Like A Living Stone

Please excuse the pun of the Bob Dylan song for the title, and I was tempted beyond what I could stand. “Living stones,” now there is an oxymoron for you. Nothing could be more lifeless than a stone. The article on “stone” in the Dictionary Of Biblical Imagery states that “stone imagery primarily conveys the concept of lifelessness.” So what was Peter thinking (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) when he wrote, “ you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5)?

Peter refers to followers of Jesus as “living stones” because we are participating in the life of Jesus, who is the “living stone.” Jesus had used the image of a “rejected stone” of Himself during His earthly ministry (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17), and Peter had used the image of Jesus as the rejected stone when the Sanhedrin questioned John and Peter about who authorized the message they were proclaiming (Acts 4:11). The idea of being a “living stone” is already embedded in Peter’s response because he noted that God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 4:10) and therefore there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Jesus is a “living stone” because He is the “rejected stone” of prophecy (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; 28:16) but also the “living,” resurrected Lord. Since those who are genuinely following Jesus have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3) by “obedience to the truth” (1 Peter 1:22) “through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). Christians participate in the life of Jesus and are therefore “living stones.”

As “living stones,” we are being built together as the temple of God (the dwelling place of God). All Christians individually are the temple of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32; 1 Corinthians 3:19). However, the more prominent idea of God’s temple (“house”) in the New Testament is the church, “assembly” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:17). We are being “built together” (Ephesians 2:22) on the foundation of Jesus (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:7). Each Christian is a “living stone” that is being “fitted together” (Ephesians 2:21) as the walls of God’s spiritual “house.” Can we do better in being “built together”? Yes! Do not let there be a “hole in the wall” where your stone should be? Remember, if we are not being “fitted and joined together,” we are not part of the spiritual house of God.

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