For it stands in Scripture: "See, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame."
I. CHRIST IS THE TRUE TEMPLE; WE BECOME A TEMPLE THROUGH HIM. The temple is the dwelling-place of Deity. The need for it arises from man's weakness, which cannot grasp the pure spirituality of the Divine nature, but has to aid its conceptions by localizing God, and still more from man's sin, which to his own consciousness has profaned the world, and cannot bear the thought of God's dwelling among the foulness of everyday abodes. Christ is all which temples shadowed. The temple was the dwelling-place of Deity, and in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It was the place of meeting between God and man, and in him we draw near to the God who in him has drawn near to us. It was the place of sacrifice, and in his flesh the one propitiation has been offered for sin forever. It was the place of Divine manifestation, and in him the whole glory of the Divine nature has been flashed upon the world with a brightness before which the light that shone between the cherubim pales its fires. The burden of the context here is that by coming to Christ we become partakers of his life, and are therefore assimilated to him. So the whole aggregate of the scattered strangers to whom Peter writes, and all the solitary souls who, one by one, draw near to Jesus, are built up into one great temple, the true sanctuary, consisting of all redeemed humanity, in which God dwells. All Churches are but chapels in its side aisles. Its ample roof covers them all, and will shelter new forms of Christian fellowship as yet undreamed of. Through the ages it is being slowly builded, like some great cathedral unfinished for centuries, each of which has added something to the pile. And as the Church as a whole is the temple, so its members in detail are temples of God. By a real though mysterious indwelling, more real if one may say so, and less mysterious than that by which he inhabits eternity or dwells in the material universe, God comes and makes his abode in every believing soul. A Divine Spirit can fill and penetrate the human spirit, as the sunshine drenches and saturates some poor film of mist, till every particle is suffused with the fiery brightness. We are too apt to water down that most solemn and blessed truth of God's indwelling into the mere presence of an influence on our spirits. We need to rise to the height of the wonderful, awful, gladsome thought that God himself dwells in every soul that comes to Christ.
II. CHRIST IS THE TRUE PRIEST; WE ARE PRIESTS THROUGH HIM. The priest, like the temple, has his origin in man's consciousness of unworthiness to draw near to his God. Therefore he takes one of his tribe, and sets him apart to stand between him and his deity. The priest has to represent man to God and God to man. His chief function is sacrifice, and, in addition to it, he has to be intercessor and mediator - to bring the messages of the god to his worshippers, to represent the worshippers before their god. Jesus is all this in himself, by no external appointment, "not by the law of a carnal commandment, but by the power of an endless life." He is all this in solitary incommunicable manner. He, and none but he, brings God to men, and none but God. He alone is, in real essential unity, man's Representative and Intercessor. He alone offers the sacrifice for the world. He stands the sole Priest, his office unique, his Person sole and supreme, having and tolerating no companions in his solemn entrance within the veil, and having neither beginning of days nor end of life. There is but one Priest in the Church. There are no priests in the Church. All are priests in the Church.
III. CHRIST OFFERS AND IS THE ONE SACRIFICE; WE BECOME ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES THROUGH HIM. There are two elements in the idea of sacrifice - surrender and expiation. The great work of Jesus Christ embraces both. "Not my will, but thine," is the inmost meaning of his whole life. He offered himself in the perfect, untrodden, joyful surrender of his will to the Father. That sinless Being, perpetually yielding itself in meek obedience, undisturbed by self-will, and spotless in its purity, attains the highest form of surrender, and stands alone as, in that aspect, the fulfillment of the ideal of sacrifice. All the life, which was thus perfect surrender to the Father's will, was also expiation. Himself bare our sins in his lowliness and sorrows, in the sympathy which wrung his heart. But the consecrating oil flows from him to us, and we too, by derivation from him, become priests to God. His hand laid on us sets us apart for sacred functions which are not all unlike his own, but are their consequence and carrying out. We too have to represent God to men, because Christ has given God to us. We have to move among our fellows, showing to them something of the splendor of the Divine love, the reflection of which in us some weak eyes may bear which would be dazzled by the direct beams. We have to intercede for men with God, and are invested with the solemn privilege carrying with it a heavy responsibility of free access to the secret place of the Most High, and of prayer that prevails with him, as well as in the awful solitude when he experienced the utmost penalty of the sin which he had never committed, in the consciousness of separation from God, which is eternal death, and in the physical death which is but the pictured shadow of that awful reality. His sacrifice, as surrender, stands alone in degree, as being absolute and stainless. His sacrifice, as expiation, stands alone in kind, incapable of repetition or imitation, and, blessed be God, needing none. But if we have come to him and partaken of his life, we shall, in the measure of our participation, become sacrifices too - not indeed expiatory, but eucharistic. For, touched by his love, and possessing his Spirit, we shall joyfully give up ourselves. Our true sacrifice is the surrender of our wills to the Divine will. We have to lay ourselves upon the altar which sanctifies and glorifies giver and gift; so shall we receive back again a better sell, ennobled and purified. Life should be one long sacrifice, being all lived with continual reference to him, and continual suppression of self. By him, too, we should offer the sacrifice of praise continually, and present the "much incense" of prayer. By him, too, we are to bring the sacrifices of doing good and imparting, with which God is well pleased. And by him we may at last offer the libation of pouring out our souls unto death, and complete the sacrifices of a life of faith by a death of submission. The dignities and prerogatives of the Christian life, expressed in the grand truths that we are temples and priests, are granted to us, not for honor, but for service. We are temples and priests that we may be sacrifices. All lofty gifts are ours with a view to this highest end, that we may yield ourselves wholly to God, and, losing ourselves in utter surrender, may have our poor sacrifice accepted through him who alone has offered the one perfect sacrifice for sins for evermore. - A.M.
It is contained in the Scripture.I. THEY WERE INSPIRED ALL OF THE HOLY GHOST (2 Timothy 3:17; 2 Peter 1:21), so were no other writings.
II. THEY CONTAIN A WISDOM FAR ABOVE ALL THAT CAN BE HAD BY THE PRINCES AND MEN OF THIS WORLD (1 Corinthians 6:7).
III. THEY WERE PENNED BY MORE EXCELLENT MEN THAN ANY OTHER WRITINGS: the greatest, wisest, holiest men — Moses, David, Solomon, prophets, evangelists, apostles, etc.
IV. THEY HAVE SUCH PROPERTIES AS NO OTHER WRITINGS HAVE: they are more perfect, pure, deep, and immutable than any man's writings. These contain all things necessary unto faith and a good life (2 Timothy 3:17, 18).
V. IF WE CONSIDER THE EFFECTS THAT MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED TO THE PRAISE OF THE SCRIPTURES, no writings can describe God so fully to us, do so bring glory to God; no Scripture but this can convert a soul (Hebrews 4:12, 13; Psalm 19:11; Psalm 119:14, 15, 27).
I lay in Sion a chief cornerstoneI. JESUS CHRIST IS THE FOUNDATION STONE, OR THE FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY.
1. Jesus Christ is the cardinal truth of the Christian system.
2. Jesus Christ is the central truth of Christianity.
3. Jesus Christ is the all-comprehensive truth of Christianity. Christ is Christianity.What is meant by it? Two things.(1) First, that Jesus Christ is essential to His religion. Plato is not essential to Platonism. Suppose that nothing was known of the birth, life, and death of Plato, that his writings came down to us anonymously, it would make but very little difference to his students. And what is true of Plato as a philosopher is also true of Cakyamouni, Confucius, and Mahomet, as founders of religions. Their personalities form no integral portion of their systems. Plato said, "Accept my ideas"; Christ said, "Accept Me." Cakyamouni said, "This is the way, by renunciation"; Christ said , "I am the Way." They, each and all, put the centres of their systems outside themselves; but Christ put the centre of His in His own person.(2) But, secondly, the phrase, Christ is Christianity, means precisely the same as when we say that the tree is the branches. The tree throws itself out into branches, and it must be patent to all that there can be no more in the branches than there is already in the tree.
II. JESUS CHRIST IS THE CORNERSTONE, OR THE HARMONISING TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY.
1. He is the Cornerstone of the religions of the world; that is to say, in Him and the religion He instituted all other religions meet and are unified.
2. Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of Christian doctrines; in other words, in Him they find the principle of their reconciliation.
3. Jesus Christ is also the Cornerstone of Christian Churches; in Him is their one point of union.
III. JESUS CHRIST IS THE SURE FOUNDATION. "Whosoever believeth in Him shall not be confounded."
1. Jesus Christ is the sure foundation, the one truth which maintains its ground notwithstanding the fierce assaults made upon it from time to time.
2. He is a sure foundation for us to build thereupon the hope of everlasting life.
(J. C. Jones, D. D.)I. STABILITY. The cornerstone upholds and is the strength of the building. So it is in the Church, whether viewed collectively, or as composed of individual Christians. Strength is in Christ alone.
II. BEAUTY. Cornerstones give beauty and ornament to a building. They are often graceful and rich, and curiously wrought; and the other and ordinary stones of the building get comeliness from the very relation in which they stand to the cornerstones. Now Christ is the beauty of the spiritual temple.
III. UNITY. Cornerstones are the medium by which the walls of a house, with all the several stones which compose those walls, are united in one building. Take away the cornerstones, and the sides of the house would be separated from each other. The stones of which the walls are built may be of different sizes, and of different degrees of value or beauty; yet so long as they are held together by the cornerstone, the house is one house; nor is there any stone in it however small or common but that stone is necessary to the unity of the house. It cannot be spared. Such is Christ as the precious cornerstone of the spiritual temple.
(A. C. Price.)I. THE FOUNDATION is called here "a chief cornerstone." Jesus Christ is the alone Head and King of His Church, who gives it laws, and rules it in wisdom and righteousness. "Elected," or chosen out for the purpose, and altogether fit for it. Isaiah hath it, "A stone of trial or a tried stone." As things amongst men are best chosen after trial, so Jesus Christ was certainly known by the Father, as most fit for that work to which He chose Him before He tried Him, as afterwards, upon trial in His life and death and resurrection, He proved fully answerable to His Father's purpose in all that was appointed Him. He was God, that He might be a strong foundation; He was man, that He might be suitable to the nature of the stones whereof the building was to consist, that they might join and cement together. "Precious," inestimably precious, by all the conditions that can give worth to any: by rareness and by inward excellency.
II. THE LAYING OF THIS FOUNDATION. It is said to be laid in Zion; that is, it is laid in the Church of God. And it was first laid in Zion, literally, that being then the seat of the Church and of the true religion. He was laid there in His manifestation in the flesh, and suffering, and dying, and rising again; and afterwards, being preached through the world, He became the foundation of His Church in all places where His name was received. He saith, "I lay"; by which the Lord expresseth this to be His own proper work, as Psalm 118:23. And it is not only said, "I lay," because God the Father had the first thought of this great work, but also to signify the freeness of His grace in giving His Son to be a foundation of happiness to man, without the least motion from man, or motive in man, to draw Him to it. This, again, that the Lord Himself is the layer of this cornerstone, teaches us the firmness of it. Psalm 2:6, "I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion"; who then shall dethrone Him? "I have given Him the heathen for His inheritance, and the ends of the earth for His possession"; and who will hinder Him to take possession of His right?
III. THE BUILDING ON THIS FOUNDATION. To be built on Christ is plainly to believe in Him. It is not they that have heard of Him, or that have some common knowledge of Him, or that are able to discourse of Him and speak of His person and nature aright, but they that believe in Him. Much of our knowledge is like that of the poor philosopher, who defineth riches exactly, and discourseth of their nature, but possesseth none; or we are as a geometrician, who can measure land exactly in all its dimensions, but possesseth not a foot thereof. And truly it is but a lifeless unsavoury knowledge that men have of Christ by books and study, till He reveal Himself and persuade the heart to believe in Him. There is in lively faith, when it is infused into the soul, a clearer knowledge of Christ and His excellency than before, and with it a recumbency of the soul upon Him, as the foundation of its life and comfort; a resolving to rest on Him, and not to depart from Him upon any terms.
IV. THE FIRMNESS OF THIS BUILDING. "He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." This firmness is answerable to the nature of the foundation. Not only the whole frame, but every stone of it abideth sure. It is a mistake to judge the persuasion of perseverance to be self-presumption. They that have it are far from building it on themselves, but their foundation is that which makes them sure; because it doth not only remain firm itself, but indissolubly supports all that are once built on it. In the prophet whence this is cited it is, "Shall not make haste," but the sense is one. They that are disappointed and ashamed in their hopes, run to and fro, and seek after some new resource; this they shall not need to do who come to Christ.
V. THE GREATNESS AND EXCELLENCY OF THE WORK intimated in that first word, "Behold," which imports this work to be very remarkable, and calls the eyes to fix upon it. The Lord is marvellous in the least of His works; but in this He hath manifested more of His wisdom and power, and let out more of His love to mankind, than in all the rest. Look upon this "precious stone," and behold Him not in mere speculation, but so behold Him as to lay hold on Him; for we see He is therefore here set forth, that we may believe on Him; and so not be confounded, that we may attain this blessed union, that cannot be dissolved. All other unions are dissoluble. A man may be plucked from his dwelling house and lands, or they from him, though he have never so good a title to them; may be removed from his dearest friends, if not by other accidents in his lifetime, yet sure by death, the great dissolver of all such unions, and of that straitest one, of the soul with the body; but it can do nothing against this union, but on the contrary perfects it.
(Abp. Leighton.)Psalm 118:22) which speaks of a stone cast aside by the builders as unfitted for their purpose, but afterwards, by the Lord's own act, chosen out to be "the head of the corner." The sacred irony of this contrast had evidently taken hold of his mind. In the context here he has been referring to that passage in combination with one of Isaiah's (Isaiah 28:16), and applying both to the Lord Jesus, as identified with that Lord of whom another Psalmist had said, "O taste and see that the Lord is gracious." He now quotes from Isaiah, applying the title of "cornerstone" to his Master, just as St. Paul says (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20). What does this ancient and sacred image, thus borrowed by St. Peter and St. Paul from the stores of Hebrew prophecy, convey to us Christians? When Isaiah was drawing near to the close of his public life, a worldly and irreligious party had risen to influence and temporary command in the kingdom of Judah. Their aim was to strengthen it by a secular policy, with an Egyptian alliance for its basis. Their thoughts, if put into modern shape, would run somewhat as follows: "Judah must be set free from the bondage of a narrow clerical interest: it is essentially a kingdom, existing side by side with other kingdoms; its needs, its emergencies, are like theirs; it must, perforce, do as they do. It must therefore shake off the tyranny of meddlesome preachers, who can only look at secular matters from their own theological point of view, and pretend to school practical men like children, with a dull iteration of precept upon precept. We have outgrown all that; it is time for common sense to reign. We know how to make safeguards for the throne and for the country, which will enable us, so to speak, to be on friendly terms with death, exempt from the peril of destruction; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come to us." Isaiah turns round upon them as the minister of Him who scorneth the scorners. "No," he says, "your hopes are vain; your covenant with death shall be cancelled; your hiding place is a refuge of lies, and the hailstorm and the rising flood will sweep it away. The scourge, when it comes, will simply trample you down. But I will tell you where a refuge can be found; there is a stone laid by God for a sure foundation, a stone tried and precious; he that trusteth to it shall not make haste, shall not be shaken from his foothold." This refers first to that sacred character of the house of David, which belonged to it as destined to culminate in David's future preeminent Son, and in the fuller sense to that Son in His own Person, as realising all that could be indicated by the glorious titles of "the Emmanuel, the Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God." Because He was one day to appear, the pious in Judah would rest their hopes and stay their souls on Him. And this should be, in a far more effective sense, the experience of those who know the Christ as having come. Consider a few of the senses in which He makes good this title of cornerstone. How, do we think, did the first preachers to the heathen win converts? By appealing to men's deepest sense of need, to the felt necessity of a centralising, consolidating principle for human life.
1. Two things, at least, we must secure, if life is not to be a failure.(1) One is, something certainly true, a truth to stand by amid uncertainties. As we advance in our earthly journey, perplexities gather round on all sides. Life has not verified our first expectations; it raises questions which it does not answer; there is a confusion of theories; but where is that which we can depend upon, and grasp firmly, looking life and death in the face? The answer is in the words of Jesus, "I am the Truth."(2) Man also needs a power of moral and spiritual rectification. He believes Christ is all-precious, because He can and does help them to become pure and single-hearted, high in aim and active in duty.
2. These two great questions well answered by the acceptance of Jesus Christ, one sees how in His relation to the several doctrines and institutions of His Kingdom, He sustains the character of the One Foundation.(1) It is so in regard to doctrines.(2) He is also the foundation of all His ordinances. All the instrumental agencies whereby He waits upon the soul — the means, as we call them, or channels of His grace — derive their efficacy from Him; nay, more, it is He who is the real though unseen Minister in them all, the true Celebrant, Baptizer, Absolver, Ordainer, the sovereign Priest of His Church.
3. If Christ be, in these ways, the foundation of our spiritual life, in all its aspects, should He not be also the foundation of all that we do?
(W. Bright, D. D.)I. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, uniting JEWS AND GENTILES.
1. Jews and Gentiles met in His Person. He was of the seed of David according to the flesh, a Jew of the Jews, His genealogy complete and flawless right up to Abraham. But as we carefully survey the stream of His ancestry, we here and there discover Gentile blood flowing as tributaries to it. It is rather remarkable that the only women mentioned in the line of His pedigree are of Gentile blood and soiled character.
2. Jews and Gentiles had also a place in His ministry. The Jewish Rabbis never looked over the Wall of Separation, never gave a kindly thought to the great world without, lying in wickedness, seething in misery. Jesus Christ, however, distinctly purposed from the first to bring Jews and Gentiles into one community an idea absolutely original.
3. As Jesus Christ united Jews and Gentiles in His person and teaching, so tie has also joined them in the Church He established. Today we behold Jews and Gentiles, the civilised nations of the earth and the newly reclaimed barbarians of the South Sea Islands, reclining under its refreshing shade.
II. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, uniting MEN and ANGELS.
1. Jesus Christ has united men and angels in His person. He is our countryman, cry the angels, the Lord from heaven; but He is our kinsman, men make reply. He belongs to us by the ties of citizenship, say the angels; but He belongs to us by the ties of blood, answer men. Thus angels and men can legitimately claim a share in this Son of Jesse.
2. He represents men and angels in His teaching as being one in Him.
3. Men and angels are brought together in unity in His Church.
III. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, uniting GOD and MAN.
1. Both meet in His person.
2. He brought God and man together hi His ministry. The great, one might say the central doctrine of His preaching is the Fatherhood of God, and the corresponding sonship of man.
3. In the Church of Christ God and man are welded together in the bonds of closest friendship. God is reconciled to man in the sacrifice of His Son, and now He is reconciling men to Himself. Sinners are being brought into line with the cornerstone, and thus into union with God.
(J. C. Jones, D. D.)1. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of religious doctrine. He was the Son of the God of truth; He was truth Himself, and He came into the world to bear witness to the truth. By His personal ministry and by the ministry of His apostles, He revealed to the fallen children of men the things which belonged to their peace.
2. Christ is the cornerstone of morality. During the whole period of His ministry He afforded a constant example of perfect obedience to the moral law. Every duty which it became Him as a man to fulfil towards men He discharged no less punctually than those obligations of which the immediate object was God.
3. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of salvation. Through Him we are justified, sanctified; through Him we receive the inheritance of eternal life.
(T. Gisborne, M. A.)
I. I first ask you to mark THE DISTINCTION WHICH EXISTS BETWEEN A MERE GENERAL DEPENDENCE UPON GOD, AND A CONSCIOUS PERSONAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS, for that is the distinction which demarks between the school of what may be called the naturalists in religion, and of evangelical Christians. It is one thing to be a believer in God's government; it is another thing to hold company with God — to behold Him, to love Him, and to commune with Him, to twine your life about Him.
II. I remark, secondly, THAT THIS DIRECT, INTIMATE, HOURLY, AND DAILY LIVING WITH CHRIST, IS THE THING WHICH THE GOSPEL PROPOSES AS ITS CHARACTERISTIC AIM. Morality is a good thing. A man without it certainly cannot be a Christian, although he may not be one with it. Moralities are mere day labourers, who dig out the roots and clear off the weeds, and get the ground ready for something else. Morals do but plough the soil — piety is the fruitful stein, and love the fair flower which springs from the soil. It is only love that can find out God without searching. Upon its eyes God dawns. Love is that regent quality which was meant to reveal the Divine to us. It carries its own light, and by its own secret nature is drawn instantly towards God, and reflects the knowledge of Him back upon us. When love hath brought forth its central vision of the Divine, and interpreted it to all the other faculties, then they, in turn, become seers, and the soul is helped by every one of its faculties, as by so many eyes, to behold the fulness of God.
III. I remark, thirdly, THAT IT IS DEEMED BY MEN VERY DELUSIVE, AND BY SOME WISE MEN UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE, IN THIS MORTAL STATE, FOR A MAN TO LIVE BY FAITH IN AN INVISIBLE BEING, so that Christ shall seem to be a present companion to him. You might as well attempt to root up an oak of a hundred years' growth as attempt to eradicate my faith in Christ present with me — Christ living with me, and I with Him, so that my life is joined to His. Imagine that I stand, tearful and tremulous, yet joyful, by the side of a magnificent picture, which electrifies me, which touches all the great fountains in my nature, causing them to rise and overflow; which translates my mind, and purifies it. As I stand looking at such a picture, a man comes to me and says, "What are you gazing at, sir?" I begin, in broken language, to tell him what effect the picture is having upon me; and he looks at me with astonishment, and says, "Well, it may be that it affects you so, but it does not stand to reason; for it is natural to suppose that if it affected you so, it would affect me in the same way; and I do not have any such feelings as you profess to have. I am sure I would not pay a sixpence for the thing." There I stand trembling before the picture; he reviles it, because his sensibilities are all materialised. Next there comes to me a utilitarian — one of those men who think nothing good unless it be useful, and with whom use means that which is good to sell or to eat. "Is it possible," he says, "that this picture can operate upon your feelings? It makes no impression upon me whatever. I do not see how it can do such a thing. If you were to tell me that it was one of Raphael's great productions, and that it was worth five or six thousand dollars, I should understand that it had some value. You are a little touched, are you not?" Then a bloated sensualist comes to me, and says, "I would give more for one flagon of wine than for all the old painted rags on earth." He and I live in different worlds. But if none of these could be made to understand my feelings in the presence of a picture, how much less can they know the reality and glory of my feelings before that more glorious revelation of heavenly beauty which shall remain unrolled forever and forever, and which, as I stand before it, causes everything in me of faith, and hope, and joy, and love, to cry out!
IV. NEED I SPEAK OF THE PRECIOUSNESS OF YOUR SAVIOUR? Need I call to your remembrance the experiences in which He has manifested Himself to you? Do you not remember those days of struggle and distress, through which you passed, and that day of hope and joy which succeeded them, when Christ dawned upon you, and you felt that your troubles were over, and your resistance to His will was ended, and you cried out, "My Lord and my God!" and He raised you to His bosom? Has He not revealed Himself to you, saying, "I am with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you"? The manifestation of Christ to us takes away from trouble all its sting. By and by we shall strand, every one of us, in the narrow passage of death, and there is but one Pilot there. If He comes, bright and shining, from the dark waters of the troubled sea, how sweet and precious will He be to the dying soul that has loved Him, and longed to see Him!
(H. W. Beecher.)I. THE FOUNDATION OF THE BELIEVER'S FAITH. "He that believeth on Him." The foundation of the believer's faith is Christ Jesus Himself. But in what sense am I to believe in Jesus Christ?
1. I reply, first, as God's appointed Saviour of men. "Behold I lay in Zion a sure foundation." We trust in Christ Jesus because God has set Him forth to be the propitiation for sin.
2. We also believe in the Lord Jesus because of the excellency of His person. We trust Christ to save us because we perceive Him in every way to be adapted by the nature and constitution of His person to be the Saviour of man kind.
3. Another ground of our reliance upon Christ is that He has actually finished the work of our redemption. There were two things to be done. The first was the keeping of the law on our behalf: that He has performed to the uttermost, even as He said to His Father, "I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." We see our Lord also doing the other part of His work, namely, suffering in consequence of our sin, and our faith becomes fully established.
4. One other truth must be mentioned, seeing that our Lord is now no longer dead, we feel it more easy to place our confidence in Him because He ever liveth to see to the completion of our salvation. A living faith delights in a living Saviour. This is the seal of all that went before.
II. THE MANNER OF THIS BELIEVING. How do we believe in Jesus Christ? Now, we have not to go a single inch to find an instructive illustration of what faith in Jesus is. The verse before us is connected with building.
1. If, then, you want to know what it is to believe on Jesus, it is relic upon Him as a stone lies upon a foundation when the mason puts it there. Faith is leaning, depending, relying.
2. A stone rests wholly on the foundation. That is faith: resting upon Christ wholly and entirely, looking to Him for everything that has to do with our salvation. Genuine faith in Christ does not trust Him to pardon sin, and then trust itself to overcome sin. No, it trusts Christ both for the conquest of evil and for the forgiveness of it.
3. The stone laid on the foundation comes closer to that foundation every day. When a house is finished there still goes on a measure of settlement, and you are glad if it settles all in a piece together. Every day the stone is brought by its own weight a little closer to the foundation; may every day's pressure bring you and me closer to Christ. Oh, that the pressure of our joys and griefs may press us nearer to our Lord!
4. A well-built stone gets to be one with the foundation. In the old Roman walls the mortar seems to be as hard as the stones, and the whole is like one piece; you must blow it to atoms before you can get the wall away. So is it with the true believer: he rests upon his Lord till he is one with Jesus by a living union, so that you scarce know where the foundation ends and where the upbuilding begins; for the believer becometh all in Christ, even as Christ is all in all to him.
III. THE EVIL WHICH WILL NEVER COME UPON THE MAN WHO BELIEVETH ON JESUS. The text says, "He shall not be confounded," and the meaning of it is, first, that he shall never be disappointed. All that Christ has promised to be He will be to those who trust Him. And then comes the next rendering — you shall never be confounded. When a man gets to be ashamed of his hope because he is disappointed in it, he casts about for another anchorage, and, not knowing where to look, he is greatly perplexed. If the Lord Jesus Christ were to fall through, what should we do? No, Jesus, we shall not be confounded, for we shall never be disappointed in Thee, nor made ashamed of our hope! According to Isaiah's version, we shall not be obliged to "make haste"; we shall not be driven to our wit's end and hurried to and fro. We shall not hurry and worry, trying this and that, running from pillar to post to seek a hope; but he that believeth shall be quiet, calm, assured, confident. He awaits the future with equanimity, as he endures the present with patience. Now, the times of our special danger of being confounded are many; but in none of these shall we be confounded. Let us just turn them over in our minds. There are times when a man's sins all come up before him like exceeding great armies. All your thoughts, words, and deeds, your bad tempers and rebellions against God — suppose they were all to rise at once, what would become of you? Why, even then, "he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." The depths have covered them, there is not one of them left. He that believeth on the pardoning Saviour shall not be confounded, though all his sins should accuse him at once. The unbelieving world outside labours to create confusion. The scientific discoverers, the possessors of boastful culture, and all the other braggers of this marvellously enlightened nineteenth century are up in arms against the believers in Jesus. Faith in Jesus can be justified before a synagogue of savans, it deserves the respect of a parliament of philosophers. To trust the Son of God incarnate, whose advent into this world is a fact better proved by history than any other that was ever on record — to trust oneself upon His atoning sacrifice is the most reasonable thing that a man can do. He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded by human wisdom, for God hath long ago confounded it and turned it into foolishness. But the world has done more than sneer; it has imitated Cain and sought to slay the faithful. There they stand. The lions are loose upon them. Do they cry for mercy, and treacherously deny Christ? They are feeble men and women; do they recant and leave their Master? Not they. They die as bravely as ever soldier fell in battle. Well, but there will come other troubles to Christians besides these, and in them they shall not be confounded. They will be tried by the flesh; natural desires will break forth into vehement lustings, and corruptions will seek to cast them down. Will believers perish then? No. He that believeth in Christ shall conquer himself, and overcome his easily besetting sins. There will come losses and crosses, business trials and domestic bereavements. What then? He shall not be confounded; his Lord will sustain him under every tribulation. At last death will come to us. We may not be able to shout "victory"; we may be too weak for triumphant hymns, but with our latest breath we will lisp the precious name. They that watch us shall know by our serenity that a Christian does not die, but only melts away into everlasting life. We shall never be confounded, even amid the grandeurs of eternity.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
PlacesAsia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, Galatia, Pontus, Zion
TopicsAshamed, Behold, Believes, Believeth, Believing, Chief, Choice, Chosen, Confounded, Contained, Corner, Cornerstone, Corner-stone, Disappointed, Elect, Faith, Feel, Held, Honour, Keystone, Lay, Laying, Mount, Placing, Precious, Reason, Rests, Says, Scripture, Shame, Sion, Special, Stands, Stone, Trusts, Value, Wherefore, Writing, Writings, Zion
Outline1. He exhorts to put away wickedness;
4. showing that Christ is the foundation whereupon they are built.
11. He beseeches them also to abstain from sinful desires;
13. to be obedient to authorities;
18. and teaches servants how to obey their masters;
20. patiently suffering for well doing, after the example of Christ.
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Peter 2:6
LibraryUnder the Shepherd's Care.
A NEW YEAR'S ADDRESS. "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."--1 Peter ii. 25. "Ye were as sheep going astray." This is evidently addressed to believers. We were like sheep, blindly, willfully following an unwise leader. Not only were we following ourselves, but we in our turn have led others astray. This is true of all of us: "All we like sheep have gone astray;" all equally foolish, "we have turned every one to his own way." Our first …
J. Hudson Taylor—A Ribband of Blue
The Jewish Rebellions
Christ the Exemplar
Mirrors of God
Living Stones on the Living Foundation Stone
Christ Precious to Believers
Coming to Christ
The Lively Stones. Rev. W. Morley Punshon.
That the Grace of God Doth not Join Itself to those who Mind Earthly Things
"For Hereunto were Ye Called; Because Christ Also Suffered for You...
From Gallienus to the End of the Last Persecution (Ad 261-313)
A Defence of the Doctrine of Justification, by Faith in Jesus Christ;
Justification by an Imputed Righteousness;
God's Peace Obtained in Answer to Prayer
The First Wall.
Some Other Writers of the New Testament
Of the Primacy of the Romish See.
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