Sunday, 20 October 2019
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,” 1 Peter 2:7
Peter now expands on what he just said. He cited Isaiah with the words, “And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” The result of that is that, “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious.” The NKJV translation is not reflective of the Greek. The word to describe Him is a noun, and it is preceded by an article, and the verb is present and active. It more correctly reads, “For to you that are believing is the preciousness.”
The word “preciousness,” signifies honor, and it contrasts the “shame” just referred to. Instead of being put to shame, there is honor for those who believe. Faith in Christ bears its own preciousness before God. However, Peter then speaks of “those who are disobedient.” Again, the verb is present and active. It reads, “those who are disbelieving.” The word signifies a refusal to be persuaded, and it is exactly what the leaders of Israel did. They hardened their hearts to the truth of God in Christ. Peter is showing a contrast between the two in order to show the results of their ongoing disbelief.
In that state, they are included among those of whom the psalmist spoke, and also of whom Christ referred to during His earthly ministry. He cited the words of Psalm 118:22 as is recorded in all three synoptic gospels. In Acts 4, Peter also cited them, and here again he cites them. It is obviously a very important concept for the Jews to understand then.
Jesus spoke to them under the law, Peter spoke to them in the Sanhedrin attempting to show them the contrast between the law and the grace which came through Christ’s work, and now he continues to show the importance of what Christ did. And so, once again, he cites the psalm, beginning with, “The stone which the builders rejected.”
It is referring to Christ Jesus being the one rejected by the leaders of Israel. The idea of the leaders being the builders is that they were responsible for the spiritual lives of the people. The law was given to provide life to the man who did the things of the law (Leviticus 18:5). In Christ, who was born without sin, and who lived without sin, He accomplished those things. He became the necessary stone to begin the foundation of a true temple which would be based on eternal life, but they rejected Him.
However, God did not. Instead, He was chosen of God and “Has become the chief cornerstone.” The Greek reads, “the head of the corner.” It signifies the place where the very corner, meaning the cornerstone, sits. Everything in the foundation is dependent upon that point. Thus, everything in the building itself is dependent upon it. The true temple, where eternal life is found, is dependent upon the Stone who is Jesus.
There was no need for Paul to cite this set of words, because Paul’s ministry is to the Gentiles. However, the same gospel is found for both. The difference is that there is individual salvation for Jews, and there is collective salvation for Israel. Until the leadership of Israel acknowledges Christ as this true Stone and call out for Him, Israel as a collective whole will continue to be kept from the promises to them which have been anticipated since their inception as the people of God.
Life application: Psalm 118 is known as a messianic psalm because of its predictions of the coming Messiah. Each time it is cited in the New Testament, it is specifically applied to Jesus, His work, and His rejection by the nation of Israel. Despite His rejection and their attempts to nullify His work, He prevailed and has become the chief cornerstone. It is on Him that the church is established, and from Him all else proceeds, properly aligned and both level and plumb. Any congregation or body of believers which is properly grounded in Him will be successful – not particularly in numbers or wealth, but in right doctrine and sound faith.
Peter says, “…to you who believe, He is precious.” How do you care for your home? Do you treat it as a comfortable place to live, keep clean, properly maintain, and enjoy? Is your home dirty and not well maintained? We have an eternal home that is built on the precious Person of Jesus, and we are all being built into a living temple where God will reside, illuminated by His splendor through Jesus.
If you know that this is true, and that our position in this home is given to us because of what Jesus did, shouldn’t we be pursuing Him, His word, and His glory? Let us endeavor to keep our spiritual house clean and free from fault, and let us further ensure that we are being built properly by reading and applying the Bible to our lives. Rather than being careless about our eternal dwelling, let us give it the attention is rightly deserves. And let us do it in a way that others will see our works and give God the glory He is due.
Yes, O God! Jesus is the precious cornerstone of our eternal dwelling. Because You have given such attention to us in the giving of Your Son, please remind us of our responsibility to you – working to become an acceptable living stone in Your glorious temple. Give us the strong urge and desire to pursue You and Your word, so that we will be properly trained in righteousness. Amen.