Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5.
The Jewish temple was built of hewn stones quarried out of the mountains; and every stone was fitted for its place in the Temple, hewn, polished, and tested, before it was brought to Jerusalem. And when all were brought to the ground, the building went together without the sound of ax or hammer. This building represents God’s spiritual temple, which is composed of material gathered out of every nation, and tongue, and people, of all grades, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. These are not dead substances, to be fitted by hammer and chisel. They are living stones, quarried out from the world by the truth; and the great Master Builder, the Lord of the temple, is now hewing and polishing them, and fitting them for their respective places in the spiritual temple. When completed, this temple will be perfect in all its parts, the admiration of angels and of men; for its Builder and Maker is God.16SDA Bible Commentary 2:1029.
The care shown in the building of the temple is a lesson to us regarding the care that we are to show in our character building. No cheap material was to be used. No haphazard work was to be done in matching the different parts. Piece must fit piece perfectly. Just as God’s temple was, so must His church be. Into their character building His people are to bring no worthless timbers, no careless, indifferent work.17SDA Bible Commentary 2:1030.
Now we are in the workshop of God, and the process is going on in these hours of probation to fit us for the glorious temple. We cannot now be indifferent, and negligent, and careless, and refuse to depart from sin, … and expect to become pure and holy and fashioned in character after the similitude of a palace…. Now is the day of preparation; now is the time when we can have our defects removed.18Letter 60, 1886.
A stone that does not shine is worthless. That which constitutes the value of our churches is not dead, lusterless stones, but living stones, stones that catch the bright beams from the Chief Cornerstone, even the Sun of Righteousness.19SDA Bible Commentary 6:1116.