1 Peter 2:4
(4) To whom coming.--The word used is that which gives rise to the name of a "proselyte." (Comp. Note on 1Peter 2:2.) It is also strangely used in something of the same sense in 1Timothy 6:3. "Joining Him therefore as proselytes." Not that St. Peter has any notion of a mere external accession. The Apostolic writers do not contemplate the possibility of a difference between the visible and invisible Church. From this point the regeneration-idea, which coloured the whole of the preceding portion of the Epistle, suddenly disappears. The thought is no longer that of a spiritual seed instead of a carnal seed, but of a spiritual Temple instead of the stone temple at Jerusalem.

A living stone.--The very structure and order of the sentence puts Jesus Christ first. Foundation first, building afterwards. It is a pity to insert "as unto" with our version; it takes off from the striking, attracting effect of the sudden metaphor. St. Peter is fond of explaining his metaphors--e.g., "inheritance . . . in heaven," "tested genuineness . . . more precious than of gold," "gird up . . . loins of your minds:" so here, "living stone." It is more than doubtful whether St. Peter, in what follows, had before his mind the giving of his own surname. The word which he here uses is neither petros, nor petra, but lithos; and indeed the whole idea of the relative position of the Church to the petra and to the lithos is quite different. Neither petros nor petra could possibly be used of the squared wrought stone, but represent the native rocky unhewn substratum--part, or whole--which pre-exists before any building is begun, even before the "chief corner-stone" would be placed. (Comp. Matthew 7:24.) Here, therefore, the idea is quite different: the substratum is not thought of at all; and Jesus Christ is a carefully selected and hewn stone (lithos), specially laid as the first act in the work of building. The only thing, therefore, which is, in fact, common to the two passages is the simple thought of the Christian Church being like a building. Our present verse gives us no direct help towards finding how St. Peter understood the famous name-passage. All we can say for certain is that he did not so interpret it as to suppose an official connection with his own person to be the one essential of the true Church, or else in again using the metaphor of building the Church (though in a different connection) he could hardly have omitted all mention of himself. He is, apparently, thinking only of the Messianic interpretation of Old Testament sayings as expounded by our Lord--the "unsophisticated milk of the word" of 1Peter 2:2.

Disallowed indeed of men.--A direct reference to the passage (Psalm 118:22), which is quoted below in 1Peter 2:7. It here says "men," rather than "builders," in order to contrast them more forcibly with God. The word "disallowed," or "rejected," implies a form of trial or probation which comes to an unsatisfactory conclusion. The human builders examine the stone, inspect all its qualifications, and find it unsuited to the edifice which they have in hand, and refuse it not only the place of honour, but any place at all, in their architecture. St. Peter wishes to bring out strongly the absolute opposition between God and the Jews.

But chosen of God, and precious.--Literally, but with God elect, honoured. This is a direct allusion to the passage, Isaiah 28:16, which is quoted in 1Peter 2:6. While the human builders saw the qualities of the stone, and rejected it because of its not fitting in with their ideal, on the other hand, "with God," i.e., in God's counsel and plan, it was "elect," i.e., choice had been laid upon it, it had been selected for God's building purposes; and not only "elect" (for this might be equally said of all the "living stones;" see 1Peter 1:2, where the word has precisely the same meaning), but also "honoured," which is further explained to mean, singled out for the place of honour, i.e., for that of corner-stone. The designation of this stone as "elect," brings out again what we have had in 1Peter 1:11; 1Peter 1:20, viz., the eternal predestination of Jesus to the Messiahship.

Verse 4. - To whom coming as unto a living stone. Omit the words, "as unto," which are not in the Greek, and weaken the sense. The participle is present; the Christian must be ever coming to Christ, riot only once for all, but always, every day. The ', living Stone" is Christ; the "Lord" of Psalm 34:8 is Jehovah. St. Peter passes from the figure of milk to that of a chief cornerstone. So St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3, after saying that he had fed his Corinthian converts "with milk, and not with meat," passes first to the figure of laborers on the land, and then to that of builders upon the one foundation "which is Jesus Christ." This, like so many other coincidences, indicates St. Peter's knowledge of St. Paul's Epistles. St. Peter may have been thinking of his own name, the name which Christ gave him when Andrew brought him to the Lord; though the Greek word here is not πέτρα or πέτρος, but λίθος ( νοτ the solid native rock on which the temple is built, nor a piece of rock, an unhewn stone, but a stone shaped and wrought, chosen for a chief corner-stone. But the apostle does not mention himself; he omits all reference to his own position in the spiritual building; he wishes to direct his readers only to Christ. He is plainly referring to the Lord's own words in Matthew 21:42, where Christ applies to himself the language of Psalm 118, He described himself as a Stone; St. Peter adds the epithet "living" (λίθον ζῶντα). The figure of a stone is inadequate, all figures are inadequate, to represent heavenly mysteries. This stone is not, like the stones of earth, an inert mass; it is living, full of life; nay, it gives life, as well as strength and coherence, to the stones which are built upon it: for the Lord hath life in himself - he is risen from the dead, and is alive for evermore. Disallowed indeed of men. St. Peter slightly varies the quotation, and attributes to men in general the rejection ascribed in the psalm and in the Gospel to the "builders." "He was despised and rejected of men." In his speech before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:11), he had directly applied the prophecy to the chief priests. But chosen of God, and precious; rather, as the Revised Version, with God elect, precious, or perhaps better, honored; a reference to Isaiah 28:16. He was rejected of the builders, but chosen of God; despised of men, but with God held in honor. The adjective is not the same as that rendered "precious" in 1 Peter 1:19: τίμος there marks the preciousness of the blood of Christ in itself; ἔντιμος here, the honor with which God "hath highly exalted him."

2:1-10 Evil-speaking is a sign of malice and guile in the heart; and hinders our profiting by the word of God. A new life needs suitable food. Infants desire milk, and make the best endeavours for it which they are able to do; such must be a Christian's desires after the word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is very merciful to us miserable sinners; and he has a fulness of grace. But even the best of God's servants, in this life, have only a taste of the consolations of God. Christ is called a Stone, to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built. He is precious in the excellence of his nature, the dignity of his office, and the glory of his services. All true believers are a holy priesthood; sacred to God, serviceable to others, endowed with heavenly gifts and graces. But the most spiritual sacrifices of the best in prayer and praise are not acceptable, except through Jesus Christ. Christ is the chief Corner-stone, that unites the whole number of believers into one everlasting temple, and bears the weight of the whole fabric. Elected, or chosen, for a foundation that is everlasting. Precious beyond compare, by all that can give worth. To be built on Christ means, to believe in him; but in this many deceive themselves, they consider not what it is, nor the necessity of it, to partake of the salvation he has wrought. Though the frame of the world were falling to pieces, that man who is built on this foundation may hear it without fear. He shall not be confounded. The believing soul makes haste to Christ, but it never finds cause to hasten from him. All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world: of another spirit, principle, and practice; which they could never be, if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. Their first state is a state of gross darkness, but they are called out of darkness into a state of joy, pleasure, and prosperity; that they should show forth the praises of the Lord by their profession of his truth, and their good conduct. How vast their obligations to Him who has made them his people, and has shown mercy to them! To be without this mercy is a woful state, though a man have all worldly enjoyments. And there is nothing that so kindly works repentance, as right thoughts of the mercy and love of God. Let us not dare to abuse and affront the free grace of God, if we mean to be saved by it; but let all who would be found among those who obtain mercy, walk as his people.To whom coming, as unto a living stone,.... Christ here, as often elsewhere, is compared to a "stone"; and Peter, by the use of this metaphor, shows that he is not the rock, but Christ is the rock on which the church is built, and he is the foundation stone on which every believer is laid; and it is chiefly with respect to the usefulness of a stone in building, that Christ is compared to one, who is the foundation and cornerstone, as well as for strength and duration; and he is called a "living" one, because he has life in himself, as God, as Mediator, and as man; and communicates life to others, as natural life to all creatures, and spiritual and eternal life to his people, whose great privilege it is to come to him: and by coming to him is meant believing in him; and it does not design the first act of faith on Christ, or a soul's first coming to Christ, but an after and continued exercise of faith on him; and it supposes Christ to be come at, notwithstanding he is in heaven, and saints on earth, for their faith and hope can enter into, and reach him within the vail, and notwithstanding their many transgressions and backslidings; it supposes life in them, or they could not come; and a sense of their need of him, of his righteousness to justify them, of his blood for pardoning and cleansing, of his fulness to supply their want of food, rest, peace, comfort, and salvation in him; and a persuasion of his ability and willingness to relieve them: and they are encouraged to come to him under the above considerations, as a stone, a foundation stone; believing that he is laid as a foundation, and that he is the only foundation, and therefore they lay the whole stress of their salvation, and build all their hopes of happiness on him; and as a living stone, deriving grace, life, and strength from him; exercising faith on him for all the mercies, blessings, and comforts of a spiritual life, and looking to his mercy for eternal life,

Disallowed indeed of men; by the Jewish builders, high priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, and the body and bulk of that nation; who rejected him as the Messiah, and stone of Israel, refused him as a foundation stone, and left him out of the building; and laid another foundation, even their own works of righteousness, on which sandy foundation they built themselves, and directed others to do so likewise; and set him, at nought, as a living stone, would not come to him for life, but sought it in the law, the killing letter, and among their dead works; but though Christ was thus disallowed and disesteemed of by men, yet was he highly valued and esteemed by God:

but chosen of God, and precious; his human nature was "chosen" from among, and above all other individuals of mankind; to be united to the Son of God; as God-man and Mediator, he was chosen to that high office, to be the head of the church, and the Saviour of the body; to be the foundation in the spiritual building, and to be the author and giver of spiritual and eternal life to as many as were given him. Moreover, this phrase denotes the superior excellency of Christ to angels and men in the account of God; being the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person, the Son of his love, in whom he was always well pleased, and in whom he took infinite delight, considered both as his Son, and the surety of his people; and to whom he was

precious, and by him highly honoured, made higher than the kings of the earth, than the angels in heaven, than the heavens themselves, being set down at God's right hand, and a name given him above every name in this world, or that to come; and who is precious to the saints too, more so than rubies, or any precious stones, or any thing or creature whatever; his person is precious, and so are his name, his blood, his righteousness, his truths, his ordinances, and his people.

1 Peter 2:3
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