JESUS CHRIST: THE CORNERSTONE OF YOUR LIFE
December 20, 2013 | By: Sam Storms
Yesterday I wrote briefly about Peter’s declaration that Jesus, though “rejected by men” (1 Peter 2:4a), is in the sight of God (and in ours as well, I pray), “chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4b).
Dwell with me for a moment on this imagery of the “stone”. In 1 Peter 2:6-8 Peter refers to several OT texts, all of which describe a stone that in God’s purpose is chosen to become the cornerstone of the spiritual house that he is building. This stone is the foundation upon which God is building his church. The “stone” in each of those OT texts was prophetic of Jesus.
Now all that might sound sort of distant and abstract and far removed from you and your needs in life, but I assure you it isn’t. This is a metaphor, obviously, but one with deep and very personal meaning for each of us. Peter’s point is that Jesus is like a stone in every person’s way. He isn’t the sort of stone that you can walk around lest it bruise your foot, or that you can jump over, or even simply ignore. He is the sort of stone in God’s purposes that either you regard as useless and offensive and thus pick up and throw away, or you regard as chosen and precious and you build your life upon him.
If you find him precious and thus respond in faith, he is the cornerstone on which you build your life in community now and the rock on which you will stand without shame or disappointment in the ages to come. If you find him to be offensive and unappealing and respond to him in disobedience and unbelief, he is the stone over which you will stumble and fall, both now and forever.
There’s simply no escaping the clear message of Peter: one’s response to the Living Stone, Jesus, either rejecting him or coming to him, determines one’s relationship to God and one’s eternal destiny (see Acts 4:11-12).
In 1 Peter 2:6b we read that “whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” Note well: for those who believe in him there is no shame, but only honor, and he will never let you down. You will never be disappointed in him and he will never fail you. Others will, but he won’t.
Now that is a great encouragement. If there were a way never to be disappointed or a way never to be ashamed, wouldn't you want to know that way? Peter says: the way is to trust what Jesus will be for you as God's "chosen and precious corner stone." God says, "You cannot lose. You cannot be disappointed in having done this. You cannot be put to shame." That is tremendously encouraging.
But there is a flip side as well, and the news for those who do not believe is as bad as the news is good for those who do believe. We read in v. 7, "But for those who do not believe, 'The stone that the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone.'" He's telling us that not believing in Jesus is like rejecting the stone that God has laid as the corner stone. God sends his Son to be the main stone in the building of his church, his people. But some do not trust him; they reject him.
Don’t think for a moment that this has any negative effect on God’s purposes. God is not defeated or thwarted in his goals by human unbelief. The point is: If you believe on this stone, you can't lose; and if you disbelieve on him, you can't win. “Human unbelief does not frustrate or defeat the ultimate purposes of God. If God plans for Jesus to be the chief corner stone, humans can betray him, desert him, deny him, mock him, strike him, spit on him, hit him with rods, crown him with thorns, strip him, crucify him, and bury him, but they cannot stop him from being what God destined him to be, the Living Corner Stone of a great and glorious people” (John Piper).
Peter’s point is that human choices cannot finally destroy the temple of God. They are not ultimate. A person can reject the chosen and precious Stone of Jesus Christ. But if they do, two things are still true: the stone will not be rejected by God, but will still be put in the place of honor and glory forever and ever as the chief corner stone; and the one who rejects the stone will never be able to boast over God that he frustrated God's ultimate design for his temple. Even unbelievers fulfill God's appointments. He cannot be defeated. He triumphs even in his own rejection.