Thursday, June 2, 2011

Womb of Stone: Part I

In the second chapter of his 1st epistle, the Apostle Peter describes the way the Lord forms a people for himself as if it were in a womb of stone. He tells how in the purity and innocence of newborn babies we should desire the pure milk of the word of God and grow.

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:1-3).

How do we become "living stones"? In Ezk. 36:26 the Lord tells his people, "I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall take the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." The NIV translates a similar text in Ezk. 11:19 as, "I will give them singleness
of heart." Jesus says that the single-hearted will see God in the Beatitudes in Mt. 5. We are to cast away all of our former transgressions as part of the process of our transformation in Jesus Christ (Ezk. 18:31). We lay aside our former ways. This is not something we do on our own. Only with cooperation on our part with God's freely offered unmerited gift of grace can we become living stones.

Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
“ Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,“ The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,"and
“ A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Peter 2:6-10).

The world rejects Jesus Christ and all those who follow Him. Jesus was rejected but God made him the foundation and cornerstone of our lives--of our eternal lives. He is "precious" to us who believe and it is a marvel to behold the goodness of the Lord in our lives. God chose and predestined us in His Son Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world to be precious, living stones built on Him the true Rock and Foundation. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus tells Peter, "You are rock and upon this rock I will build my Church...and the very gates of hell shall not prevail against it." This is done by the Lord.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain" (Ps.127:1).

We, with the aid of God, build on the Rock of Jesus Christ. When we keep his commands we show that we love him and that we build our house on rock (Jn. 14:15, Mt. 7:24). We are able to withstand the crashing waves, the howling winds, the torrential rains, because we are built on rock and not shifting sands. God builds us up as precious living stones into a beautiful spiritual house. God the Father gave us His only Son Jesus Christ, who through His life, death, and resurrection has washed us making us without spot, blemish or wrinkle that he might present us to himself as a glorious bride and church (Eph 5:27). Fire will test each one's building on the last day. If we build with hay, straw, wood that will be consumed in the fire (1 Cor 3:9-17). If we build with gold, silver, and precious stones, our work will truly be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and we will be God's holy temple in which the Spirit of God has been dwelling all along. The precious materials we build our house with are the spiritual sacrifices we have offered throughout our lives on earth. We will be free like our mother, the Jerusalem that is above (Gal 4:26). The heavenly Jerusalem contains the glory and light of God "like a most precious jasper stone, clear as crystal" (Rev 21:11;18-21).

We look to our mother the Blessed Virgin Mary as our example of someone who contained God's very self: Glory and Light Incarnate. She gave forth light to a world plunged into darkness: being precious jasper that is clear as crystal. Mary was a living stone in whom the Rock not made by human hands took form. More on this in Womb of Stone Part II

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