“So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:7–10 ESV)
Glory & honor is for those who are built upon the Cornerstone; it is not for those who reject the Cornerstone. Jesus is a stumbling stone and a rock of offense to unbelievers & especially to the Jews: “And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 8:14 ESV). But, God is an obstacle that people cannot overcome! They stumble because they disobey – as they were destined to do. Unless God regenerates the heart, we all walk in disobedience and blindness. Peter sounds like Paul here in Ephesians 1:11 (“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”). God works all things according to the counsel of His will. The disobedience of unbelievers is due to their own disbelief & it is their responsibility. This is not intended to foster fatalism, but to encourage the heart of true believers. Nothing catches God off guard; God has never said, “I didn’t see that one coming, what should I do now.” So those who were persecuting Peter’s readers and pressing against them unjustly – those who were the source of their suffering will one day see ultimate justice. One day, all sin will be justly paid for – either by the blood of Christ or by the sinner himself; justice will be served.
We don’t stumble about like blind men; we see the Cornerstone for who He is. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession. This is not because we chose God, but because He chose us. He called us out of darkness and into His glorious light. He’s the One that calls; He’s the One that saves, not us! And why does He redeem us? He saves us to glorify Him (proclaiming the excellency of Him who has called us). We were nobody’s and now we are somebody because we are His children. We had no mercy, now we have profound mercy. Praise God! Hosea speaks this way regarding Israel (Hosea 1:6, 9, 10; 2:23), but the church is the fulfillment of these prophecies – we are now a people – according to His sovereign grace.
Regardless of the situation that is currently staring you in the face, regardless of the persecution and injustice that you are facing, there is cause for rejoicing. Don’t ignore the difficulty and pain and pretend that it does not exist; Christianity is not about producing cold, emotionless Stoics! But remember that this is not your true home – you are a sojourner, an exile. Remember that you have an inheritance that is far greater than anything that the world has ever seen. Remember that you are a beloved, chosen child. Remember that this life is short and momentary. Remember that God’s approval and affection for you has nothing to do with how faithful that you are, but rather how Faithful Jesus was. Remember…