“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.”
(I Peter 2:5)
“Ye also, as lively stones” — We think of this Scripture, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32) His people are spoken of as “lively stones” after they have been quickened and made alive by the Spirit of God.
“And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
“are built up a spiritual house” — Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world …” (John 18:36) It is written, “God added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47).
This house has reference to the children of God whose names were written in heaven before the foundation of the world.
“In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
This means their names were written in the Book of Life before they were in existence. (see Revelation 13:8)
“but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
(II Timothy 1:9)
(In the mind and purpose of the Lord the salvation of His people has always been secure.)
“But is now made MANIFEST by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality TO LIGHT through the Gospel.”
(II Timothy 1:10)
This great salvation is made manifest to all of the children of God at the appointed time known only to the Lord.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
“an holy priesthood” — Jesus has made His people kings and priests unto God the Father. (Revelation 1:6)
Under the law one would have to go to a priest, and the priest would offer the sacrifices and pray unto the Lord. Since Jesus has made us priests unto God, then we can rightly approach God the Father in prayer when we pray in Jesus’ name.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
It is very important that we pray in Jesus’ name. When our hearts are heavy and when we are cast down because of various trials, tribulations and temptations; it is a wonderful blessing to pour out all of our troubles to the Lord. Many times we are blessed with the sweetest peace during the darkest hour of sorrow. The prayers of the saints do enter into heaven. (See Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3-4)
“to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” — Please keep in mind that Jesus has made these spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God the Father. The children of God are the only ones who offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God.
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Hin. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Recently it has been shown to me that spiritual sacrifices are broken down into these: (1) repentance, and (2) praise.
(1) Repentance — “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
The word “contrite” means “humbled by guilt and repentant for one’s sins, penitent.” It is the work of God to convict the heart of one and then bless him with repentance.
“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations.”
That Scripture shows that the Lord makes known to one that he is a sinner. The following Scripture shows confession of sin:
“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
The next Scripture shows repentance and a plea for the Lord to not forsake us and to guide us by His Spirit:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit.”
Notice the work of God in dealing with Ephraim:
“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed. . .”
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Did the preaching itself cause the hearts of these people to be pricked?
Do we believe that the Spirit of God pricked their hearts?
“For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
This Scripture proves that the preaching will not have any effect upon one unless the Lord blesses him with the faith to hear and receive it.
“Blessed is the man that heareth me.”
The Lord opens the hearts of His people and shines His light upon them. (II Corinthians 4:6 and II Peter 1:19) They are convicted and brought down low: as the publican’s prayer: “… God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)
(2) Sacrifice of praise — We offer up the sacrifice of praise unto God when we are led and directed by the Lord.
“This people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise.”
“O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.”
“Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise and with Thy honour all the day.”
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;”
This Scripture shows that when the Lord clothes us with the garments of praise, we feel it within our hearts to sing praises unto Almighty God.
Because it flows from our hearts to the Lord.
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“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.”
Let us remember that this last Scripture shows that God is well pleased with the sacrifice of praise.
May the Lord bless us to carefully consider the spiritual sacrifices.
By Woodrow W. Hudson