1 Peter 2: 4-10
Peter takes the argument of what our Lord has done for us to show how we are to be as a corporate collaboration of people in Him. The call is to come to Christ because He is the Living Stone, just as He called us to in Matthew 11:28-30. Here, we have an image of how our Lord is our cornerstone and how we as a Church should function, as we are all interlocked, plumed with purpose with our calls, gifts and abilities to one another all in Him (Eph. 4)! Christ is constructing a building of faith and eminence to be His Church made up of the stones of "us" laid upon the foundation of Him. Thus, our faith needs to grow from us personally and then move into our community, so we can interlock with one another, fastened by the mortar of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).
Peter tells of the incredible transition from the Temple and the priesthood to the Church-foretold, but still inconceivable to the Jewish mindset. Christ is our stone bridge and gives us continuity and purpose. Jesus is the Foundation, Pillar, and Purpose of the Church, and we, as His people, are the church. We are not cold stones that are stationary and which decay; rather, we are living and movable, cemented together as a corporate identity in Him.
Yet, as perfect and precious as our Living Stone is, people do not understand Him and therefore reject Him out of fear of conviction. His way gets in the way of their way (my way), because they want a warrior Messiah, not a Savior and Convector of their souls. However, when we are in Him, we have no need to fear. He gives us the comfort, protection, and the deep love we need. We, too, are precious in God's sight!
· Coming to Him. This is an image from Isaiah 28:16, as we are chosen and precious in Him. Our call here is to continue to draw near to God! The key issue here is even though we are chosen, in order to be fully accepted, we must have repented! Our repentance is a result of our salvation; it comes after His saving grace. If repentance came first, our salvation would have been earned, and we can't earn it (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 1:17; 3:31- 5:21; 10:14‑17; 1 Cor. 1:18‑2:16; 15:1‑8; 2 Cor. 5:13-6:2; Gal. 2:15- 5:1; Phil. 3:4-14; Eph. 1:3‑14; 2:8-9; 1 John 1:9)!
· Living stone means the foundation, the source of something, such as a building or a family (Psalm 118:22; Isa. 8:14; 28:16). This means Jesus is the Spiritual Temple. He is the place and focus of worship. It is no longer a building; it is a community in relationship to Him. Jesus was a carpenter in His human occupation and perhaps frequently worked with stonemasons or did masonry, too. Peter picks up this image from the Gospels. Christ is the Stone, our Giver of life, our Source and Foundation for all we are and do (Matt. 21:42; John 1:4; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 15:45)!
· Living stones. The plural refers to our union in Him. This means Christian community and fellowship is a "spiritual house," as we are all in Christ as one and we derive our life from Him. Our identity in Him must affect us personally and publicly, synergizing as a community (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 15:45) that is formed, indwelt, and empowered by the Spirit (Acts 2:33). We are all precious, important, and have a job to do as a moving, living temple, reflecting His love and holiness (John 2:19; Ro 12:1; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb 7:26; 10:10).
· Chosen by God means people belonging to God for a purpose. Just as Israel was set apart to be priests and missionaries to the world, we too are designated to reach the world (Gen. 12:1-3; Duet 4:20; 7:6; 14:2; 28:9; Isa 43:10, 20-21; 44:1-2; 61:6; Hos 1:6-10; Mal 3:17; Acts 2:11; Rom. 9:25-26; 10:19; Eph 1:4).
· Spiritual House refers to the O.T. Temple as God's dwelling place. Here, house is more than a building; it is also a legacy, a large family or dynasty such as the "House of Israel." Thus, the Church is God's dwelling place and legacy (2 Sam. 7:5-7, 12-16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb. 3:6).
· Holy priesthood refers to Exodus 19:5-6. We, as Christians, are now a part of His Kingdom, representatives of Christ, His living Body on earth. Now, as believers, we hold the role of priests too, because we all have the same access to God that, prior to the Cross, only the priests had (Ex. 23:22; Isa. 61:6; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:20; Heb. 2:9; 13:15). Jesus Christ is our only Mediator; we do not need to go to another person-priest or rabbi-or object, but directly to God ourselves (John 14:6).
The context of this passage is also that of 1 Peter 1:1-12. The theme is that Omniscience and free will go together-beyond our comprehension. Spurgeon said it best: "they're friends" (Psalm 139)! Here are some thoughts to consider: God knows all things and His understanding is totally comprehensive. All that is in the past, all in the present, and all to come in the future are complete in His knowledge. In addition, His foreknowledge is contingent and interconnected but not moved by all the freely done choices and actions of humanity. Thus, our actions cannot change or move God, and all that we think and do are in His providence. At the same time, His providence does not necessarily cause us to act or respond. We still do so out of our free will. Our free will is in conjunction and in the boundaries of God's perfect, sovereign will and foreknowledge. Yes, this is a mind blower, but we are not God, nor do we have His omniscience and omnipotent thinking power!
The rejection of the world did not diminish Christ and does not diminish those who are in Christ. Our glory and place are far greater than anyone who rejects Him could ever conceive of. Faith in Christ requires our efforts and yielding; such effort is hard for most, and impossible for the person who is self-absorbed and only sees him or her self and will stumble. We have to see Christ as our Capstone or all we see is what we want-things that fade and become meaningless.
In order to do the work of God, we must be the people of God! As Christians, we are chosen by Him to be in Him as His possession in love. He called us out of our darkness into His Light by His mercy; He sets us apart to be holy participants in His Kingdom (Heb. 12:14). Thus, we are called to show this wonderful, incredible place we have in Him to others by our goodness, attitude, and deeds-and, if necessary, with words.
- If you had to build your own house, what materials would you use and what would you hope it would look like?
- Have you ever thought of the church as a corporate collaboration of people in Him? How so? Why not?
- The Church is made up of stones of "us" laid upon the Foundation of Him. So, how is your church a reflection of this passage?
- How is your church a building of faith? How could your church be a better building of faith? What could your role be?
- How is the faith of some Christians like "cold stones" that are stationary and that decay?
- What causes coldness? How can you guard yourself from this mindset?
- Why did people back then reject Jesus? What are the reasons today that people reject Him? How do we reject Him with our behaviors, attitudes, feelings…?
- How do you feel that you are a priest, a representative of Christ?
- What can you do more with the call of being a priest?
- How is Christ the Foundation of your church?
- What needs to take place so that people will fully realize this?
- What would your church look like if people really did practice honest hospitality and the Fruit of love?
© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org/