active. Note that we are “LIVELY” stones.
Secondly, our sacrifices must be “ACCEPTABLE to God.” Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God” (2Tim 2:15a; cf. Rom 12:1).
Thirdly, they we are to AIM them “…to God”. Whatever these sacrifices are, they are to be directed toward God.
Fourthly, they are directed toward God through the AVENUE of Jesus; “…by Jesus Christ.” Jesus Himself said, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Paul also wrote on spiritual SACRIFICES, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom 12:1). So, what are they? Verse 6 begins a list from Paul, so we shall look at both Peter & Paul’s letters. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether…”
We are to SHEW Forth Praises of God. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9; cf Heb 13:15-16). It reminds me of when Jesus told the healed man to “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mark 5:16).
ALL of our BODY, our whole being is a living sacrifice to God. “that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). This clarifies how much of our life is dedicated to God, ALL of it. Christ is our life (Col 3:4).
We are to give a CONTRIBUTION for the helping of needy Saints and for the work of the Church. “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Phil 4:18; cf. Heb 13:15-16). “He that giveth, let him do it with liberality” (Rom 12:8). God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor 8:2; 9:7).
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb 13:15-16).
It’s a spiritual sacrifice to submit to Leaders that God has ordained for the local church, and those that RULE are offering up a sacrifice. “He that ruleth, with diligence” (Rom 12:8; cf. 1Tim 3:1-7). This is further supported in Peter’s letter, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1Peter 5:2-3).
Peter’s letter is just as much about how the Saint INFLUENCES the world. “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Peter 2:12). This speaks to evildoers converting to Christ through the INFLUENCE of good works done by the saints (cf. 1Pet 3:1).
Paul includes Prophecy or FORETELLING in his letter to the Romans. “Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Rom 12:6). While there was a miraculous element in the 1st century, we today can FORETELL through the inspired written word. Peter wrote, “according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 4:10-11). The future return of Christ is just one example.
It’s a sacrifice to be an INSTRUCTOR or Teacher of God’s word. “He that teacheth, on teaching” (Rom 12:8; cf. 2Tim 2:2).
It’s certainly a sacrifice to have COMPASSION (Mercy) on our fellow man. “He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom 12:8). We have obtained mercy through the blood of Jesus. Ought we not show mercy on others?
EXHORTING (to urge one to pursue some course of conduct) is another important sacrifice. “Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation” (Rom 12:8; 2Tim 4:2). Encouraging brethren to better conduct can be a challenge. For example; “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but EXHORTING one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb 10:25).
Finally, SERVING (ministering) our brethren is a Spiritual Sacrifice to God. “Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering” (Rom 6:7). When we serve the brethren, we serve Christ. Jesus listed some things, “For I was an hungred, … I was thirsty, … I was a stranger, … Naked, … I was sick, … I was in prison… Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when … ? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Acts 25:35-40’ cf. Acts 6:1-7).
These are all matters the individual Christian does through their own lives and homes. Some believe we abdicate these to others. These are OUR SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES. May we all offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
What does it mean, “by your good works?”
WILL of God. 1Pe 2:15; 4:2
ON DISPLAY. 1Pet 2:12; 3:1, 16
In the sight of men 2Cor 8:21
READINESS (hope seen). 3:15
KNOWLEDGE. The word 1:22-25; 3:1-3;
SERVICE / STEWARDS. 1Pet 4:7-11
SO OTHERS WILL BECOME CHRISTIANS
Other passages on GOOD WORKS.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1Timothy; 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1Timothy 5:10 Well reported of for good works;
1Timothy 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
1Timothy 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
This song is a good reminder of the lesson found in 1st Peter chapter two.
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (1Pet 2:11)
The line in the song that says “just a-passing through” is the theme of this article. What does it look like to be strangers and pilgrims?
It means that we’re just a-PASSING through this life headed for our heavenly home.
Getting bogged down with the affairs of this life is very easy to do, and something all of us struggle to overcome. The parable of the Sower warns of this problem; “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
Going on a vacation or living temporarily in another place for work might be a modern-day illustration to teach the same lesson.
One word Peter uses to describe our situation is as PILGRIMS. Strong’s defines this as “an alien alongside, i.e. a resident foreigner.” This same word is used to describe the life of the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11:4-12. A resident foreigner is one who is living in a temporary place, but doesn’t put down any roots.
Someone that is passing through to their true home will “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2). Most of us when we travel feel out of place among the locals, especially if they speak a different language and they have a different culture. While we may enjoy much of the experiences, we will long for our own home, our own bed, and our own people. We may be welcomed, but we don’t feel at home.
Peter uses another word to describe our condition in this life; living as STRANGERS. The word for “stranger” is defined as a sojourner (one having a home nearby). A sojourner is only staying for a little time, PASSING through. The locals recognize us as strangers and will often comment on that fact. When we are passing through an area, we stand out as strangers. Home is often just a few hours away, it’s nearby through the wonders of modern-day travel. Our heavenly home is closer.
We stand out because we are different in our speech, manners, and confusion about the area. Many times, we’re separated from the residents because many of the tourists gather at tourist sites, and eat at touristy locals. For our purposes, we are SET APART (sanctified) from the world. While we look like the locals, we are not to be conformed to the world. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2). Peter describes this separation, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1Peter 4:4).
Sometimes we’re passing through but on an extended stay. We may even rent houses, buy groceries, and work for a longer period of time. It may appear that we’ve moved in, but we’re still INDEPENDENT from the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1John 2:15; cf. Jas 4:4). Our life as Christians ought to resemble this mindset. All too often we let the concerns for this life supersede our concern for going to heaven. We focus on many worldly CAUSES, Cures for disease, Alleviating pains, Undoing mistakes of our past, Shaping our government, Escaping financial woes, or making the world a Safer place. These are important things, but the solving of them won’t take us to heaven.
If we were to travel to another country, we would be a people from one NATION passing through another NATION. Peter tells us, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9). This also speaks to our purpose. While traveling our goal is to tour the sites, and eat different foods. For the Christian, our pilgrimage is for the purpose of shining the Light and singing His praises.
None of us give up our citizenship when traveling to a foreign land, neither should we give up our citizenship in heaven while living here. Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20 ASV).
Finally, when we travel, we have no intention of staying permanently, and we’ll let everyone know. We live in temporary dwellings, we don’t lay down roots, we may even tell the residents about our home. This same description is used of the heroes of faith. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb 11:13-16).
Like them, we are GOING to a City (another song we sing #199 HfW) if that is what we want to do. The lesson from Peter is to remember that, since the introduction of sin, this world holds no hope for us. It is a world of pain, persecution, and prejudice.
I look around at all the trouble in this life and long for the next. I just want to go to heaven. I hope you do as well.
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ at Franklin and Juniper in Borger Texas.
Every chapter of 1Peter has a reference to the suffering of Christ. By looking at these we can see the POWER of His suffering as we face similar difficulties in the Christian’s life.
P-PRECIOUS. 1:19 Precious Blood Shed.
Type Passover Ex 12:5; Joh 1:29,36; 1Co 5:7;
Purchased with Acts 20:28;
forgiveness, redemption Eph 1:7;
His own blood Heb 9:12,14;
O-OBSERVE (follow) His Example. 2:21 Example to follow.
deny self, take up cross Mt 16:24;
leaving an example Joh 13:15;
this mind Php 2:5;
living godly in Christ 2Ti 3:12;
walk as He walked. 1Jo 2:6
W-WATER. 3:18-22 Through Christ’s DBR, through Water.
DEATH. Ro 5:6 in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
BURIAL. 1Co 15:4 And that he was buried,
ROSE AGAIN, 1Cor 15:4; Ac 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
ANTITYPE. Noah’s Ark. saved by water.
E-EXCEEDING JOY. 4:12-16 Exceeding Joy when Glory revealed after suffering.
Ac 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
2Tim 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.