The Living Stone
James Smith, 1859
How many and various are the figures employed to represent our beloved Lord—and yet they all come short of his glory. The whole creation is insufficient to set forth the glory of Jesus. He who created all—must be superior to all. But the representations made of Him, are intended to meet the wants or wishes of poor sinners, or exercised believers; and to set forth the experience of the Lord's people in reference to him. In making these remarks, I have my eye on a passage in the first epistle of Peter, in which the Apostle says, speaking of Christ, "Coming to Him, a living stone—rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God!" 1 Peter 2:4
Jesus is called a STONE, to set forth his invincible strength, endless duration, and the infallible security he gives to his people. He is called a LIVING stone, because he possesses life in himself, imparts life to every believer, and sustains the life he imparts. He was rejected by men, both Jews and Gentiles, because he did not answer their carnal expectations, nor would he gratify their depraved desires. But he was chosen by God, to be the foundation of his Church, the corner-stone of the spiritual temple, and the only way of access to himself.
He is precious in the estimation of God, of angels, and of all saints;
he is honorable, having all the elements of true honor in himself;
he is valuable, beyond example or representation.
He is PRECIOUS, because of his excellent nature, dignified offices, and glorious services. Like the stone Ezel, (1 Samuel 20:19) he shows the way, the way of life, peace, holiness, and honor. Like the stone at Horeb, he pours forth streams of living and life-giving water. Like the two stone tables, the law is to be seen written on him, and written out by him in his holy and beneficent life.
Like the stone laid before Joshua the high priest on which was seven eyes—he attracts universal attention. On him the eye of his Father rests with ineffable delight. On him the eye of the Holy Spirit is fixed with unutterable pleasure. To him the eyes of the angels turn with joy and satisfaction. To him the eye of the poor sinner is directed for life and peace. On him the eye of the believer is fixed with expectation and gratitude. Nor can the devils keep their eyes off him, who has vanquished their chief, and is appointed to judge them all. To him justice looks for satisfaction, and receives it. To him mercy looks for a channel in which to flow, and finds it. It is the wonder of Heaven, the dread of hell, and the desire of all nations.
The experience of his people is represented by coming to Him. It is not a one time act—but the business of all of life. All that they need is in Jesus, and to him they must come for a supply, as they are taught their needs. By nature—we are all at a distance from Christ; and the carnal mind has a rooted dislike to Christ. By grace—we are taught our need of him, a desire is produced in our minds to come to him, and then by faith and prayer we approach him.
Coming to Christ and believing on him are one and the same. I must believe that he is, that he is suited to me, and that I cannot do without him—or I shall never come to him. Having come to him once, and found peace, and enjoyed rest—I shall continue to come. All who are taught by the Holy Spirit come to Jesus to build their hope of salvation on him—to find rest in him—to be quickened by him—or to receive a life from him, and be united to him. Yes, all true Christians come to Jesus, become one with Jesus, and are conformed to Jesus. As he is the living stone, they become lively stones, and are built up a spiritual house. What an honor it is to Jesus, that all our supplies are entrusted to him; and what a comfort it is to us, that we have only to come to Jesus and freely receive all we need.
Reader, do you know the character, use, and design of this stone? It is a LIVING STONE. It forms a firm foundation for us to build on for eternity. It is intended for poor sinners, that they may enjoy peace with God, find rest unto their souls, and be safe amidst all the storms of life, in the article of death, and throughout eternity.
Are you coming to this stone, building on it, and becoming like it? If you have come once, you will come again, and the more you come, the more you will wish to come.
Instead therefore of asking, Have I come to Christ? let us ask, Am I coming to Christ today, and every day of my life? For this is the only certain proof that Christ dwells in us. If you have come to Christ, you are building on Christ, he is the only foundation on which you build for eternity. You rest on his glorious person, and finished work alone, for acceptance with God, and everlasting life. And if you are building on Christ, by a living faith, you obey his word, keep his sayings, and become conformed to his image. No one truly believes on Christ—who does not become growingly like Christ!
Is Christ chosen by you? He is God's choice, is he yours? God chose him to be his salvation unto the ends of the earth, and if you are like-minded with God, you will chose him to be your Savior, and he will become the grand object of your desire. Is Christ precious to you? He is precious to God, being his only begotten Son, his beloved One; and if you are taught and sanctified by the Spirit of God he will be precious, most precious to you. You will esteem him highly, enjoy his presence and his favor, and value him above all besides. "To you that believe—he is precious!" Oh, how precious!
Do you recommend him to others? If you have proved the truth of his word for yourself—if you have found joy and peace in believing on his name—if you are united to him, and daily draw all your supplies from him—how can you refrain from recommending him to others? If you know that souls all around you are living in sin, dying in sin, and are perishing forever as the consequence of their sin—and if you know that there is salvation for them only in Jesus—will you not recommend him to them? And, knowing, that it is only by coming to Jesus, and building on Jesus, that they can enjoy salvation, will you not, must you not, urge them to come to him, that they might have life?
Chosen of God, and precious too
la Christ in each believer's view;
Built upon him, and established here,
They all as living stones appear.
Mo other trust shall intervene,
To him I'll look, on him I'll lean;
And all foundations I'll disown,
But him who is the living stone.
Here my salvation stands secure,
This rock of ages must endure;
Nor shall my hope be overthrown,
Built upon Christ, the living stone!