You can listen to the podcast here.
Last week we saw that Peter wanted his readers to make a decision to lay aside certain behaviors in order to grow and mature in the faith.
Grab your Bible and read this great passage in 1 Peter 2:4-10.
The first thing Peter mentions is Christ’s status. Jesus is called a living stone. Salvation is a free gift that must be accepted. This alludes to the fact that we each must make a decision to accept the gift that God offers in His son. Jesus is not dead. Jesus is a living stone. He was, “. . . rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God.” This is how it is today. Things the Lord finds value in, man does not. Integrity. Honor. Character. In Luke 9:22, Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” Jesus was rejected by man, but in God’s eyes, He was the chosen vessel. He was precious. This word is normally applied to jewels and gems. Precious means held in honor, cherished, of high worth or value. Remember in 1:7 Peter said that the proof of our faith is more precious than gold. In 1:19, Peter calls the blood of Christ precious. Peter calls us living stones in v. 5 and gives us a construction metaphor of our position in Christ. “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: ‘BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’” (1 Pe. 2:5-6)
In building a stone structure, the most important stone is the cornerstone. All the walls are aligned with this one stone so it must be carefully chosen and properly placed. Jesus is the cornerstone which all other living stones will placed. The spiritual house is built using living stones. This is a reference to the temple, but it is a different temple than the one in Jerusalem that was destroyed in 70 A.D. This temple is a growing house. The foundation of the temple is Christ. The structure of the temple is made with living stones. That means this structure is a living, breathing organism. Eph. 2:19-21 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” All Christians are united through Jesus Christ. Since we are part of the spiritual house, we are part of the, “holy priesthood, [able] to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Before, only the high priest could enter into the holy of holies. Now we can go boldly into the holy of holies where the most high dwells. Heb. 4:14-16 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
That’s Christ’s position, now check out our position in verses 6-10. Peter quotes the prophecy in Is. 28:16. The cornerstone of Christianity was set in place in Jerusalem. He who believes in this cornerstone will not be ashamed or disappointed. Believe in this verse is a form of the word faith. If you have faith in the cornerstone, you’ll not be disappointed. For us that believe, the cornerstone is precious, but for those that do not believe, the cornerstone is a stumbling block. The builders rejected the cornerstone. The allusion here by the word “builders” is primarily to the Jews. They refused to lay this stone, which God had appointed, as the foundation of their hopes, but preferred some other foundation. Even though the majority of men have rejected Christ, God determined that Jesus would be the key to which the entire spiritual building would rest. Acts 4:11-12 tells us, “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Verse 8 says the cornerstone is, “a stone of stumbling.” Like a rock partially sticking out of the ground, you trip over it. The rejection of the Savior becomes the means of their ruin. They refuse to build on him. The cornerstone is a “rock of offense.” The idea here is that of a stick in a trap. The bait hangs from the stick; an animal tries to get the bait and in the process, knocks the stick springing the trap. This phrase presents the same idea as, “a stone of stumbling.” It simply means something that will lead to destruction. Rejecting the cornerstone will lead to destruction. Verse 8 goes on to say, “For they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.” Remember the words written in Acts 26:28, “Agrippa replied to Paul, ‘In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.’” The phrase they are “disobedient to the word” means they refuse to be persuaded. Even though presented with the truth of the Gospel, the evidence of a life changed by Christ, prophecies fulfilled, miracles done, they refuse to believe.
We’ve seen Christ’s position and our position, now Peter tells us our responsibility. Peter begins v. 9 with that great word, “but.” He is contrasting us with those who refused to be persuaded. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation because we believed. Is. 61:6 says, “But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.” Ex. 19:6 says, “and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We are a people for “God’s own possession.” KJV says a peculiar people. All this so that, “You may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.” Darkness is what we were in prior meeting Christ. We were lost in sin and misery. But Jesus came into our lives and brought us into the light. The transformation in our lives before Christ is like night and day. We used to not be a people for God, but now we are. Hosea 2:23 says, “And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’”
We are a people of God because of His mercy. We are chosen because we chose Him. We belong to God.