As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. — 1 PETER 2:4–5 (ESV)
When the apostle Peter was wrapping up the first of his letters in the New Testament, he wrote about his readers being restored, confirmed, strengthened and established by the God of all grace. Who were these readers? They were people who, by coming to Christ, had become “like living stones” and were being built up as “a spiritual house;” at the same time and place, they were also “a holy priesthood.”
Plainly, God’s intention to establish, strengthen, confirm and restore his people has everything to do with them becoming and remaining stones in the walls of a temple where God is properly worshipped; it also has everything to do with them becoming holy priests offering “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
What we can see in this is that an actual church requires its people to be involved so that the church does not become a temple with gaping holes in the walls, or a temple with priests missing. A real church needs real Christians so that it can be what God, by his grace, has created the Church to be. Real Christians need a real church in order to be the people that God, by his grace, has promised to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish them to be. That is why there will always be a Church.
1. From 1 Peter 2:4–5, in which specific ways do participation in church life and being Christ-centred relate to one another?
2. Can I identify any personal tendencies or points of view that hold me back from a more wholehearted involvement in an actual church?
Mike Wilkins has been the pastor of West London Alliance Church since 1984. He and his wife, Deb, who works for Compassion Canada, have three adult children who live in Tokyo, Los Angeles and London, ON.