Site icon Author Peter DeHaan

Living Stones: What the New Testament Says About Temples and Priests

Be living stones for Jesus.

Through Jesus we become his priests and his temple, which should change everything

In the Old Testament the people go to the temple to encounter God. The priests help them in this. They act as a liaison between them and God.

In many ways we still do this today. We go to church to encounter God. We look for our ministers to help us in our quest, to act as a liaison between us and God.

But this is a wrong perspective. We cling to the Old Testament practice and largely forget how Jesus fulfilled it. Peter helps us understand this in his first letter.

He says we are living stones built into a spiritual temple, prepared for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus (1 Peter 2:5; also see Ephesians 2:22).

Yet from our perspective of going to church to encounter God, this verse is confounding. It turns what we do upside down, and that’s the point. Jesus came to turn the old ways upside down and make something new for us.

We need to embrace this. We need to change our perspectives.

Living Stones

As living stones our actions matter. We live for Jesus. We live to honor him, praise him, and glorify him. We live to tell others about him through our actions and even through our words. Our faith is alive, and our actions must show it.

Spiritual Temple

As living stones we become part of the construction of his spiritual temple. And if we are part of his temple, we don’t need to go to church to meet him because, as his temple, we are already there and can experience him at any time.

Holy Priesthood

As living stones we are being made into a holy priesthood. If we are truly priests through what Jesus did for us, then we don’t need ministers to point us to God, explain him to us, and assist us in encountering him. God is preparing us to do that for ourselves as his holy priests.

Spiritual Sacrifices

As living stones and holy priests, serving God in his spiritual temple, we offer to him a spiritual sacrifice. This spiritual sacrifice negates the need for many of the animal sacrifices and offerings we read about in the Old Testament.

This thinking is so countercultural to the way most Christians live today that it bears careful contemplation. Through Jesus we can do things in a new way. We are living stones built into a spiritual temple, being prepared for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices.

This can change everything—and it should.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 1 Peter 1-3, and today’s post is on 1 Peter 2:5.]

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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