Imagine a builders yard. The ground is cleared. Construction is ready to begin. There in the corner is a block of stone–dressed, hewn, and ready to be set in place. The builders have set it aside as inferior, not realizing that the architect has already chosen it as the cornerstone. It is meant to be the first stone laid–the one that determines the plumb lines and position of all the other stones in the building. The stone the builders have rejected is the most important stone of all.
And so it is with Christ.
Christ is the living Stone upon which we build the foundation of our lives (1 Peter 2:4). And as we come to him, we also are being built together into a spiritual house, or temple, for the Lord. In the Old Testament, the temple was built out of stone as a dwelling place for the Most High. On this side of the cross, God builds his dwelling place among the community of those who have followed Christ as Lord. As the people of God, we are both the temple and the priests that serve in it. We offer spiritual sacrifices–our selves, offered freely and wholly to the Lord. As priests we represent the people to God and God to the people. We show the watching world what our Father is like, and we stand as intercessors for those around us. And all this is built on the foundation of who Christ is and what he has done for us.
Yet some will not accept Christ as their foundation. You can’t be neutral to Jesus. If we do not acknowledge him as Lord and Savior, then we rebel against his rightful authority over our lives. And those who reject him as the cornerstone will discover Christ to be a stumbling block that leads to destruction. If we refuse to accept Christ’s mercy, then we experience only his judgment.
It’s not fun to talk about. But if we really understood the fate of the lost it would motivate and empower our evangelism. For those who believe, the gospel is a means of salvation. But for those who reject it, the gospel is a means of judgment. Our task is to continue to compassionately proclaim truth–pointing people to the gospel and the hope we have in Christ.
And we who have followed Christ are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Peter takes words here that were first spoken to Israel and applies them to the church–Gentile and Jew alike. Once we were not a people, but we have now become the very people of God. We are chosen by God to be a royal priesthood–both kings and priests serving the Most High. We are God’s special possession–priceless and precious to him. And now we are tasked with declaring the wonders of our God who has called us out of darkness into God’s wonderful light. Once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy. And Christ–our foundation–our cornerstone–is faithful.
Questions for Reflection:
- What does it look like to build your life upon Christ as the cornerstone?
- If we as the community of faith are the temple of God, what does that say about the importance of Christian community? What priority should we place on our involvement with the community of faith?
- What are some ways in which you declare the wonders of God?
- What does it mean to you to be part of God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood, and God’s special possession?
- Is Christ your stumbling rock or cornerstone? Why?