Block by block God is building a house. He isn’t building it with ordinary stones. His stones are living and breathing and worshiping. His stones are people. He isn’t building a bunch of different buildings, but we are being built up together into one glorious building. We belong together.
God is a master architect. He has had a blueprint in mind since before creation. He has built everything resting on Jesus. Without Jesus everything crumbles. Jesus is the centerpiece—the cornerstone—of God’s plan. As the Cornerstone, Jesus is also a living stone. While living in the world, he was rejected by men. However, God honored and accepted his sacrifice (vs.4-5). This was part of the plan.
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 2:4-5, ESV
Today, we can have one of two responses toward Jesus: belief or unbelief (vs.6-8). Jesus is either your precious cornerstone or he is your stone of stumbling. Jesus either saves you from shame or he offends you. You trust in him or he trips you up.
“For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,a cornerstone chosen and precious,and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” – 1 Peter 2:6-8, ESV
Christians are unlike anything the world has ever seen. They are different. They stand out. In Christ, they have a new identity, which displays itself in four ways: 1) they are chosen by God (v.9a), 2) they are given a position of privilege with direct access to God (v.9b), 3) they are holy before God (v.9c), and 4) they are treasured by God (v.10).
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” – 1 Peter 1:9-10, ESV
Like Jesus, we live in the world. We are living stones. While living in the world we are to walk with a new integrity. No longer do we walk in darkness. We walk in the light. No longer do we live for ourselves. We live to glorify God. No longer do we want to live like the world. We live like we are sojourners (vs.11-12). We live within the new reality that this world is not our home. We live for the new home God is building for us.
Questions for Reflection:
- What is the meaning of “living stones of a spiritual house”? Who or what are these “living stones”? How does this illustration help you understand God’s plan?
- What is a cornerstone? Why is Jesus described as the Cornerstone? What happens to your life if Jesus isn’t your cornerstone?
- What does it mean that Jesus is a stumbling stone? What are some things Jesus said or did that offended people? Does it bother you that Jesus would be a stumbling block?
- What titles are Christians given in this passage? (see v.9) What is the significance of each title? Which of those titles are most encouraging to you? Which title would you like to understand better?
- What is the purpose of the priesthood? What is your ministry as a priest?
- According to this passage, what is the expected response of people to the gospel?
- Why is it important to maintain a good reputation with those who are not Christian? Why does worldliness damage our reputation? What is your reputation?
- What darkness has Christ called you out of? What does the light look like in your life?
- What passions of the flesh wage war with your soul? How does your new identity help or hinder your battle against these things?