Have you ever been at an event where you were the guest of honor? Maybe it was a bridal shower, a baby shower, or a graduation. Every eye was on you, and people treated you in a way that made you feel so privileged. Throughout 1 Peter, we see Christians described as pilgrims who are cursed by this world, but in chapter 2, Peter turns this on its head and says God has particularly honored us.
Peter says in 2:4 that we “come to him,” meaning the “Lord” (v. 3) of the Old Testament, who Peter says is Christ. He goes on to define what it means to come to Christ: “So the honor is for you who believe” (v. 7). What’s beautiful to see is that back in 1:7, he spoke of our faith going through trials in this life, but here he says when we believe, God honors us. How so? Note three honors in 1 Peter 2.
Honored to Be a Place
By faith, we are honored to be a place. And not just any place, but a Holy Place. First Peter 2:4 switches the metaphor from being the family of God to being the temple of God. In the new covenant, there still is a Holy Place. But its building materials are not wood, stone, or precious metals. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone and Christians are the walls of the new Holy Place.
If you watch home renovation shows, it’s amazing how easy it is to rip down walls, reconfigure the inside of a house, and totally change the look of what was once there. That’s because we use wood and drywall. In the ancient world, though, buildings were built to last—they were built of stone. Peter is saying here that our honor is that we are being built to be a permanent holy temple.
While we come to Christ by faith as “a living stone” because of His resurrection, He continues to be “rejected by” so many other “men” (2:4, citing Ps. 118:22). Why? Scripture says that since the beginning, men have rejected the Lord for their own pride and power (Gen. 10; Ps. 2). Though He was being rejected by men, Jesus is “in the sight of God chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4, citing Isa. 28:16).
As Christ is the living, chosen, and precious cornerstone of God’s new Holy Place, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house” (2:5). The verb “being built up” is in the passive voice, which denotes that the action is done to us, not by us. As Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). He is building us into a “spiritual house,” meaning that we are “animated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.” Think of this: we, sinners, not only individually, but corporately, are the temple of the living God. God lives among us—us of all people.