As we have been discovering, the consecrated life is a life set apart for the Lord. The Christian begins to desire to live a life consecrated to the Lord as he or she matures in their faith. The Lord ultimately brings about that desire through the trials that usher in the maturity of the believer. I would go so far as to say that living a life consecrated to the Lord is the holy purpose and result of the trials and suffering that every believer goes through. It is through them that we desire to serve the One who saved us and got us through. The trials have allowed us to experience the sweetness of a relationship with Christ and a desire to share Him with others who do not know him.
Through the trials and suffering, Christ proves fully sufficient for us and in 1 Peter 2:4-5 Peter communicates that we are set apart and rejected by man but chosen and precious to God. In Old Testament times the priests were set apart and consecrated to the Lord and in this passage Peter tells us that we, through Jesus, are a part of the holy priesthood also.
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
What a strange metaphor Peter makes here calling Jesus a “living stone”. In today’s world, that metaphor doesn’t make too much sense but to the Jewish recipients of Peter’s letter it made all the sense in the world. Their whole lives revolved around the temple building so a building analogy would seem completely understandable and relevant to them.
In this passage Peter reminds them through quotes of Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus, calling him a “cornerstone chosen and precious” and telling the New Testament believers that “whoever believed in him would not be put to shame”(Isaiah 28:16). He also prophesied that Jesus would be a “stone of stumbling” (Isaiah 8:14). He is further explaining here the analogy of the body of believers making up the church. Just as the church has a physical building made of actual stones, the body of believers are described as living stones because each one is an important piece in the collective body of believers making the worldwide church.
When Jesus died, he became the beginning, the cornerstone, of Christianity. Matthew Henry points out in his commentary that “Jesus Christ is the very foundation-stone of all our hopes and happiness. He communicates the true knowledge of God (Mt. 11:27); by him we have access to the Father (Jn. 14:6), and through him are made partakers of all spiritual blessings, Eph. 1:3.” We then, the collective body of Christ, are the other stones that make up the church. The living part of “living stones” refers to our humanness and the living, breathing aspect of the Holy Spirit within the church.
The trials that come our way because of our faith are an extension of this and serve a holy purpose. For the believer, they purify us and draw us closer to the Lord. They separate us from the world. Together, with Jesus as the cornerstone, the body of believers makes up the spiritual temple from which our lights shine into the world. They transform us into living stones.
The life we live as a Christian has likely been a road that has brought us to a place of consecration but one that has also ostracized us from the world. We have likely been rejected by “man” because of our desire to live a life consecrated to the Lord. Those are both sides of the same coin. Both are necessary for us to be fully used by God. Both have a holy purpose to mature us in our faith. Both play a part in our transformation into living stones and both result in the believer consecrating his or her life to the Lord.
As we watch our lives unfold, may we always be looking for evidence of the holy purpose of the trials and the moving towards the consecrated life.
If you enjoyed this article, you can find more in this series on Consecration here:
This is also a part of a series called Holy Purpose, a study on 1 and 2 Peter. You can find more in that series here.