Built Upon the Rock (Chapter 2 Verses 1-10)
The Church has been mistaken for just an institution, that is only party true (vv4-10). It is charismatic by nature, or if you prefer organic, again community, interpersonal relationships, interdependence, it is very flexible and there’s a lot of room for spontaneity. Paul likens it to a human body. An institution is marked by hierarchy, delegation, authoritarianism, impersonality and rigid formality. Fine for the business world but it is not Church as the Bible knows it. Yes, there is hierarchy, delegation, and authority, there must needs be. It is depicted in the Bible as organic, tree, vine, flock, family, nation, household, and living stones. The Church is the vehicle through which God accomplishes all his plans in this world, by what it is, a chosen, redeemed community (1.1-2). And by what it does, its good works (Ephesians 2.10). Those works are not laid down as if predetermined, they may take a variety of forms, and take us into various fields of service. But they originate in Christian love, there foundation is gospel obedience and proper stewardship of spiritual gifts. They are done in the name of Jesus, and seek to reconcile, to heal in this world, in whatever area. Bottom line is they must glorify our Father.
The foundation stone of this community of believers is Jesus Christ (vv6-8), as was prophesied in the Old Testament. These living stones joined to Jesus may be despised in and by the world as were Peter’s readers, but they need never be ashamed (Romans 1.16). Because they are God’s chosen, his royal priesthood, forming his spiritual house (2.9). But it all comes about through Jesus, and through Jesus alone. In contrast to them, those who will not believe, to them the corner-stone will in the end be the cause of their ruination (v8), their rejection will be fatal. Jesus is the Rock upon which his Church is built (Matthew 16.16). So people either cling to the Rock in faith and find salvation, or refuse him and are swept away in the tide of God’s judgment (Acts 17.30).
Rock of ages cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy riven side which flowed;
be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power. (A.M. Toplady).
This Jesus is set for the rise and fall of many (Luke 2.34). The will of God is that you believe (John 6.40), the person who does not is condemned already (John 3:18).
(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)