When we began this study, I was not truly appreciating the honors and privileges that we as believers enjoy! What a difference a week makes!
We will conclude our study today -- still more here in this passage, from the Spirit, so hang on tight!
I'd like to remind all of us of our focus passage.... this time I will post the ESV translation, just to give us another view of the words. (Many times it is helpful to check other translations when studying a passage.)
Another privilege we will have (in the future) is sharing in Christ's honor, and also that we will "never be put to shame." As pilgrims in this world, we haven't reached home yet. There will be times when we are mocked and even persecuted for our faith. This promise doesn't say that we won't experience trials, mocking, or persecution. Instead, it promises that we will never ultimately be put to shame. God will use everything that we go through for our ultimate good. And when Christ comes, we will be honored before all; we will share in His glory.
If you are like me, you can identify with this story I found in an older sermon book:
While we are here on earth, we may suffer for our faith, but we will never ultimately, in the end, suffer shame. We will be honored when we get home to heaven! Look at this from our old friend, Paul:
Eager anticipation.....like kiddos on tiptoe, peeking over the stairs to see if Santa has arrived....like your pup dancing around when you first get home....expectant! What a picture for us, and for the suffering Christians that Peter was writing to. They were (and we may be) mocked, hated without cause, and more, but when we put our faith in Christ we can look forward to sharing the glory of Christ in heaven.
I'd like to pause here to give y'all time to check out these Old Testament references, that Peter used. I think they will help us understand more fully what he was saying to the believers:
What about those who don't believe?
Peter is using the symbolism of an ancient building site, something that his readers would have understood. Often the rocks were brought in from the quarry with no indication of the needed size or shape. The builders would look at each rock, and if the dimensions were not just what they needed, it would be discarded. And this is what the world has done with Christ. But this Rock that was rejected, would become the cornerstone....the most important one.
You see, the cornerstone is the one between two walls; it is used to get perfect angles for the rest of the building. That's where they start and build from, and if they don't get it right, the whole building is wrong! The world has rejected this Rock which everyone must build their house upon, in order to withstand God's judgement:
The world rejected Christ because He didn't come to them like they wanted Him to....the Jews wanted Him to be a conquering, avenging king, and instead He came as a suffering servant. The Greeks simply thought the whole idea of a God Who would become a man and die for the world was just foolishness. Today, many people reject Christ just because He declared that He was the only Way. Others because He demands lordship of their lives. For both of these folks, following Jesus is just too narrow a path, so they reject Him and refuse to follow. They'd rather have a god who submits to their will and gives them whatever they want. But without Christ -- no building, no life can stand.
As we wind up our week of study, do we find ourselves encouraged by the privileges and honors that we enjoy now, and that we will enjoy in heaven? Peter wrote this specifically as a "pep talk" for discouraged believers, and as we start a new year, it's good to remind ourselves of these privileges.
God thinks we are special:
Let's praise God and glorify Him for all He has done for us, and for what He will bless us with in the future!