“And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests.” 1 Peter 2:5 (NLT)
Continuing on his theme of holiness, Peter calls the believers living stones. What does that mean? How can a stone be alive? Only by the power of God can this be. But how does this apply to us as believers?
Stones are used as a means building strong, impenetrable buildings and fortresses. Peter says that we are the stones which God is using to build His temple. The place where His glory dwells. And we are built upon the Cornerstone, which is Christ. How amazing is this?! A temple made not by human hands, but by the hand of God.
How does holiness apply to this?
The Temple of God was where His glory would descend and dwell among the people of Israel. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the most holy place, which was a place only the High Priest could enter, and only once a year. It was the most sacred place. If anything unclean or unholy so much as tried to enter in, it was dead. Even the Ark of the Covenant could only be touched by those whom God deemed as holy, and they had strict guidelines to follow in order to remain holy before God.
Now, under the New Covenant, we have the Spirit of God living inside of us, which is how we become living stones. The Spirit inside of us guides us (if we remain open to Him) on the path of holiness. This holiness is what allows us to be these living stones of God’s temple, leading to His glory dwelling among us. We have been sanctified and cleansed of our sins in order that God might accomplish this in our lives.
But this amazing revelation also is given with a warning from the Apostle. He says, “Dear friends, I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” – 1 Peter 2:11
In order to be these holy, living stones that make up God’s temple, we must remove ourselves from the ways of the world. We must not give into societal norms. We must uphold the truth, no matter what the cost. This is the mandate reflected by Jesus and His disciples, and it will be the mandate that we have from the Lord until He returns in glory.