So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.
Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:
Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him, the stone the workmen threw out is now the chief foundation stone. For the untrusting it’s …a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way.
They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted. But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (MSG)
One of the great truths about God is his sovereignty and its accompanying truths of election and predestination. However, when this doctrine operates without any consideration of human choice, I believe some unhealthy things can take place in a soul. If our choices are not involved, then a mockery is made of all the counsel and commands in scripture. Why head 1 Peter 2:1-2;
So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.
Why bother? If in God’s sovereignty He has chosen us; if we are saved by grace then matters of eternity are in the bank. Right? I don’t believe so; at least not all of them. If the matters of eternity were limited to salvation’s after-life benefits perhaps this would be so. But the matters of eternity came to bear in our hearts when Christ took up residence there as our resurrection Life. We became citizens of the eternal Kingdom upon rebirth in Christ. The eternal powers of the Age to Come have come to bear upon the Age of the Here and Now to enable us to live life as Christ did.
In his book The Gospel of the Kingdom G.E. Ladd says, “Nominalism is the curse of modern western Christianity.” What are its roots? Could nominalism be traced to the gospel which the nominal have said “yes” to? Is it possible that the nominal are simply living in harmony with the alter call they initially responded to and the preaching they hear? Ladd’s simple point is that there is a high cost to receiving the free gift of God and that this theme is alien to much preaching in the west. While the will of some adherents of extreme sovereignty have been shifted into neutral, Ladd in contrast teaches, “The Kingdom demands a response so radical that it may be described in terms of violence and force.”
As a contractor I have appreciation for the allusions to building in this passage.
Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.
Perhaps we can look upon ourselves (in the context of “election”) as His predestined choice of a building site. Long ago, before the earth was even created He had surveyed this site and reserved it for construction at the appropriate time. We were not consulted on this matter. However, what will be built upon the site is another matter. As holy priests, called to watch over our hearts (His Temple) with all diligence, we will offer up Christ-approved lives to God. What is being built is very much a joint-venture where the contributions and co-laboring of both God and man are the essential and mysterious components to the project.
Father, please rescue us from every place our hearts have become nominal. Grant our hearts to see the fulness of your Kingdom gospel. Equip us with our own night and day – difference stories. Help us to live in mystery with our wills fully engaged in obedience while remaining in total rest in You. Amen.