Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 2:4 - 2:5

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 2:4 - 2:5

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1Pe_2:4-5. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, 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.

AS in the natural life, so in the spiritual, a state of maturity is attained by a slow and gradual progression; but every one should be aspiring after a further growth in grace, in order that he may reach the full measure of the stature of Christ. For this end the Apostle exhorts those who had tasted that the Lord is gracious, to covet the sincere milk of the word; and to come continually to Christ, in order to their more abundant edification in faith and love. His allusions to the material temple are worthy of our attentive consideration: he compares Christ to the foundation-stone, and believers to the other stones built upon it; thereby shewing, that the temple had a typical reference to them,

I.       In its foundation—

Christ is here represented as the foundation-stone on which all are built—

[When personally considered, Christ is represented as the temple itself, in which dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead [Note: Joh_2:19-21.]: but, as considered in relation to his people, he is the foundation-stone, that supports the whole edifice [Note: Isa_28:16. 1Co_3:11.]. The quality ascribed to this stone is indeed singular; but it is perfectly suited to him of whom it is spoken. Christ is called “a living” stone, not merely as being of distinguished excellence (as he is also the “living bread,” and “living water”) but as having life in himself, and being the author of life to all who depend upon him: a quickening energy proceeds from him, which pervades and animates every part of this spiritual fabric [Note: Joh_5:21; Joh_5:26.].]

In this situation He is precious to all who know him—

[He has indeed in all ages been “disallowed of men,” who, blinded by Satan and their own lusts, neither “saw any beauty in him for which he was to be desired,” “nor would come to him that they might have life.” The very persons appointed to build the temple have been the first to reject him [Note: Act_4:11.]: they could not endure that so much honour should be put upon him; or that they should be constrained to acknowledge him as the one source of all their stability. But he was “chosen of God” from all eternity, as the only Being capable of supporting the weight of this vast edifice; and, so perfectly is he suited to his place, that “he is precious” to God, and precious to all who are built upon him. If all the angels in heaven were ordered to fill his place but for a moment, the whole building would fall to ruins: but in him there is a suitableness and sufficiency, that at once delights the heart of God [Note: Isa_42:1.], and inspires his people with implicit confidence.]

Nor is the foundation only of the temple typical; there is a typical reference also,

II.      In its superstructure—

Believers are the stones of which the temple is composed—

[Every man, in his natural state, is as the stones in a quarry, ignorant of the end to which he is destined, and incapable of doing any thing towards the accomplishment of it. But the great Master-builder, by the instrumentality of those who labour under his direction, selects some from the rest, and fashions them for the places which he intends them to occupy in this spiritual building. But, as the temple of Solomon was built without the noise of an axe or hammer, or any other tool [Note: 1Ki_6:7.], so are these brought in a silent manner [Note: Job_33:15-16. Act_16:14.], and “fitly framed together for an habitation of God through the Spirit [Note: Eph_2:21-22.].”]

By “coming to Christ” they are gradually built up upon him—

[Believers, quickened by Christ, become “lively,” or living “stones,” like unto Christ himself: “they live by him,” yea, he himself is their life [Note: Col_3:4.]. Notwithstanding therefore they have of themselves no power, through his quickening Spirit they become voluntary agents; and though it is true that they are “drawn to him by the Father [Note: Joh_6:44.],” yet it is also true, that they “come to him,” willingly and with strong desire. And this is the way in which “they are built up a spiritual house:” by “coming to him” they are placed upon him; and by coming to him yet again and again, they derive “more abundant life” from him; they are more and more fitted for the place they occupy; they are more closely knit to all the other parts of this sacred building, and more firmly established on him as their one foundation. It is thus that the fabric itself is enlarged by the constant addition of fresh materials; and thus that “every part of the building groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.”]

A similar view must yet further be taken of the temple,

III.     In its services—

The same persons, who before were represented as the stones of the building, are now, by an easy transition, spoken of as the priests officiating in it.

Believers are “an holy priesthood”—

[None could officiate in the material temple but those of the tribe of Levi: but, in the spiritual temple, all are priests, whether Jews or Gentiles, male or female: “The chosen generation are also a royal priesthood [Note: 1Pe_2:9.];” who are not only entitled, but bound, to transact their own business with God. This honour also they attain by “coming unto Christ:” by him they are “made kings and priests unto God;” and “through him they have boldness to enter into the holiest,” and to present themselves before the majesty of heaven.]

Nor shall the sacrifices which they offer be presented in vain—

[They come not indeed with the blood of bulls and of goats; but they bring the infinitely more precious blood of Christ. On account of his atonement, their prayers and praises, their alms and oblations, yea, all their works of righteousness come up with a sweet savour before God, and their persons as well as services find a favourable acceptance in his sight [Note: Heb_13:15-16.]. Nor though, through the infirmity of their flesh, their offerings be very imperfect, shall they therefore be despised: if only they be presented with an humble and willing mind, God, even under the law, and much more under the Gospel, has promised to accept them [Note: Lev_22:19-23. 2Co_8:12.].]

Let us learn from this subject,

1.       Our duty—

[Whatever be our attainments in the divine life, we have one daily and hourly employment, to be “coming to Christ:” by these means we shall be advanced and established; but, if we neglect them, we shall fall and perish. Nor must the opinions of men be of any weight when opposed to this duty: whoever despise, we must “choose” him; whoever abhor, we must account him “precious:” if the whole universe should combine against him, we must be firm in our adherence to him. Nor must we rest in cold uninfluential professions of regard. We must devote ourselves to him, while we build upon him; and present ourselves, and all that we possess, as living sacrifices unto our God and Father.]

2.       Our privilege—

[Being brought nigh to God by the blood of Christ, it is our privilege to maintain fellowship with him as our reconciled God. We should banish all doubts about the acceptance of our feeble endeavours; and come, like the high-priest himself, even to his mercy-seat, there to make known our wants, and obtain the blessings we stand in need of. Methinks our state on earth should resemble, in a measure, the state of those in heaven: we should possess the same humble confidence, the same holy joy: and our sacrifices, enflamed with heavenly fire, should ever be ascending from the altar of a grateful heart, that God may smell a sweet savour, and “rejoice over us to do us good.”

Thrice happy they who so walk before him! Let it be the ambition of us all to do so: then shall we indeed be “temples of the Holy Ghost [Note: 1Co_6:19.]:” we shall “draw nigh to God, and God will draw nigh to us;” we shall “dwell in God, and God will dwell in us;” and the communion, begun on earth, shall be carried on and perfected in glory.]