Devotion for Thursday, June 25, 2020
1 Peter 2:5, “you, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house”
One of the theological questions regarding Christian identity considers the relationship between the people of God in the Old Testament and the church in the New Testament. What defines the people of God? Peter helps the believer connect to the promises of the Old Testament in his first epistle. For the next couple of days, we will study a number of identifying markers of the people God in the Old Testament that Peter now applies to the New Testament follower of Christ.
Chapter two of 1 Peter is full of Old Testament quotations and epithets applied to the New Testament church. First, Peter identifies the believer with the temple of the Lord in the Old Testament. This is an amazing connection. The theme of sanctuary and temple runs from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible is the story, the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. A key component of that redemptive plan is the presence of God in the world.
The presence of the Lord has manifested itself in many different ways throughout Scripture and in the world today. The Garden of Eden can be seen as the first sanctuary in human history. It seems that the Lord’s desire was for the sanctuary in Eden to spread throughout the world by God’s mandate to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.” (Gen. 1:28) Of course, Adam’s fall in sin perverted that mandate, and God drove them from the sanctuary and the tree of life.
The tabernacle of Israel and the temple in Jerusalem was designed to be the locus of God’s presence among His people. Ultimately, God desired to use the temple as an evangelistic vessel to bring all the nations to worship the Lord in Jerusalem. Solomon in his dedication of the temple said, “Even for the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a distant land because of Your name – for they will hear of Your great name, mighty hand, and outstretched arm, and will come and pray toward this temple.” (1 Kings 8:41-42) Again, the idolatrous rejection of the Lord by the people of Israel led to the destruction of the temple.
During Jesus’ ministry, the great Temple of Herod was at its apex in Jerusalem. But Jesus himself said that he would demolish the Lord’s sanctuary and rebuild it in three days (Matt. 26:61) – speaking of His resurrection. Jesus shows Himself to be God’s presence among men. The New Testament then makes clear that being found in Christ in salvation, means that we become the temple of the Lord! Remember what Paul says, “Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?”
This points to the impact of Peter’s words in 1 Peter 2:5. Peter highlights the communal aspect of God’s people as the temple of the Lord. This means that you and I – the whole church (the people of God) – make up the temple of the Lord – the very presence of God. Each one of us represents a living stone, being built up into a LIVING TEMPLE.
Therefore, a major aspect of your identity in Christ is the fact that you represent the presence of God in the world. Yes, you! Paul says it like this, “we are ambassadors of Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:20) Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are representing the presence of Jehovah God in the world today. This should cause you to be very circumspect in your Christian walk, in your words, in your actions. Today, realize that you are a walking, talking, breathing outpost of the Kingdom of God. How will that impact your choices, attitude, and actions today?
Pastor, Sharon First Baptist Church