For this Monday’s Marinate we see God’s plan of redemption at work. When situations seem done for, dead even, God breathes new life.
There are many examples of God’s redemptive works in Scripture and in the testimonies of Christ-followers, turned from sin to salvation. We will save exploration of those for another time. Instead, we’ll focus on a powerful revelation imparted by God.
You yourselves, as living stones are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices.—1 Peter 2:5 NIV
We’re laying foundation with this Scripture just as one would when building a home.
As Christ followers, you and I are living stones. We’re part of the framework God builds into His spiritual house. There are many crucial elements needed to build a home that will endure. Similarly, there are many elements instrumental in upholding God’s holy home.
We are Christ’s active, living, breathing elements. We are part of the masonry He sets and establishes. He gently lays us upon the saints: Paul, David, Mary, Stephen, Moses, Elijah, Rahab, Abraham, John, James, and the many others whose stones were set before ours.
Our position in life wouldn’t be possible without the steps of our spiritual ancestors. Similarly, those who come after us need a strong, sturdy foundation from which to build upon.
I studied this Scripture as part of final teaching moments in Beth Moore’s James Mercy Triumphs Bible study.
Beth leads the reader to the realization we are living stones as our starting Scripture states. She also highlights Christ is the living Stone (1 Peter 2:4) and He is a chosen and precious cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6).
Stones are strong. Stones are textured, unique and variable. Stones vary in weight, size, and substance.
Stones also have demonstrated themselves destructive and deadly.
Part of this study had us explore the death of Christian martyrs. I could hardly stomach the discussion as my eyes read the horrors the saints who set the stones before us endured.
I remember reading a short story in grade school, called The Lottery. It was horrible. I was traumatized. I can’t quite believe this was required reading when I was in 5th grade. (I’m pretty sure it was 5th grade.) The story left an indelible impression upon me. I remember being horrified the community lottery was held, not to win some great prize. Rather, the lottery winner was stoned to death.
Reading about the martyrs’ deaths, those who were stoned, made me think of that horrible story. There was vivid imagery of each stone being slung toward the victim. When I really stop and allow myself to look into the face of the martyrs’ plight, versus politely turning away before I look too closely and feel any angst, I can’t imagine what this must have been like. When I allow myself to be an observer through Scripture of this horrible tragedy, I am saddened and disturbed.
How can humanity be so inhuman?
Here’s part of what Beth shared about James—Jesus’ half brother—in our study, “…not in time for James. Some say he was found guilty and stoned to death. Don’t move past that quickly. Pause long enough to imagine the first few pelts. … It is not a quick way to die and the hands are bound—if not buried—to keep the victim from protecting herself. James was surely bound as well.” *
I know this all feels very heavy right now. All of this talk about stones weighed me down too. I know. Hang on. Redemption is on its way.
God knew it was hard for me to look such violence in the face. He was about to unveil a profound truth as reward for our tough trek together.
I’m going to ask you to slow your reading to a snail’s pace as I impart what God shared with me, the whole reason I wrote this post in the first place.
Here’s what God said, …
“What was used as an instrument of death became imagery of life.”
When I wanted to go back in time and bury every stone so none could be slung at a Saint, I needn’t have.
God redeemed even the stones of death and destruction. Stones became living and breathing images of life left for us as reminder in Scripture.
The words God spoke bare repeating, “What was used as an instrument of death became imagery of life.”
You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the spirit.—Ephesians 2:19-22
Christ is our cornerstone. We are living stones. The saints set before us are a strong and sturdy foundation.
Christ as our cornerstone crushes the enemy. Satan was set on destroying the saints with a stone. Instead, the enemy was permanently buried under the rubble.
QUESTIONS / APPLICATIONS:
- Have you ever seen something you thought was completely “dead” that God redeemed?
- What do you need to believe today that God can redeem?
* Beth Moore, James Mercy Triumphs (Nashville: Lifeway Press®, 2011), 194.