Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” — 1 Peter 2:6
In our focus verse, Jesus is referred to as the “corner stone.” In modern days, a cornerstone is a stone laid at the intersection of two masonry walls. Often, it is alluded to in a formal ceremony and engraved with the building name and date of construction. In Bible times, a cornerstone was a crucial element of the foundation as the point from which other measurements and references were made.
When I was growing up, I had personal experience to help me clearly understand the concept of Jesus as our cornerstone. Our family lived in the country, and my father owned a number of acres of property. My brother and I helped Dad build livestock fences to establish pastures. Correct and careful placement of the corners of these fences was critical; corner posts had to be exactly placed and properly braced. They, like cornerstones, provided the reference points for the rest of the structure. They established the angle and provided integrity that the rest of the fence relied upon. If improperly braced, the fence would not be able to withstand the stresses to which it would be subjected.
After my dad, brother, and I had properly installed the corner posts, we had a basis from which the rest of the fence could be built. Before every fence post along a run was set, it was checked against the line and bearing of the corner post. If we had not done this, we would have quickly deviated off course. By aligning to the corner posts, the whole fence was kept true.
As we “build” our Christian lives, Jesus is the true point of reference. As long as we are constantly looking to Him, checking our lives and actions against His unwavering reference point, we will be true. If we cease to do so, we will quickly find we have deviated from where we are supposed to be.
Jesus provides not only critical guidance, but also strength and integrity that we can rely on, and bracing to support us when we are exposed to potentially destructive forces. Jesus is the stable element upon which we can and must rely. Today, we want to be sure that we are correctly “lined up” with Him, because that is the only way to build for eternity.
Today’s text describes the priestly calling of believers, placing additional emphasis on holy living. The five traits listed in verse 1 (malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speaking) are to be laid aside because they are inconsistent with a pure walk. The one thing to be desired, identified in verse 2, is the Word of God. It will facilitate the true life of Christian holiness.
Beginning with verse 4, Peter compared believers to a building, indicating that the foundation is Jesus Christ, and believers are “lively stones” because He has made them spiritually alive. Christ was “disallowed,” or rejected by the people of His time, but He was “chosen of God.” As part of a spiritual house, believers also have a priesthood. In the Old Testament, the priests offered animals, but believers of the New Testament dispensation offer “spiritual sacrifices” — their hearts, thoughts, speech, and conduct — which are acceptable to God because believers have been redeemed through Jesus’ Blood.
Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of the Gospel, and Peter’s Old Testament reference in verse 6 showed this was foreordained by God (see Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; 28:16). Consequently, those who believe on Him will not be “confounded,” or put to shame, but will be saved. While Christ is precious to believers, to those who disobey He is “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.” They will be eternally lost because they rejected Him.
Verses 9 and 10 contrast the lives of Christians with what they were like before they were born again. The people of the Old Testament had to come to God through a priest; Peter was saying that New Testament and modern believers are called to be “a royal priesthood” because they can come directly to God through Christ. As such, they are to be lights to others around them.
In verse 10, Peter applied passages from Hosea (Hosea 1:6, 9-10; 2:23) to believers, saying God’s grace and mercy caused them to be His people.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The challenge to the believer
C. To growth (2:1-3)
D. To priestly service (2:4-10)
1. A spiritual house (2:4-5)
2. The chief cornerstone (2:6-8)
3. The people of God (2:9-10)
Jesus is the point on which we must be sure to remain focused if we want to be true and faithful to His purpose. By keeping Him as our Cornerstone, we can build our spiritual lives in a manner that is “acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”