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985. As Living Stones

Followers of Jesus are part of a community, not just individuals.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

In the second chapter of 1 Peter, the apostle paints a word picture of Jesus and His followers as stones, living stones. His followers are to see in this way as we come to Him (v. 4). At first, it seems like a strange metaphor. How in the world should one approach a stone, living or otherwise? Then he says that as living stones ourselves, we are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (v. 5).

As we think our way through this, we see that, metaphorically, a building is being constructed, and Jesus is the cornerstone. Individually, each one of His followers, as a uniquely shaped and crafted stone, is inserted in just the right place. No one else can fit into the spaces prepared for us. Since it is a place of acceptable sacrifices, the building is a temple, and we, are also the priests in that temple.

These offerings are not for sin. That issue was settled on the cross. In the Old Testament, some sacrifices were prescribed for thanksgiving and communion with God. The New Testament zeroes in on what now is an acceptable sacrifice. Romans 12:1 says we are to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. This is what God now considers as acceptable and our “spiritual service of worship.

 AS I SEE IT

Peter’s point seems to be that when Christians come together,¬†they constitute a temple. Each individual has a unique role which is realized as he denies and empties himself, offering himself as a living sacrifice so he can be used for the good of the whole body. As priests, we intercede for others, since through Christ, we now have direct access to God.

This is how Christ wants us to see ourselves, as members of a larger body meant for a purpose much greater than ourselves. He wants us to get beyond our own spiritual development and realize that we have been uniquely created, not only to be a one-of-a kind individual, but to perform a necessary function in God’s plan to redeem mankind. It’s time to stop making everything all about us, and start functioning as the living stones where we have been placed.

God’s bigger picture is of Him putting the human race back into its original relationship with Him. John 3:16 reminds us that God’s focus in the whole world, all of humanity, not just you or just me. The cornerstone of the temple is Jesus. This is where our focus should be. Our great desire should be to know Him. From that ever-growing relationship, we will come to see the world as He does, and we will learn to love as He does.

We are here to serve Christ, to love Him, and to satisfy Him, our precious cornerstone, so we can function together as Christ’s temple, the place where He truly dwells. Even when we are not physically together, we should think of ourselves, not as individuals with individual agendas, but as living stones inserted in just the right spot, comprising a magnificent temple honoring our great Lord and Savior for the sake of all mankind. Imagine what God could do with a temple like that if we all started assuming our unique roles…as living stones.

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

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