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1 Peter 2:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers; but to those not believing, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers. Christians are often called simply believers, because faith in the Savior is one of the prominent characteristics by which they are distinguished from their fellowmen. It sufficiently describes any man, to say that he is a believer in the Lord Jesus. It is an honor to believe on him and should be so regarded. This is true, but it is very doubtful whether this is the idea of Peter. The Greek is ἡ τιμὴ; literally, ‘esteem, honor, respect, reverence;’ then ‘value or price.’ The noun is probably used in the place of the adjective, in the sense of honorable, valued, precious, and it is not incorrectly rendered in the text, ‘he is precious.’ The connection demands this interpretation. The apostle was not showing that it was an honor to believe on Christ but was stating the estimate, which was put on him by those who believe, as contrasted with the view taken of him by the world. The truth which is taught is, that while the Lord Jesus is rejected by the great mass of men, he is regarded by all Christians as of inestimable value. I. Of the fact there can be no doubt. Somehow, Christians perceive a value in him which is seen in nothing else. This is evinced (a) in their avowed estimate of him as their best friend; (b) in their being willing so far to honor him as to commit to him the keeping of their souls, resting the whole question of their salvation on him alone; (c) in their readiness to keep his commands, and to serve him, while the mass of men disobey him; and (d) in their being willing to die for him. II. The reasons why he is so precious to them are such as these: (1.) They are brought into a condition where they can appreciate his worth. To see the value of food, we must be hungry; of clothing, we must be exposed to the winter’s blast; of home, we must be wanderers without a dwelling-place; of medicine, we must be sick; of competence, we must be poor. So, to see the value of the Savior, we must see that we are poor, helpless, dying sinners; that the soul is of inestimable worth; that we have no merit of our own; and that unless someone interpose, we must perish. Everyone who becomes a true Christian is brought to this condition; and in this state he can appreciate the worth of the Savior. In this respect the condition of Christians is unlike that of the rest of mankind—for they are in no better state to appreciate the worth of the Savior, than the man in health is to appreciate the value of the healing art, or than he who has never had a want unsupplied, the kindness of one who comes to us with an abundant supply of food. (2.) The Lord Jesus is in fact of more value to them than any other benefactor. We have had benefactors who have done us good, but none who have done us such good as he has. We have had parents, teachers, kind friends, who have provided for us, taught us, relieved us; but all that they have done for us is slight, compared with what he has done. The fruit of their kindness, for the most part, pertains to the present world; and they have not laid down their lives for us. What he has done pertains to our welfare to all eternity; it is the fruit of the sacrifice of his own life. How precious should the name and memory of one be who has laid down his own life to save us! (3.) We owe all our hopes of heaven to him; and in proportion to the value of such a hope, he is precious to us. We have no hope of salvation but in him. Take that away—blot out the name and the work of the Redeemer—and we see no way in which we could be saved; we have no prospect of being saved. As our hope of heaven, therefore, is valuable to us; as it supports us in trial; as it comforts us in the hour of death, so is the Savior precious: and the estimate which we form of him is in proportion to the value of such a hope. (4.) There is an intrinsic value and excellency in the character of Christ, apart from his relation to us, which makes him precious to those who can appreciate his worth. In his character, abstractedly considered, there was more to attract, to interest, to love, than in that of any other one who ever lived in our world. There was more purity, more benevolence, more that was great in trying circumstances, more that was generous and self-denying, more that resembled God than in any other one who ever appeared on earth. In the moral firmament, the character of Christ sustains a pre-eminence above all others who have lived, as great as the glory of the sun is superior to the feeble lights, though so numerous, which glimmer at midnight. With such views of him, it is not to be wondered at that, however he may be estimated by the world, ‘to them who believe, he is precious.’
But to those not believing. Literally, unwilling to be persuaded, (ἀπειθὴς;) that is, those who refused to believe; who were obstinate or contumacious, Luke 1:17; Rom. 1:30. The meaning is, that to them he is made a stone against which they impinge, and ruin themselves. Notes, ver. 8.
The stone that the builders rejected. Which they rejected or refused to make a corner-stone. The allusion here, by the word ‘builders,’ is primarily to the Jews, represented as raising a temple of salvation, or building with reference t eternal life. They refused to lay this stone, which God had appointed, as the foundation of their hopes, but preferred some other foundation. See this passage explained in the Notes on Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; and Rom. 9:33.
Has become the cornerstone. That is, though it is rejected by the mass of men, yet God has in fact made it the cornerstone on which the whole spiritual temple rests, Acts 4, 11, 12. However men may regard it, there is, in fact, no other hope of heaven than that which is founded on the Lord Jesus. If men are not saved by him, he becomes to them a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews