“As you come to Him” (4 of 4)
1 Peter 2:1-5 ESV
1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ESV
Once again, for the sake of brevity I’m repeating what I have mentioned in my previous review.
In our previous posts we took note that there are two parties involved in this “coming”. There are those who do the coming because Peter says: “As you come” so we’ll need to consider “Those who come”. Now, quite often when we speak of “coming” we’re referring to coming to a place or to a thing or even to an idea but in this instance we see that Peter is speaking of people coming to a person because he says: “As you come to him”. There’s a second party involved in this coming and that is the one to whom we come.
Peter is talking about people coming to a person. So, we’ll also need to consider “The one to whom we come”. He tells us more about the person to whom we come as he continues in verse 4 by saying that He is “a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious”. He then goes on to tell us more about the people who come to Him and the result of their coming to Him in verse 5 where he says: “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.
We’ll leave our consideration of what Peter says about those who come and what happens when they come until next time.
It’s my intention to consider the four aspects of Peter’s thought beginning the first aspect:
1. The nature of this coming
2. The One to whom we come
3. Man’s evaluation of Him
4. God’s estimation of Him
Today, we’re going to concentrate on what Peter says about:
God’s estimation of Him
We read in Isaiah 55v8-9;
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.
We have the truth of those words clearly illustrated in the massive contrast that we see here between man’s opinion and God’s opinion of the living stone, Jesus Christ. He is “rejected by men”. They discard Him as a stone that is useless for their building purposes. But, “in the sight of God” we’re told that He is “chosen and precious”.
In contrast to men’s rejection, God didn’t simply approve Him as a suitable stone to use in the building but He specifically chose Him or appointed Him and considered Him to be “precious”. God’s estimation of Him was that He was of great value and highly esteemed. You see, it’s not that God simply thought that there might be a use for Him somewhere in His building project whereas men saw no use for Him in theirs. No, God chose Him for a specific purpose that is of crucial importance.
We see that in the Old Testament passages that Peter goes on to quote.
In quoting from Isaiah 28v16 he said;
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious”.
You see, God chose Him to be a cornerstone. We see the same emphasis again when Peter quotes from Psalm 118v22 and says;
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”.
Likewise, when Peter addressed the Sanhedrin, he emphasised the same point by saying;
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone”.
You see, God didn’t choose Jesus to be just another brick in the wall. He chose Him to be “the cornerstone”.
Now, what is a cornerstone?
I’m guessing that none of us have ever built a building. We’ve recently got a new garden shed and I even had to have that put up for me! Most of us certainly aren’t master builders! Well, a cornerstone is the first stone to be laid as the corner of the foundation for the building. As such, it’s the most important stone in the building. Without that stone there could be no building. Everything else in the building relates to that stone. It all rests upon it and is orientated from it. So, when God said: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious” He was saying that He was starting to build a new temple. Now, we’ll think more about that new temple of which Christ is the cornerstone when we move on to verse 5 next time.
For now, I want us to simply be very clear that Jesus is chosen of God to be the cornerstone and is esteemed by Him to be precious.
Did you notice in Peter’s words to the Sanhedrin that he said “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone”.
How did Jesus become the cornerstone?
What made Him suitable to be the cornerstone for God’s new temple? How did God show Him to be the cornerstone? Well, Peter had referred to “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead”. Men had shown their rejection of Him by crucifying Him. God showed that He had chosen Him and made Him to be the cornerstone by raising Him from the dead.
You see, Jesus became the cornerstone of this new temple through His death and resurrection. In order to be the cornerstone on which the temple is built He had to die a sacrificial death for sinners and be raised from the dead because the foundation of this new temple is salvation by the free grace of God through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why Peter went on to say to the Sanhedrin;
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”.
So, we’ve seen that Jesus is described as “a living stone”, that He was and continues to be “rejected by men” but in God’s estimation He is “chosen and precious”. In closing I simply ask you to consider where you stand regarding Jesus. Are you with the majority of men who reject Him or do you buck the trend and come to Him for the salvation that is found nowhere else? If you do, He’ll surely be precious to you just as He is to God Himself.
Dr. Steve Orr
Dr Orr has served the Body of Christ in the United Kingdom for many years and in various capacities (preaching, teaching, etc.,). Steve is a regular contributor to the pages of Christ My Covenant. His insights into the Word of God will serve you in your personal study of God’s Word. Learn of Christ!