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"Every Christian a Priest: Living Stones" (posted January 1, 2006)
       Read Parts 2 and 3 of this series:
       "Every Christian a Priest: A Holy Priesthood"
       "Every Christian a Priest: A Royal Priesthood"

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
   - 1 Peter 2:4-5

We want the reader to open his Bible and read 1 Peter 2:1-9. In this lovely Scripture are three words on which we will dwell for a little. They are words of weight and power, words conveying to our hearts a fact which we cannot too deeply ponder, namely, that Christianity is a living and divine reality. It is not a set of doctrines, however true; a system of ordinances, however imposing; a number of rules and regulations, however important.

Christianity is far more than any or all of these things. It is a living, breathing, speaking, active, powerful reality, a divine and heavenly power introduced into the scenes and circumstances through which we have to move, as men, women, and children, from Sunday morning to Saturday night. It does not consist in holding certain views, opinions, and principles, or in going to this place of worship or that. Christianity is the life of Christ communicated to the believer, dwelling in him and flowing out from him in the ten thousand little details which go to make up our daily practical life.

First, then, we have the word living. "Coming to Him as to a living stone ... you also, as living stones, are being built up" (1 Peter 2:4-5). Here we have what we may call the foundation of Christian priesthood. There is evidently an allusion here to that profoundly interesting scene in Matthew 16:15-18 to which we must ask the reader to turn for a moment. "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus desired to know what His own thought about Him---what estimate their hearts had formed of Him. "Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"

Here we have the true confession. Here lies the solid foundation of the whole edifice of the Church of God and all true practical Christianity---Christ the Son of the living God. "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church."

Now, it is evidently to this magnificent passage that the apostle Peter refers when he says, "Coming to Him as to a living stone ... you also, as living stones, are being built up." All who believe in Jesus are partakers of His risen, victorious, rock life. Thus we have the living God, the living Stone, and the living stones.

All believers are built upon the living Stone, Christ; and are thus constituted living stones. He makes them like Himself in every respect, save of course in His incommunicable deity. Here, then, we repeat, is the solid foundation of the Christian priesthood---the priesthood of all believers. Before anyone can offer up a spiritual sacrifice, he must come to Christ, in simple faith, and be built on Him as the foundation of the whole spiritual building.

How precious are these words! God Himself has laid the foundation, and that foundation is Christ; and all who simply believe in Christ---all who give Him the confidence of their hearts---all who rest satisfied with Him, are made partakers of His resurrection-life, and thus made living stones.

Charles H. Mackintosh

[excerpted from "The Christian Priesthood" in The Mackintosh Treasury (pp. 790-794). Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1976.]
The entire article may also be found online at the STEM Publishing website.

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