“As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1Peter 2:4-5
In 1Peter 2:5, we are told that as living stones, we are being built into a spiritual house, offering spiritual sacrifices; but what are spiritual sacrifices?
The primary sacrifice to the Jew was an animal brought to the temple to be killed, and once it was dead, it was dead; so the first image is one of death. However, we are told to offer spiritual sacrifices, which give us a picture profoundly alive, for nothing is more alive than the spirit, which is made alive to God. The answer to this apparent conflict is the person of Jesus Christ.
Christ is referred to in verse 4 as a living stone, for all life is derived from Him, Christ the God/man possesses life that is intrinsic, and He alone as such is the source of all life. Christ offered Himself as the sacrifice for sins, He was put to death in the flesh, but in three days, He rose from the grave because it could not hold His body in death. Therefore, Christ truly is a living sacrifice; no other person in all human history could ever be a living sacrifice. Therefore, we can offer spiritual sacrifices because we are made alive in Him.
Paul refers to this same principle of service in his letter to the Romans, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” When we are placed into Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, our offerings for His glory and in His will become acceptable to God.
John MacArthur puts it this way, “Believers are not to offer something that is dead. We are to offer everything we are, everything we have, and everything we hope to be–all our dreams, hopes, aspirations, and abilities. That’s the kind of sacrifice New Testament believers are called on to make.”
The difference between a true and false profession is life and death – acceptable or unacceptable sacrifices!