Grace Lutheran Church Weekly Devotional - 1 Peter 2:2–10 (ESV)

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Published Tuesday, May 9, 2023
by Reverend Steve Zandstra

1 Peter 2:2-10 (ESV)

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation-- 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 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. 6For 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." 7So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," 8and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9But 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. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

As Christian believers, in the Apostles' Creed, we confess the "holy Christian Church."  Which Church is this?  it is not this or that Church we call a "denomination" or any visible church organization on earth.  When we say, "the holy Christian Church," we are simply saying the Church is "the communion of saints," the sum of all true believers in Christ. This is the invisible Church, the Church which only God, the one who "searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought," knows (cf. 1 Chron. 28:9b).  This Church is found wherever the Gospel is preached, and the Sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution.  The Holy Christian Church cannot be found on a map of the world because it is not earthly.  It is spiritual in nature; made up of true Christ believers, who "like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house" (6).  The holy Christian Church is a spiritual house, built upon God Himself.  This "spiritual house" has its being through the Holy Spirit.  It is of God, in God, and unto God, through faith in Christ Jesus alone: who purchased and redeemed the Church with His "precious blood".  He is the "Living Stone", the Rock of Ages, the divine "Cornerstone chosen and precious" (6) that no man can remove.  

By our inherited nature not one of us belongs to the Church. Nothing earthly makes us members of Christ's Church, no ceremony, no attempt at good works, no mumbling of prayers, and certainly no amount of money.  Human reason rejects the "Living Stone" (4).  The worldly educated, the earthly builders, discard the Divine Lord as the "cornerstone.  For them Jesus is a "stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" (8a).  Peter says, "They stumble because they disobey the Word," (8b). 

Peter summarizes that the purpose of the holy Christian Church is proclaiming "the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (9).  This is what the Lord Jesus has called the Church to do.  In the last chapter of Mark's Gospel, Jesus commands, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15).  The Lord is not asking us to give witness to something we have not experienced.  Jesus, who is "chosen and precious" in the sight of God (cf. 4) is also precious to us.  Through His life, His death on the cross, and by His resurrection on Easter Morning, we who were once not a people of God are now "God's people."  We who at one time had not received mercy have now "received mercy" (cf. 10).  Daily we richly experience the grace of God who forgives all our sins.  As "living stones" in the Lord's "spiritual house", His "royal priesthood," we are the instruments of God's Means of Grace, interceding for the world with our prayers and sharing the Gospel, the Good News of God's salvation in the risen Christ: so that as Christ tells us, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16) that they may also be a member of His royal priesthood, to live here in time and here after, forever, in His holy kingdom.

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