The Chief Cornerstone
1 Peter 2:6
Why also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious…

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.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Because it is contained in Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will not be disappointed."

Jesus Christ the Cornerstone
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