Living stones 7 The spiritual house

The spiritual house

As we saw in part 5 of this study, the Master is the living stone, and we are called to emulate his example (1 Peter 2:4,5). However, this is not simply a promise of what is to come, when we shall be united with him, by grace. This is also a challenge, and a command, for today. In Ephesians 2 we read of the privileged position in which faithful Gentile believers find themselves today. They were, says verse 12:

  1. Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel;
  2. Strangers from the covenants of promise;
  3. Having no hope;
  4. Without God;
  5. In the world.

It is a harrowing picture of alienation and despair. But now this has changed. It could not be more different. Now, through the blood of Jesus Christ, believing Gentiles are made nigh (verse 13). The “middle wall of partition” is broken down (verse 14). The enmity is abolished (verse 15), and they are reconciled to God (verse 16). Now, access to the Father, which was previously barred, is made open, through His faithful Son (verse 18). In this context, the language of stones and buildings is used again:

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone …” (verses 19,20)

Believers are “fellowcitizens”, and part of “the household of God”. The picture is of those who were previously outside a particular community or family being welcomed in. We think of people such as Rahab – formerly “without the camp” of Israel, yet allowed to become part of the nation and to enjoy all the spiritual privileges which had been withheld from her. Such people base their beliefs on a firm foundation: the apostles (New Testament), and the prophets (Old Testament).

Chromolithograph from “La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ . . . . avec des notes et des dessins explicatifs par J. James Tissot” 1896-97.

It is in this context that Jesus is described as the “chief corner stone”. Any “corner stone” is important in a building. A “chief” corner stone is absolutely essential. What are we being shown? That without Christ we are lost. He is the corner – in him Jew and Gentile come together in love and hope:

“In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (verses 21,22)

Does something in this phrase strike you as unusual? Look at any building project – whether a small extension on the side of a house or a multi-storey tower block. Could it ever be said that such a construction “grows”? It really isn’t the kind of language we would normally use. Anything which “grows” is alive. Paul uses this term showing that, as an ecclesia, we who were once dead are now alive, and must develop in love. Individually and collectively, we are commanded to grow – as living stones we advance in our discipleship, awaiting that time when the Master will be here and the spiritual temple completed.


  • Jonathan Cope



Living stones 1 A lifeless and a lively stone

Living stones 2 Attributes

Living stones 3 Jacob and a “living stone”

Living stones 4 Idols of wood and stone

Living stones 5 Abraham’s seed and gentiles

Living stones 6 Stones that will cry out

Counting sands and stars

Today’s thought “God spoke all these words” (February 15)

Thought for September 8 Weak but standing strong in the ground swell



Additional reading

  1. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  2. The one who set the standard
  3. Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction
  4. Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant
  5. The stone of essential truth



  1. The Southern Steps and the Wailing Wall
  2. Master Builder
  3. ​The stone that the builders refuse
  4. The Apostle
  5. 1 Peter 2

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