Saturday, October 24, 2020

Three Powerful Analogies

"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" (1 Peter 2:5)

At the end of the first chapter of 1 Peter we find an interesting analogy of the Christian life, and at the beginning of chapter two we find two more. First, 1 Peter 1:23–25 tells us that all men are like grass. Man is made of earth, according to Genesis 2:7, and grass springs from the earth, according to Genesis 1:11–12. According to Genesis 3:18, the earth brings forth thorns and thistles because of man’s sin, and carrying through the imagery, we see that the offspring of earthy man has often been human thorns and human thistles (Judges 9:14–15; Psalm 1; wheat and tares, etc.).

Human grass withers and human flowers fade, says Peter, but the Word of God is permanent. We have been born anew through the imperishable seed of the Word of God, and so we are grass that will never die; we are flowers that will never fade. As we continue to grow in the Word, we shall blossom forever like the flowers permanently carved in the temple walls.

Second, 1 Peter 2:2 says that the readers are like newborn babes and so should thirst for the milk of the Word. But they should also seek to grow beyond the milk to the meat, a point made in Hebrews 5 (see the lesson for October 9). The Word is not only the seed that causes us to be born into a new flowering humanity but is also the fertilizing milk that helps to continue growing.

Third, 1 Peter 2:4–5 says that we are like living stones. Stones are hard earth, so that the analogy of stone is another extension of the fact that we are made of earth. Adam was the first soil of humanity, but he proved soft and rotten. The Second Adam is the last soil of humanity, and He is firm as a rock. He is the Living Stone. As we are being conformed to His image by the Spirit, we become living stones as well.

In the Old Testament, the stones of the temple symbolized the community of God arrayed around His throne worshiping Him day and night. Because of sin, close access to God’s presence was denied to the Old Testament saints, so physical stones represented them there. But now that Christ has entered into the Most Holy Place, we living stones draw near as a new temple to offer Him worship through the Spirit.

God’s house is to be adorned with flowers and precious stones. We are to grow holy in God’s sight, forming a temple made of gold, silver, and jewels. This is the “beauty of holiness.” Sanctification is beautification. Allow the force of these analogies to play in your mind and give you a new vision of what it means to grow in Him.