Are you ready for the practice of holiness?
In his first epistle, Peter is encouraging his readers to live holy lives. We saw in 1 Peter 2:1-3 that holiness can only happen in so much as he believer is committed to feeding on the pure milk of the word. We can grow in Christ only by studying the Word of God and living according the truth it contains.
Peter goes on in the next verses to provide practical steps for living a holy life. He wrote:
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4–5)
In this passage, Peter uses a new metaphor to exhort his readers toward holy living.
Continually come to Him
When Peter wrote, “Coming to Him…” he was not referring to the initial response of sinner who trusts in Christ for salvation. Instead, Peter is discussing a personal, habitual approach to Jesus. Peter is saying that to live a holy life, the believer must have an intimate communion with Jesus. For us to live a Christ-centered life, we must spend time getting to know Him. This is done through the Word and through prayer. It is intimate meaning that we are serious in our devotion to Him.
For the Christian to grow in Christ, we must spend time with Him. That is done only through a consistent time set aside for reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the Word of God. It also means that we spend time—daily—worshipping and praising the Lord Jesus, our Messiah.
How dedicated are you to spending time in the Word and in prayer? This is not supposed to be a hit-and-a-miss endeavor. We must be consistent in meeting with our Lord. This is done best by setting a time each day when you can have a time of devotion.
When first became a Christian, I learned a method of starting a disciplined time alone with God—we called it a quiet time. I would recommend that if you have trouble with a consistent devotional time, you begin by setting aside 7-minutes each day with God.
Before I provide the details, make sure you are coming to Him with the proper motives. Do not commit to this activity, but to the Savior. He is the reason you want to do this at all. Also, don’t develop a devotional time because I ask you to or because others are doing it. You should want to spend time with Christ so that you can live the holy life—one who is set apart—that Christ wants you to live.
Also, I recommend you start with just 7-minutes per day. You will quickly learn (I hope) that this is not enough time. I remind you, however, that this will take discipline—you must set aside the time, make the appointment with Christ, and then show up.
Here are the steps:
- ½ Minute: Preparing your heart—Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.”
- 4 Minutes: Listening to God (Reading the Scripture)—Use the next four minutes to read the your Bible. Your greatest need is to meet God in His Word. Allow the Word to influence your thinking and to change the way you approach life. This is your time to get to know God!
- 2 ½ Minutes: Talking to God (Prayer)—After God has spoken through His Word, then you should speak to Him in prayer. Your prayer should include the following components: 1) Adoration. This is the purest kind of prayer because it’s all for God. Praise the Lord for all He has done, is doing, and will do. Reflect on His sovereignty. 2) Confession. Spend time confessing your sin. “Confession” comes from a root word meaning, “to agree together with.” When we apply this to prayer, it means we agree with God’s estimation of what we’ve done (consider 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 3) Thanksgiving. Spend some time in your prayer thanking Him for specific actions in your life: your family, your business, your church—even thank Him for hardships. 4) Supplication. This means to “ask for, earnestly and humbly.” Ask for others, and then ask for yourself. Include people around the world, missionaries, friends, and those who have yet to hear about Jesus.
Now, put this into practice on a daily basis.
Fellowship with Jesus, the Christ
Once we have come to Him, we can begin to fellowship with Jesus Christ. Peter describes Jesus as a living stone. This is a unique figure of speech. In 1 Peter 1:3, Peter referred to a living hope and in 1 Peter 1:23, he refers to the word…which lives. Now he speaks of Christ as a stone with several qualities.
- The Stone is living: It has life in itself and gives that life to others. People can enter into a personal and vital relationship with “the living stone.”
- The Stone was rejected by men: The world doesn’t want to be committed to the Son of God. Men want to do life their way; they don’t want to be bothered by pleasing God. As a result, since the world rejected and hated Christ, the world will reject and hate His followers (see John 15:18 ff).
- The Stone is chosen by God and precious: Jesus’ blood was considered precious when He shed it for our sins. We who have trusted in Christ can take comfort in the Stone because, as Peter has said, we are the elect (1 Peter 1:1) and we are valued (1 Peter 1:18). So, as the Stone is chosen and precious, so we also are chosen and precious by God.
Peter subsequently identifies believers with Christ. He is the living Stone and believers are as living stones. Believers are “like” living stones. Our duty in life is to become more like Him—we are to become more conformed to His image.
Become the Church of Christ
Jesus told Peter, “…on this rock I will build My church…” (Matthew 16:18). Now Peter clearly identified Christ as the Rock on which His church is built. Believers make up the Church and they serve in it. Christians are to be built into a spiritual house. As those who place our trust in the work of Jesus we are to minister as a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices.
All believers are priests (1 Peter 2:9; Heb 4:16; Rev 1:6). We can approach the throne of God with only Jesus as our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5—“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”). Our priestly service requires holiness (1 Peter 1:16, 22). Our praising of God and our doing good to others are the spiritual sacrifices that please Him (Heb 13:15). Also, as “living stones” we must also offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1), which is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
We are the Church. The world around you will form their opinion of the Church by observing your life. The holiness of your life is what many need to see so they will be drawn toward Christ.
How does this apply to us?
We must continually come before the throne of grace. This involves our commitment to a daily time of devotion.
We must fellowship with Jesus, the Christ. He is the living Stone and He gives life to us so we are like living stones. Though the world rejects us, as it rejected Him, we must continue to be an influence on the world.
We are the Church of Christ. We are His priests in a debased world. We will only affect the world around us by living holy lives. Only by fellowshipping with Jesus—on a daily basis—can we live the holy lives God has called us to live.
Are you living the holy life demanded by Christ? Even during times of hardship, we must always commune and fellowship with Christ. The world will see this. Many will reject us and hate us for our commitment to Christ. But a few will see the love of God though your life and they will respond to God by accepting His gift of eternal life.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)