One of my least favorite classes in college was “Components of Design.” It was a class that taught students all the technical aspects of building systems, the structural materials of interior design and architecture in relation to building codes, and many other riveting details. Although I chose this field of study, it was hard for me to get very excited about the ins and outs of what it took to properly construct a building. Then one day, I realized I wasn’t viewing this class with the end goal in mind…
All the interior and exterior materials of a building, each minute measurement, every single stone is required to have a fully functional and finished structure. Each piece is a representative of the whole. In the first century, there were no formal floor plans or blue prints, no computers with advanced design programs that tell the builders the exact measurements they need. When forming a structure, the builder would have to carefully examine each rock and stone. He would use a chisel to knock off the rough edges, and he didn’t have any machines to help him! With his own two hands, he carefully examined, shaped, and placed each individual stone. We know from Scripture that Jesus is the firm foundation upon which we, His Church, are built (1 Corinthians 3:11), and God is the Builder. In 1 Peter 2:4-10, Peter uses this metaphor of a building with individual stones to show how we, His Church, are strategically stacked to be one powerful structure full of His presence.
Believers Are Living Stones in the Church
These first couple verses remind us that—like Jesus, THE living Stone—we will be rejected by the world. Rejection and suffering are things we should expect to come when we choose to follow Jesus. But we can find peace in knowing that we are loved and chosen by God, whose Son has overcome the world (John 16:33)! Notice in verse 5 it says, “you also, like living stones, are being built…” (NIV). The phrase “are being built” lets us know this is a PROCESS. We are continually being shaped and molded into the stones meant to construct God’s house, just as a mason has to form the stones before he lays them in place.
As we are shaped and refined into these living stones, we have to remember who we are and Whose we are. We are a people who believe (verse 7) that a stone was rolled away so that the LIVING stone could emerge victoriously (Luke 24:2-3). We are God’s chosen people, His own possession, who He counts as royal and holy (verse 9). What a comfort it is to know that the Creator sees us—broken, messed up sinners—and calls us His own! In light of this truth, every step we take should be for the purpose of proclaiming His glory.
I love how verse 9 talks about being “called out of darkness into His wonderful light.” So often my guilt and shame beckon me to dwell in darkness, but Jesus gently reminds me that living in His light means my sins are forever cleansed by His blood (1 John 1:7). This forgiveness of sins isn’t something I could ever begin to deserve, but God is His great mercy chooses me and uses me as one of His living stones anyway! I am so thankful for His intentionality in placing me in youth ministry where I get to talk with teenage girls about Christ’s unfathomable love for us, and what it looks like to live in relationship with Him. There were times throughout my high school career where I would let the world influence how I lived and who I thought I wanted to be. Praise God for His unending grace, that His steadfast love remains even in my unfaithfulness!
Christ Is the Cornerstone of the Church
Jesus is the ultimate example of holy living, the One who we strive to honor and emulate. In 1 Peter 2:6, Peter recalls the passage in Isaiah 28 that identifies Jesus as a “chosen and precious cornerstone.” Because He was chosen first, He is our foundation, and we are counted precious when we are in Him. What does it really look like to be “in Him?” If you’re anything like me, you’ve asked yourself this question before. I believe we get our answer to this question from Scripture. Through the reading of God’s living Word and through consistent communication with Him, our minds are daily renewed and transformed, equipping us to be able to discern God’s good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). As we do this, we are inviting the Lord to dwell within us. I don’t know about you, but I’m not always as consistent as I need to be when it comes to setting aside intentional time with God. And you know what? The people around me can always tell when I haven’t spent time with Him! Isn’t it funny how that works? Our body is a temple, and if we fill it with anything BUT God, we aren’t leaving any room for His light to shine through us.
Something else Peter shows us from this passage is this: although Jesus was chosen by God, He was rejected by man. It is always difficult for me to truly consider the degree of “rejection” He experienced on our behalf. He was spat on, beaten, whipped, skin ripped from His flesh, thorns thrust into His head, forced to carry the cross He would hang on, pierced with nails, and hung in such a way that made it impossible to breathe. But, with His final breath, He declared that the power of sin and death was FINISHED! Do you believe that powerful truth today, ladies?
Finally, as living stones modeling our lives after THE living stone, we have a responsibility. We are to live our lives in such a way that those who do not believe may see Jesus through us. Verse 7 reminds us that those who do not believe stumble because they live in rebellion and reject Christ’s message. His wrath is against them. This is why we must daily strive to make Him known.
Reread 1 Peter 2:4-10. The first words say, “As you come to Him….” Coming to Christ includes our initial repentance and faith in Him, but the Greek tense implies a continual drawing near. We as living stones need to daily seek the Living Stone, the Rock that is higher than us (Psalm 61:2). After all, Jesus Christ—the Rock—is the Living Cornerstone of the Church. We, too, are living stones when we are in Him, and He holds us together as we are “strategically stacked.” He places us with intentionality in our respective communities for the purpose of being a light for His glory. In light of this truth, let us make it our prayer to be mighty, living stones displaying His splendor to the world! Wherever He has placed you—whether you’re a youth worker like me, a teacher, a student, a designer, a stay-at-home mom, or a daughter—you have the power of Christ in you today! This is how we position ourselves as the church, ready to be built up day by day, piece by piece…knowing that we are each a part of the spiritual house God is building. And one day, with each stone laid in place, the house will be complete.
Father God, I praise Your name because You love me and have chosen me. Help me to live each day in light of the cross, and to keep Jesus–the Living Stone–at the center of my life. Give me the strength to seek You every day, every hour, every minute. Shape and mold me according to Your will.
1 Corinthians 3:16
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 Corinthians 10:31
Biblical Femininity by Chrystie Cole
Simply Christian by N.T. Wright
The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer