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The Honor of Salvation

I Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Salvation is a priviledge / honor viewed from the mystery of God's sovereignty

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Last year when I asked David Stertz to come and be our special speaker, this was his reply… “This is a great honor”
What did he mean with that statement? I am not sure why in the world you would pick me to come and be a special speaker, I don’t really feel like I deserve this invitation, but if God is in this then who am I to say no.
Salvation is a great honor. And that is Peter’s point in 2.7-8. He is once again encouraging these scattered believers to continue faithfully following after Christ. And he does so in these two verses by contrasting the honor of salvation and the dishonor of rejecting Christ.
Why should you continue following Christ?

I. For those that believe there is great honor in salvation

1 Peter 2:4–7 KJV 1900
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 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. 7 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,
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Precious- this word means “honor” not is the active sense of the manifestation of esteem or reverence. We as believers do not deserve honor or esteem in and of ourselves. Rather it is the idea of honor in the passive sense. The respect that one enjoys, or honor as a possession. We have honor because of what was given to us when we believed. Our salvation is a great honor or privilege.
Also, this word “honor” is actually functioning as the subject of the sentence in the Greek. I like the ESV translation… “So the honor is for you who believe...”
Now one of the major theme’s in vv. 7-8 is that of man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty.
To whom is this honor given? It is given to those which believe. Back up to v. 6
1 Peter 2:6 KJV 1900
6 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.
The concept of faith/belief is emphasized here. Faith is, in part, man’s responsibility. We must make the decision to place our faith in Jesus Christ.
John 3:18 KJV 1900
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
So there is an aspect of salvation that is man’s responsibility- we must choose to believe. And yet there is another aspect of salvation that is all up to God’s sovereignty. Why is our salvation a great honor or a great privilege? Because we have done nothing to deserve it, and it is God who has worked in our hearts drawing us to point of faith in the first place.
Philippians 2:12–13 KJV 1900
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Work out your own salvation- Human responsibility
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure- God’s sovereignty
So it is my responsibility to grow in my faith (work out your own salvation), but I cannot do so unless God gives me both the desire and the ability to do it. How does that work?
My big theological answer that will blow your mind away…I have no idea!
“It is all according to God’s inscrutable plan and under his control.”
With that being said, what is the point of all of this? What message is Peter trying to get across to these believers?
To answer that we need to determine what Peter means when he calls our salvation a great honor. What does honor look like to Peter?
1 Peter 2:9–10 KJV 1900
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
I Pet 2.9
Back up to v. 6
1 Peter 2:6 KJV 1900
6 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.
And back up one more verse.
1 Peter 2:5 KJV 1900
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 90.
The honor of your salvation? Something that you in no way merit or deserve, and in no way provided yourself… chosen of God, shew for his praises, people of God, obtained mercy, will be be ashamed, offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. What an honor. And it is all possible because you believed in Jesus Christ for your salvation. Jesus became to you a precious corner stone, He became your life, He is your hope, He is your foundation. He is your honor.
The point is realize that honor that is yours because of your faith in Christ and continue to be faithful to Him. Don’t turn away, don’t stop coming to Him and entering into His presence. Be encouraged, you have a great honor in Christ.
Why should you continue to follow Christ?

II. For those that do not believe there is great offence in salvation

1 Peter 2:8 KJV 1900
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1 Peter 2:7–8 KJV 1900
7 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, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
“So the honor is for you who believe, BUT unto them which be disobedient (textual issue) most of the early manuscripts have "But unto them which do not believe”
So Peter is contrasting his earlier statement, honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe...
And then he quotes
Psalm 118:22 KJV 1900
22 The stone which the builders refused Is become the head stone of the corner.
And
Isaiah 8:14 KJV 1900
14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; But for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, For a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
For the ones who do not believe Jesus, instead of being their cornerstone, He becomes to them a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
“even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
They stumble because they disobey the Word, as they were appointed to do. Again here we see both man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty.
Why some people take offense at Jesus? Because they do not believe and they disobey the Word. Because of this they were appointed or destined to stumble. Does that mean it is God’s fault that they stumbled? NO, they stumbled because they did not believe.
John 3:18 KJV 1900
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Yeah, but doesn’t God work in people’s heart to draw them to Christ and enable them to believe? Yes, but it is still man’s responsibility to believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Well, how does that work? Are you ready for my great theological answer to this question? I don’t know! All I know is that the Bible teaches both man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty and so I must believe both.
Otherwise, we become like Job and we put God on trial and we proclaim him to be unjust.
This is Paul’s exact point in
Romans 9:14 KJV 1900
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
Romans 9:19–20 KJV 1900
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
When we think that we know better than God we get ourselves into trouble. Rather our job is to trust that God is perfectly righteous and perfectly just and that maybe just maybe His ways are higher than my ways.
Getting back to the point, what is Peter saying to these struggling believers? I think again he is encouraging them to faithfully follow Christ. You have believed and so to you Christ is precious and the salvation that he gave is a great honor. But for those who are persecuting you, they have not believed, they have disobeyed the Word of God and so to them Jesus is a rock of offense and because of their unbelief and disobedience they are appointed to stumble. Do not be surprised that they take great offense to you when you faithfully follow Christ.
Isn’t it interesting that our culture is tolerant of many religions- Islam, Hindu- but as soon as a Christian baker doesn’t want to make a cake for something that He believes goes against his faith in Christ- that offense is intolerable. Why? Because they do not believe and the do not obey, so Christ has become to them a rock of offense.
Also, I think Peter is saying to these believers that it is bad enough for those that don’t believe to stumble by not obeying the word, what about you who have believed and received the honor of salvation? What message are you sending when you follow their example and you stumble by disobeying the word of God? What message are you sending to others and to God when you stop obeying the Word and you stumble? That is a poor way to live your life in light of the honor of salvation. That is a poor way to treat Christ, who you have seen, through the eyes of faith, as not a rock of offense, but as the chief cornerstone. So keep following Christ, keep obeying His Word.
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