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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

February 20, 2013

1 Peter 2:6-12

  1. Verses 6-8. Picking up at verse 6 from our last lesson, the apostle Peter was quoting Isaiah 28 showing the church that Christ was the chief corner stone of the church and that we are living stones built on top of Christ. The last statement in verse 6 plays an important role in our text. It emphasizes the blessing which comes to those who trust in Jesus of Nazareth as God’s precious stone. It also implies that those who reject Him will be disappointed, or even better, “put to shame." The force of these words can best be understood in the light of the context in which they were originally written in Isaiah 28:16. Those who trust in the “living stone” will not be put to shame (verse 6). Now in verse 7 Peter indicates that while there is “honor” for those who believe, there is dishonor for those who do not. The rejection of Christ by unbelievers and their resulting doom is but the fulfillment of the divine plan and thus the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Peter joins two Old Testament prophecies about Christ as the rejected “Rock.” The first is from Psalm 118:22; the second from Isaiah 8:14. Those who disbelieve (verse 7) and are “disobedient to the Word” (verse 8) reject the precious “Rock” to their own doom. The rejected “Rock” is the “Rock” whom the Father regards as precious, whom He has raised from the dead to be our “living stone.” This “Rock,” whom unbelievers reject, has thus been made the chief “corner stone.” But for believers, Jesus is the precious “stone” through whom they have been saved and upon whom they are built up into a dwelling place of God. Because of Him, they will never be put to shame. But for unbelievers, just the opposite is true. This “Rock” is no corner stone (firm foundation) but a stumbling stone over whom men stumble and fall. Verse 8 describes man’s doom from two perspectives: (1) the responsibility of man and (2) the sovereignty of God. Man stumbles to his own destruction because he has disregarded and disobeyed the Word of God, which bears witness to the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth as the promised “stone.” This is all a part of the divine plan. Man’s unbelief did not catch God by surprise; rather, it is the fulfillment of the eternal plan.

  2. Verses 9-10. In contrast to those who do not believe, believers are chosen by God for a special purpose. Notice several things about these verses.

    1. First, here, as elsewhere in our text, the emphasis does not fall on individual believers and their individual blessings and responsibilities, but upon the corporate body of Christ, “the people of God.” Each expression, “a chosen race,” “a royal priesthood,” “a holy nation,” “a people for God’s own possession,” and “the people of God” is a corporate concept. When an individual comes to salvation by a personal trust in Jesus Christ, he or she becomes a part of a people, a body of believers. As a part of this body, he or she has both a privileged position and a task to which they are called.

    2. Second, the expressions used to describe the New Testament church in verses 5, 9, and 10 are quotations from the Old Testament. Specifically, the corporate descriptions of the church are descriptions of the nation Israel. Consider these Old Testament texts: (Exodus 19:5-7, Isaiah 43:19-21, Hosea 1:9-11,Hosea 2:21-23, Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 8:11-20). Because of her sin and rebellion against God, the prophet Hosea declared this people, who were once known as the “people of God,” no longer His people. In yet a future day, after they have repented and returned to Him, they will once again be His people. So, as Hosea promised Israel, although they were not the people of God, He would once again make them His people. Peter applies this same principle to the Gentiles. If those who are “not God’s people” (namely disobedient Israelites) can become “God’s people,” then surely disobedient Gentiles (also “not God’s people”) can become God’s people.

    3. These words are intended to produce in the Gentiles the proper response to divine grace. They are intended to produce a spirit of humility and gratitude. Just as Israel dare not take pride in her unbelieving past or take credit for her election and calling, along with all of its privileges, neither do Gentiles dare take credit for their salvation. Salvation is all of grace, all of mercy. Neither Jews nor Gentiles dare boast in themselves, but only in God (see Romans 3:27-30; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

    4. Furthermore, these Old Testament quotations are applied to the Gentile saints to remind them of the obligations which stem from their high calling. As the Scriptures teach, to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). God chose the nation Israel and delivered them from their bondage for a purpose, and that purpose is given in the texts Peter cites “That you may proclaim the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” While trusting in the “Rock” is for the good of the believer, the emphasis falls not on our blessings but on God’s glory and our duty to proclaim His praises. Our text is not self-centered, but God-centered. We are His possession. The Lord Jesus is the One who is precious in the Father’s sight. We are saved by His mercy and grace. We are chosen and called to proclaim His wonders.

  3. Verses 11-12. Our identity as “the people of God” (verse 10) becomes the basis for our conduct in the world. As citizens of heaven (see also Philippians 3:20), we are “aliens and strangers” in this world. We must therefore live in a way which sets us apart. The concept of “aliens and sojourners” was a familiar one to Peter and other New Testament writers. It had been introduced early in the Old Testament where Abraham was a sojourner in the promised land, a land he never owned in his lifetime (Genesis 12:10; 17:8; 20:1; 21:23, 34; 23:4 ,Genesis 26:3,Genesis 28:4; 32:4, Genesis 47:7; Deuteronomy 26:5, Leviticus 25:23; 1 Chronicles 29:15, Hebrews 11:13-16). So since we are strangers of this world and aliens to the ways of this world let us live in accordance to our real citizenship. Our goal is not to live like the world, but to live like our father in heaven, Holy and set apart. The idea for the believer is to live first honoring God. Living to honor God will in the long run prove to be better than living for your sinful lust. The world will think that living for God is crazy, but as time goes by they will see that living for God proved to be a better way of living.

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