“Unto You...He Is Precious” – 1 Peter 2:4-10
Introduction: This passage is about Christ, the Messiah, in relation to the Jews to whom the letter we call First Peter was written to, as well as to the Gentiles in the churches that would have received the letter. What Peter says here is in relation to what Paul said in Ephesians in regards to the church – that there is no longer a wall of partition between the Jew and Gentile, that we are all one in Christ. Read Ephesians 2:14-22.
The church is seen in this passage as a whole but the passage is primarily written concerning who Christ is to the believer as well as the unbeliever; and the Christian as he relates who Christ is.
The reason for this part of the letter was to bring the readers to an understanding as to why they were to live right. The next passage deals with the fact that as a Christian we have no excuse to not live like a Christian – no matter what is happening to us. In the simplest form – WE ARE A CHRISTIAN – LIVE LIKE ONE. So, Peter gives this discourse to show why it is we can live like a Christian – because we have a Lord who made the way for us to do so.
I. A description of Christ – vs. 4, 6-8
A. This is by no means an all-inclusive description – this is a description to point out Who it is we are to serve and why
B. He is described in a positive way as He relates to the believer in verse 4, 6-7a
“A Living Stone” a) The Jews would have understood this because of the image it would have brought up with the “stone” b) Peter is pointing out that Christ was the stone upon which all else is built, upon which all else grows c) Hence, a “living” stone – a stone that gives life – this points back to the previous verses in the aspect of growth
“Disallowed indeed of men” – a stone that was rejected as being useful and thrown away and destroyed – that’s what happened at the crucifixion
“But chosen of God” – rejected of man but accepted for the payment of the sins of mankind by the Father Mat 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. Isa 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
“Precious” – very valuable or even priceless – is He that to us?
Vs. 6 – “chief corner stone” – the most important one – the one upon which the building stands – removed it would fall
“Elect” – chosen by God
C. He is described in a negative way as He relates to the unbeliever in verse 7b-8
“The head of the corner” – this relates to those who are “disobedient” because they “disallowed” Him as their Messiah
“Stone of stumbling” – further description of what happens when the Saviour is rejected
“Rock of offence” – Christ becomes an offence to the unbeliever and because of that they are rejected
“Stumble at his word” – the word of truth, the gospel message – they stumble over the stone and the rock because they are disobedient
The phrase “whereunto they are appointed” is referencing the aspect of “stumbling at his word” because they rejected Him – all those that reject the Lord are appointed to the same fate, and even are seen as being condemned already Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
II. A description of Christians – vs. 5, 9-10
A. As already stated, this isn’t a description of the church, per se, but it is a description of the believer as we relate to Christ (and the unbeliever as they relate to Christ)
B. Vs. 5 describes the Christian in Jewish terms, as a building – as they understood the building of the Temple, Peter uses that to describe a believer now as the “building”
“Lively stones” – because He is a “living stone” we are also “lively stones” – we don’t have the life-giving attributes of the Saviour but we have been the recipients of them so we are “lively” (or, living)
“Built up a spiritual house” (points back to Ephesians 2) – not a physical Temple as the Jews had to worship in but the individual believer, combined with other believers (the “church”) become a spiritual house
This is seen in the phrase “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” – although we no longer have to offer physical sacrifices, we are obligated to be “living” sacrifices Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
C. Vs. 9-10 describes the Christian in general terms – including the Gentiles as well as the Jew
“A chosen generation” – this is speaking both of the generation of Israelites that were alive at the time of Jesus’ resurrection that were chosen to have the gospel given to them, as well as the Gentiles that were “chosen” to have the gospel preached to them
“A royal priesthood” – we are joint-heirs with Christ, and that makes us “royal” – we can go directly to the throne of God itself without the help of a priest, and that makes us a “priesthood” – it’s all because of Christ Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
“An holy nation” – speaking of the church taking the place of the Nation of Israel as the chosen children of God – the believers are that now
“A peculiar people” – as the OT Israelites were made to be that by God so also are we to be a “peculiar people” – we’re to be different, we’re to be separated from the world
The reason is found in the last part of verse 9 – to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called us” – the reason for it all is so we can live like a Christian
Vs. 10 is referencing a passage in Hosea which refers to the Gentiles now being part of the family of God Hos 2:23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
Conclusion: Again, this passage is given to a group of believers that were about to suffer persecution and great trials for their faith. The Jewish references in this passage are to remind the believers who the Messiah was and why He came and what He is to them now. For the Gentiles that would have heard this letter read it gives them great hope to know that they were part of the “holy nation” of believers – equal with the believing Jews.
Knowing this, they are encouraged to live right – we have no excuse for not living right because of who we are.