Living Stones

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 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. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, behold I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” – 1 Peter 2:4-8

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We have learned thus far in chapter two of First Peter that in order for the church to stay united, to stay together in these troubled times, we must lay aside the sins that tears us apart. It is obedience to the Word and an unfeigned love for one another, as seen in chapter one, that holds the body of Christ together. However, when there is malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speakings amongst God’s people, the very fabric that holds us together is ripped apart. Peter continues in chapter two by explaining how the church is one spiritual building. “There is only one Saviour, Jesus Christ, and only one spiritual building, the church. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of the church (Eph. 2:20), binding the building together. Whether we agree with each other or not, all true Christians belong to each other as stones in God’s building.”[1] There are two stones that Peter mentions in these verses: The chief corner stone and the living stones.

                The Chief Corner Stone. The chief corner stone is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is described in three ways. (1) He is the living stone. “The living stone that Peter mentions in verse four, refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter probably drew this theme from Ps 118:22, where the stone rejected by the builders becomes the cornerstone. In Acts 4:11 Peter appealed to this same verse to refer to Christ’s death and resurrection/exaltation.”[2] (2) He is the chosen stone. Jesus was elected by God to be the Savior of the world. God chose to provide a plan of redemption for all of mankind that is made possible by the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Isaiah 42:1 mentions that God elected Jesus to bring judgement upon the Gentiles. In other words, Jesus was elected by God the Father to take upon Himself the sin of mankind in order that the propitiation of sin might be made for the salvation of all who would believe. (3) He is the precious stone. There is nothing more precious than the name of Jesus. He is everything we need. He is all we could ever hope for. He is the bright and morning star. He is the fairest of ten thousands. He is the lily of the valley. No one can ever compare to the glory and majesty of Jesus. He is indeed the precious stone.

The Living Stones. The living stones that Peter mentions are those who have placed their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. The living stones are all believers in Christ who are built together into a glorious spiritual house known as the church. Our purpose in this life as living stones is to be a holy priesthood that is offering up spiritual sacrifices that our acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. What are these spiritual sacrifices that we are to offer up to God? The answer is found in Romans 12:1-2. We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. In other words, just as Jesus gave His life for us, we are to live our lives for Him. We are to be a holy sacrifice. Such a holy sacrifice is one that is not conformed to the ways of the world. It is not tainted by worldliness. Instead, it is a sacrifice that has been transformed by the power of the Gospel. These living stones are those who have not stumbled in disobedience; rather they are those who find the chief corner stone as precious because of their obedience to Him.

Peter explains that the stone was disallowed by the builders. This is a reference to God’s chosen people of Israel, who as a nation rejected Jesus as the messiah. The cross of Christ is not precious to those who do not believe, however, it becomes a rock of offense. This is true in our day. Many have refused to believe in Jesus and the very name of Jesus is an offense to them. Think about how the world today is so offended by the cross. They are offended by the name of Jesus. As a result, many believers around the world are persecuted. However, during these troubled times, we must not forget who we are. We are the living stones. As living stones we are built up together as one spiritual house untied in our common love for Christ and for His church. Remembering ourselves as living stones should motivate us to offer up our lives as spiritual sacrifices to God.

[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 400–401). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Schreiner, T. R. (2003). 1, 2 Peter, Jude (Vol. 37, p. 104). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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