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Bible Passage 1 Peter

1 Peter 2:1-12: Living Stones

  • Tony Raker
Date preached June 26, 2022

1 Peter 2:1-12: Living Stones

The term “living stones” in 1 Peter 2:5 is used as a metaphor to illustrate the secure and intimate relationship believers have with Jesus, who is described in the previous verse as the “living Stone” (v. 4). Together, these two verses picture how Christ and His followers are joined by God Himself:

1 Peter 2:5you 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

  • Grammatical Usage:being built up” or in the Greek, “oikodomeó” meaning, “construct, edify, encourage”; “holy” or “hagios” meaning, “likeness of nature with the Lord”; “priesthood” or “hierateuma” meaning, “access and offering to God”; “sacrifices” or “thusia” meaning, “offering prescribed by God.”
  • Literal Interpretation:you yourselves are living stones being constructed, edified and encouraged as spiritual temple, identifying as the Lord’s in our new nature with access and offering to God as prescribed by God because of the work of Jesus Christ.
  • Contextual/Comparison: God keeps His Word: God continually uses His Word. In his first letter Peter gives us a seven-fold description of believers, and the description is as true of Christians today. Peter tells us what true believers are, and he emphasizes their privileges; but every privilege carries with it a responsibility, and so he tells us what our responsibilities are as Christians. In the following seven-fold description of believers notice the relationship between this matter of privilege and responsibility.  Peter describes the function of the living stones: to “declare the praises” of Him who called us out of the darkness of sin into the light of life and glory ( 9). This is the “job description” of a living stone: a speaker of praise, a declarer of truth and love and light:
  1. In 1 Peter 2:2, believers are described as ‘newborn babies.’

What an immense privilege it is to be a child of God, to be born into the Royal Family of Heaven and to have God as our Father (1 John 3:1)! Babies do not appreciate the privilege of their position and parenthood while they remain babies, but the privilege is there. But what is our responsibility as newborn babies? 1 Peter 2:2 gives us the answer: to feed on the Word of God in order that we may grow up into strong children and then into adulthood. We can only grow if we eat, and if we do not feed adequately on the right food we shall remain babies and our spiritual growth will be impaired. In order to prevent this from happening we must “crave pure spiritual milk” of the Word. There is no substitute for this; later on we must feed upon the ‘strong meat’ of the Word (Hebrews 5:12; 14).

  1. In 1 Peter 1:14, believers are described as ‘obedient children.’

This is an advance on 1 Peter 2:2, for here we are not ‘babies’ but ‘obedient children’; we are growing up; and it is a privilege to be a child with the ability to understand what God has done in His grace in making us His own. Our responsibility as children is to be obedient. The Greek word in 1 Peter 1:14 means, ‘As children of obedience.’  This tells us that when we are born again the principle of obedience is placed within us. We are clearly told how this obedience expresses itself in 1 Peter 1:14-16 as J.B. Phillips renders it: “Don’t let your character be molded by the desires of your unregenerate life, but be holy in every department of your life.”  Here is our responsibility. Because we are children of God who is holy, we must be holy, and this is a matter of straightforward obedience. It is most important for us to see this and act upon it, for it is only as we obey the Lord that we shall become holy people.

  1. In 1 Peter 2:5, believers are described as “lively stones.”

Here undoubtedly Peter is thinking of the incident recorded in Matthew 16:13-20 (specifically v. 18).  What a privilege it is for us to be a stone in the spiritual building, the temple of God!  We are not dead, lifeless stones but active in word and deed, representing Jesus to others as offerings to God.

  1. In 1 Peter 2:11, believers are described as “aliens and strangers.”

Our responsibility as temporary residents is to see that we do not become engulfed in and stained with the life of the world, but that we are separate from sinful and worldly things and that our whole manner of life is marked by spiritual and moral integrity.

  1. In 1 Peter 2:16, believers are described as “servants of God.”

Here Peter says that believers are free people, for Christ has given us liberty, but we are not to make our liberty an excuse for lack of engagement or entertaining questionable indulgencies. It is a great privilege to be God’s servant, but what a tremendous responsibility rests upon us as His servants, as His bond-slaves – because to own Him as Master and Lord means to be ready to do His will. A servant in the royal household of Heaven must be very disciplined and very loyal in his manner of life and in his service. He must also be ready for anything and be at the disposal of his Master.

  1. In 1 Peter 4:9-10, believers are described as “good stewards.

We are to be hospitable to each other and we are to serve one another with the particular gifts which God has given to us. The fact that God has entrusted us with special gifts again emphasizes what privileged people we are. Some Christians have a lovely home, money, the gift of friendship…but they are only stewards of these gifts; their responsibility is to use these faithfully, not merely for their own enjoyment but for the benefit of others, and they are to do this for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).

  1. In 1 Peter 4:15-16, believers are described as “Christians”. The word “Christian” is used three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ (again, “holy” or “hagios” meaning, “likeness of nature with the Lord.”) The word “Christian” literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or a “follower of Christ.”
  • Conclusion: Do you belong to the party of Christ?