Stones that are dressed (shaped) and finished (smoothed) may be joined together to form a strong, stable and solid
structure that can endure great stress, load and pressure from outside forces. These stones are like the living
stones(1) that make up a spiritual house (the church) with each stone (believer) being individually set in place to
support, sustain and buttress the structure as a whole. If we remain as unshaped stones and uncut rocks we
cannot be fitted into a great wall of faith to surround the spiritual areas in which we each live, work and worship.
Corporate unity in the church will come through a continued building up of our faith, intimacy with and knowledge
in Christ(2), as the Holy Spirit builds the house of God, one stone at a time.
God is not only the eternal master builder, He is also the present 'stone dresser' and journeyman who shapes and
prepares each believer to be fitted into and incorporated as an integral part of the body of Christ. This integral
participation by the believer is not something he can achieve by his own effort, but it requires the ministry of the
Holy Spirit to shape him into the likeness of God's Son(3). Only Jesus Christ is the perfect stone, the capstone and
corner stone, "not cut out by human hands"(4). Some in the church today, and even some churches, are
experiencing a 'difficult fit' into the wall of faith. These individuals have not allowed the 'stone dresser' to shape
them into a 'fitted stone' He can effectively place in the body of Christ, His church. Man continues to build and
erect monuments to his own success, secular ideologies and his religious ideals. Most regrettably, many persons
will never know nor have their sanctified place in God's house because they are so concretized in the handiwork
and created things of this world.(5) There are those in spiritual leadership positions which find it difficult to
effectively encourage certain individuals to submit, surrender and yield to the 'stone dresser' and His perfecting
work. In many churches today there seems to be a 'spirit of laissez faire' operating that says, "let them do as they
will .... as long as they don't shake the boat". Heb. 12:26-27 tells us that a 'shaking' is coming that will bring down
those "created things by man" and they will not stand in the days just ahead.
The process of sizing, shaping, smoothing and finishing a faithful stone (believer) may not always be a pleasant
experience. The Holy Spirit's ministry involves 'chiseling' off all the parts and pieces of 'the self' that do not
resemble the Lord Jesus Christ, in order that we may be perfected in His image and likeness (see 2 Cor. 3:18). Often
there seems to be little remaining once the Holy Spirit has finished a particular 'chiseling', yet God is able to mend,
restore, and build anew all those areas in our life and faith which have required the touch of the stone dresser's hand.
"He who falls on this stone will be broke into pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."(6) This admonition
was directed by Jesus to Jews who rejected Him (in unbelief) as Messiah and to anyone who would attempt to pull
down "this stone" (Christ). This spiritual principle applies to all who reject Christ and His gift of saving grace,
through faith. As yet one unfinished stone to another, we have an awesome obligation and responsibility to bring
'uncut rocks' into the house of the 'stone dresser', just as we once were brought in by other believers and the
wooing of the Holy Spirit. "Now is the day of salvation"(7) and tomorrow may never come for all those who have
rejected Christ or have not had an effective witness of His gospel. Be that 'effective witness' of His gospel to others
you do not know. Be that 'effective witness' to those around you who you do know and are in such great need of
God's redemptive work and promise of eternal life. What more important work do we have to do than this in these
latter-days before Christ's return? Be concerned about the 'dressing of your stone' and not so much about your
Armani and Nippon apparel or your religio-corporate-cloaks.
Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin
 (1 Pet. 2:4-5 Niv)  (Eph. 4:13)  (Rom. 8:29)  (Dan. 2:34)  (see Rom. 1:25)  (Matt. 21:44)  (2 Cor. 6:2b)