Summary: We are a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, and we offer spiritual sacrifices to God.
MILK FOR ADULTS
Whether we are new in the faith or have been following Jesus for many years, we are encouraged to get back to basics, to return to our first love (Revelation 2:4-5), to long after sound Word-based teaching. Peter speaks of “the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2) - which seems a better translation than “pure spiritual milk” because he has just been speaking about the Word (1:23, 25). The Apostle instructs us to crave after this nourishment in its pure form, neither watered down nor adulterated (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19).
We are encouraged to grow in the Word. We receive the kingdom of God with a child-like faith (Luke 18:17), but even little children must grow into adults. It is not only preachers who need to study the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15).
“If indeed” (1 Peter 2:3) we have tasted that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) and we have really savoured the good things of the Lord (Psalm 119:103), then we will be eagerly waiting for - and working towards - the fullness of His salvation. We are members of the community of faith, kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5), and we can rest assured that God will complete the work which He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6). However, our responsibility - having begun the race - is to continue to the end (1 Corinthians 9:24; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1).
We come to the Lord Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) - who is described here as a precious living stone (1 Peter 2:4). He is not some block of stone fashioned into an idol, but the foundation stone of the church. He has been rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:11), but turns out to be the chosen one of God.
Neither are the members of the church mere blocks, but lively living stones, built up as the household of God (1 Peter 2:5). We are a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1). All believers have a priestly function which is acceptable to God when we make our approaches to Him via Jesus Christ.
The self-assured leaders of Jerusalem once boasted that they had a covenant with death and hell, and that their city was immune to God’s judgement (Isaiah 28:15). Yet the church of Jesus Christ is built upon a more sure foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). Jesus is the foundation stone of the church (1 Peter 2:6), and it is only as the church is built upon Him that the gates of hell shall fail to prevail (Matthew 16:16-18).
To believers Jesus is indeed precious, invaluable, and we are honoured to be associated with Him (1 Peter 2:7). The One whom the world rejected is made into the “head of the corner” (Psalm 118:22) - the foundational cornerstone of the church (Acts 4:10-12). Those who refuse the word of God reject Jesus: they find Him offensive (1 Peter 2:8).
It is ironic that the very men who crucified Jesus were fulfilling God’s purposes in laying the foundation of the church (Acts 4:27-28). This does not excuse them (Matthew 21:41-43). When the cornerstone was set in place (1 Peter 2:6), the doom of the disobedient was also set (1 Peter 2:8): their stumbling and their readiness to take offence are the fruits of their infidelity (John 3:18).
In 1 Peter 2:9-10, Peter brings us back to the consideration of the status of believers. We have already seen that we are a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, and that we offer spiritual sacrifices to God (1 Peter 2:5). Now Peter identifies us with the people of God in the Old Testament (Exodus 19:5-6).
The purpose of our calling is witness: the showing forth of the praises of the One who has brought us out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9). We who were “not a people” (Hosea 1:10) are now made the people of God in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:10). We praise God for His mercy!