Anglican Morning Devotion for 9 February 2022 Anno Domin
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:1-10; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
To whom was Paul addressing this message? “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Are you a stranger to God? Well, yes, you were until the Holy Spirit beckoned you to the Throne of Grace and Mercy just as He had done for those of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. The Gentile nations were populated by what the Jews referred to as ‘strangers’ – not entitled to the tender mercies of God. But God used Paul to change that misunderstanding and false equation. In our text today, these same people are referred to as newborn babes of the faith and as ‘LIVELY STONES.’ The normal property of the stone is that of an inorganic state – lifeless; but God can command the rocks to cry out – and so He does these former strangers.
How came these ‘strangers’ to be the Elect of God? By way of the foreknowledge THROUGH the sanctification of the Holy Spirit of God. These were not the authors of their own salvation, it was God. It was not even their acts of righteousness after salvation that was of worth, The Holy Spirit moved in them through sanctification and obedience by means of the sprinkling of the blood of Christ. This presents a very different scenario of the means of salvation we often hear today – it was, in summary, altogether an act of the grace of God.
What does the reference to ‘lively stones’ mean? It is all wrapped up in the nature and properties of Christ as the Rock of our Salvation. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor 10:1-4) There are too many of our brethren in the reformed faith to cling to the false notion that the Church was founded on the Apostle Peter – not so!
So,what does Christ mean in this verse? “I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) The Greek word for Peter is the masculine ‘Petros’ meaning a fragment of rock or stone. The word for the Rock upon which Christ will build His Church is the feminine form ‘Petras.’ Petras means great, or massive, rock. This latter term refers to Christ. Peter is a ‘petros,’ or fragment from that greater Rock (petras). Peter would not be the stone of fragment upon which the Church was founded, but the ‘executor of the estate on earth’ along with the other Apostles thereof. Christ was the solid foundation Rock. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt 16:19 (KJV)
I hope the reader will be able to observe how each of us, as well, must be stones or fragments from that great Rock which is Christ. Even the fragment bears the same properties, consistency, and nature as the stone from which it is graven. We are like Christ because we are, so to speak, ‘chips off the old block.’
The first ‘strangers’ of our account were previously simply lifeless stones dead in trespasses and sins – inorganic and inert matter; but now, by virtue of the quickening of the Holy Ghost, these became stones with a living spirit – the kind of spirit that never dies. They are lively! May we each hear God’s Voice aright through His Holy Word as did spoke to David: “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me.” (2 Sam 23:3)