1 Peter 2:6-8
Yesterday, we discussed this new temple made of living stones; but, those stones live only because they have come to the Living Stone. This Living Stone is here called the “Cornerstone—chosen and precious.” It is, of course, a reference to Christ Jesus—the foundation of his Church which is his body and the new temple. This Cornerstone and temple are established in Zion—not earthly Jerusalem (be it that city or any city of the world) which “is in slavery with her children” (slavery to sin and death), but the Jerusalem which is from above and free (Galatians 4:25-26). Believers are being built together in this grand new temple whose real habitation is from above, though for a time we must travel below while we wait for our Redeemer and the fullness of our redemption (heaven).
But there is more here to see. Isaiah prophesied that our Lord would be despised and rejected by men (53:3). It is our honor that we believe, though that in itself is a work of God. Still, through faith in him, this Cornerstone is to us most precious. Through him, we will “not be put to shame” but vindicated on the last day. We will be found to be in the right before the world through his shed blood and our profession of faith in him. But Isaiah understood that many would not believe, and this is what the second part of the passage addresses: “`The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’ (Psalm 118:22), and `A Stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’” (Isaiah 8:14). Those who do not believe “stumble” over Christ. Why do they stumble? We could speak of their lack of faith, their hardness of heart, their preference for sin over godliness, indeed, any number of reasons.
But Peter goes to the heart of the matter: “They stumble because they disobey the word.” What word is that? The word of the gospel. Those who disobey the word, who do not embrace the gospel, are destined to stumble over Christ, and they do so of their own will.
When I consider matters, Christ would be easy to stumble over. As I have said before, I would not believe the gospel had not the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin and convinced me of my need for Christ as he does for all whom he so saves (John 16:8-11). I take no credit. He is the Cornerstone and I receive my life from him—and I desire that it should be no other way. My desire is to be a living stone in his temple—I don’t care where. Bless God that we stumble not but have been made living stones in his holy temple.