To say the believers of the dispersion were misunderstood is an understatement. Increasingly, they were being persecuted for that which they didn’t do under the guise that they believed something which they didn’t believe. They were becoming a convenient scapegoat for Nero and there would be no public outcry on their behalf as many who looked upon them didn’t like what they were seeing in themselves. Can’t help but think there’s some connection to us pilgrims today.
We live in a culture where we’re increasingly misunderstood. Our conviction misrepresented as intolerance. Our love for the lost cast as hatred for the least. Our willingness to diagnose the disease in order to point people to the cure seen as a desire to demean others and leave them with guilt and shame. Our light shunned by the darkness, our salt increasingly leaving a bad taste in the world’s mouth.
And it can have a way of wearing you down. Eventually everyone gets tired of swimming upstream. Even the most determined might wonder, at times, if it’s worth it all. But I’m reminded this morning that it’s not really about how much we, as believers, are liked. But who we, as believers, are like.
As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you 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. For 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.”
(1Peter 2:4-6 ESV)
We are like living stones. Cast in the image of the Living Stone, the One disapproved of men, but with God choice, precious.
The chosen and precious Cornerstone upon which we as living stones are being built up as a spiritual dwelling place. The great High Priest of a better covenant fashioning us into His holy priesthood, honored, through no merit of our own, to boldly approach the throne of God with spiritual sacrifices. Sacrifices acceptable to God, though unappreciated by men, as they are offered through Jesus Christ.
And though the media might mischaracterize us, though our culture might misunderstand us, because we are like the Living Stone, the One chosen and precious in God’s sight, we who believe in Him and have been made like Him, as living stones, will not be put to shame.
Whatever dishonor we experience in this life will give way to honor in the next. Any disgrace we suffer now due to the propaganda of the father of lies, will be replaced in that future day when, because of His grace and enabling, we hear “Well done” from the Father of Lights. Any embarrassment we experience now because of false accusations soon to be displaced with an eternal glory as we are presented the victor’s crown.
. . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37 ESV)
We are like living stones. Knit together to be the place of His dwelling now through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:21-22). Called together to bear the privilege of proclaiming “the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Pet. 2:9). Possessing together the promise that we too, like the Living Stone, are deemed by our God to be chosen and precious, and will one day hear, “Enter into the joy of Your Master.”
Like living stones . . . being conformed to the image of the Living Stone.
By His grace. For His glory.