On Sabbath we learned that hope wins when you stand on the Rock. “Standing on the Rock” is a euphemism for trusting in Jesus. And “the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” 1 Peter 2:6.
For Peter’s readers, living as they were in a honor/shame culture, they felt the shame of a lowered social status because of their belief in Christ. Peter’s words flipped the honor/shame script by telling them that despite the shameful treatment they received from society, they, not their accusers, are the ones who receive the true honor by believing in Christ. That’s hope you can believe in.
Rewind to 1 Peter 2:4-9. The “Living Stone” Peter points his readers to is none other than Christ—“rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—“ 1 Peter 2:4. (See also Isa. 42:11; Mark 1:11.) The destinies of the Living Stone (Jesus) and the “living stones” (believers) are linked—like Jesus, like His disciples. Even as Christ was rejected, but chosen and precious to God, so the followers of Christ will be rejected by the world, but chosen and precious to God. In this world, you will experience rejection, but be of good cheer, you are chosen by God.
Here Peter describes who believers are and what they do. Who we are: “A spiritual house” or “temple,” and “a holy priesthood.” What we do: offer spiritual sacrifices that God accepts.
What is the function of a temple? It was a sacred place where people could see the glory and greatness of their god. At the time of Peter’s writing, the Jerusalem temple was still standing, but not for long. Jesus had said that not one stone would be left on another; every one would be thrown down. (See Matt. 24:1-2.) That prophecy would meet its fulfillment in less than a decade from Peter’s writing.
There would be no temple to declare the greatness of the one true God! Where, then, would His presence be? Peter points to them, and past them to us, and says, you are “living stones” built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Himself as the chosen and precious chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together (unity) and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
The apostle Paul said the same: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Cor. 3:16). Living stones comprise a living temple, which is consistent with possessing a living hope, because of a living Savior. As living stones, you are a living temple where people can see the glory and greatness of the living God. Their magnificent building was about to be taken away. But it’s no longer about magnificent buildings, but about the magnificent life of Christ being built in them.
As our world comes into contact with us, they come into contact with the presence of the living God. O what will the impression be of God when they come into contact with the temple of you? When they enter your presence, will they praise God or curse Him? Will they believe in Him or doubt He exists?
Living stones shine brightest when the earth is out of the way. Even as the moon reflects the glory of the sun the brightest when the shadow of the earth isn’t obscuring it, “living stones” reflect the Son’s glory best when the shadow of the earthliness is out of the way. When we strip away all malice and hypocrisy, deceit, envy and slander, we shine our brightest.
Living Stones are Chosen by God. (Rewind to Ex. 19:6; Deut. 7:6; 10:15; 1 Sam. 12:22; Isa. 62:12.) All of these were promises to Israel. Now Peter applies these to the Gentile converts, and us. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Each stone in an ancient temple was dug and honed in a quarry far from the temple site. They were numbered and later assembled at the temple site—each fulfilling its specific role. God called you by name to fit in His temple. Have you found your place in the family? What is your unique role? Pray and try something. Don’t just sit there. You are a “living” stone, remember? Not a dead rock. God has called you here for a purpose. Find it.
Is your life an offering to God? All of it? Ask yourself: What parts of my life are not an offering to God? And if not offered to God, then to whom? Living Stones offer all of their lives to the Lord.
Your life is to be an expression of the greatness of your God, not an expression of the greatness of your ego. It should say to everyone, “Look how awesome is my God!”
Just as Jesus was chosen by God to reveal and provide His grace, Christians are chosen to reveal that grace and praise God for it. We show the effect of grace in how we live our lives, offering the spiritual (reasonable) sacrifices of yielded hearts (Rom. 12:1) that are free from malice, deceit and slander—stuff that can hurt the church and is part of the old DNA—the empty way of life that was the darkness God called us from.
Today, I call you to be what God created you to be. Let the rocks (the living stones) cry out and declare God’s praises. And remember, it is when you take your place in God’s house that hope wins.–Pastor Randy
p.s. “The Altar Project” is now into Day 4. Washington Conference Prayer Ministries invites you to experience spiritual revival through the restoration of family worship for the next 26 days. For daily prayer and devotional ideas, visit washingtonconference.org/altar.