1 Peter 2:7-8
To you therefore which believe he is precious: but to them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed…
Many will doubtless feel some regret at the loss in the Revised New Testament of the familiar words, "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious." The marginal reading of the Revised Version is even preferable to that of our text, "For you therefore which believe is the honour." Men object to be told that they must believe in order to know the truth, the power, the value of Christianity.
1. Faith is the condition of all knowledge. The student of natural science believes that there are hidden secrets of nature, laws unknown as yet, which will be revealed to patient investigation. Because he believes this, he laboriously toils and patiently waits.
2. Faith is the condition of all enterprise. It is because men believe, not merely in the possibility, but in the probability of the success of an undertaking that they are willing to engage in it, and even to incur toil and risk.
3. Nay, more, faith is the condition of existence. We eat because we believe that food is necessary and will nourish us. We rest at home or walk abroad because we believe in the stability of nature's laws and the goodwill of our fellow men.
4. Faith, which is the condition of everything else, itself rests on conditions, and compliance with those conditions involves the believer in much "honour." It depends on knowledge, on experience, i.e., on evidence.
5. Nor does faith rest on evidence simply, but on an emotion, on the feeling which the evidence excites, and on the will which is thereby awakened and influenced.
6. What, then, is the faith in Christ which is the condition of this honour? What do we believe about Jesus Christ? What are we called upon to believe, and on what evidence?
(1) Ascending from the lower to the higher, we believe first in Jesus Christ as the ideal man.
(a) Faith in the perfect humanity of Christ brings with it the assurance of immortal life and of undying sympathy.
(b) And as we think of Him living still, we feel assured of His sympathy with us. For His perfection was not something inherent in Himself, something necessary and unavoidable, but a perfection attained through conflict and suffering.
(2) From the belief in the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ we rise to a higher faith in His Divinity, His Deity. For we find that He stands alone in His sinlessness, in His perfection. This is, I believe, the real genesis and growth of true faith in Christ. It is through His humanity that we rise to the conception of His Deity. "The person of Christ is the perennial glory and strength of Christianity."(3) The faith attained through looking at Christ, meditating on Christ, reasoning about Christ, is developed and perfected by experience. Experience is the test of faith, of its value or worthlessness. The strongest faith, that which cannot be shaken, is that which rests on personal experience. Unto you that believe is the honour. What honour?
I. IT IS THE HONOUR OF BUILDING ON A FOUNDATION WHICH CAN NEVER GIVE WAY. It is the safety of having an unfailing refuge in which to hide. We have an experience of which nothing can rob us, and a hope that maketh not ashamed, which will never disappoint, as the anchor of our soul. "Unto you that believe is the honour."
II. MAN'S HIGHEST HONOUR IS TO RENDER HOMAGE TO PERFECT LOVE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE TRUEST HOMAGE IMITATES THAT BEFORE WHICH IT BOWS IN REVERENCE. Dishonouring Christ, men dishonour themselves. Many may admire a .picture which only one could paint, and the consciousness of inability would prevent them from attempting to emulate the artist whose work fills them with delight and wonder. But if the artist were to offer to enable us to do what he had done, and assure us of his power to do so by the example and experience of numbers who had been taught by him, should we Hot gladly accept such an offer? Such an offer Christ makes to every one. He sets before us in His life a purity, a nobility, a righteousness which we cannot attain by ourselves, but which He can and will help us to attain.
III. THE HONOUR IS THAT OF TESTIFYING TO THE POWER AND GRACE OF THIS SAVIOUR AND FRIEND OF MAN, THE HONOUR OF MAKING HIM KNOWN TO OTHERS. We can only do this as we believe in Him ourselves, and our life must prove our faith.
(A. F. Joscelyne, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,