“DESTINED” OR “PRE-DESTINED”?
Friday, 23 November 2018
1 Peter 2 : 1-12
…“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. -1 Peter 2:8 [NASB]
You are the reason why Christ came to this world and it is for you that He willingly chose to die on the cross! Nevertheless, the decision of each individual leads him/her to appropriate the benefit of this act of Christ in their personal lives. Our key verse points to this irrefutable truth that the personal choice of an individual decides whether Christ becomes their Cornerstone or stumbling block! “They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.” [NIV] Does that mean some people were destined to disobey God's Word, such that they are meant for damnation? Whereas, we read in 2 Peter 3:9 that God wants all people to come to repentance. As God's Word cannot contradict itself, so how should we infer 1 Peter 2:8?
Throughout the Bible, it is clear that God does not want people to perish eternally. “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4). It is the overall understanding of Scripture that helps us interpret our key verse in question.
A closer look into the context leads us to a correct understanding of that verse. In the previous verses, the apostle explained how differently believers and unbelievers regard Jesus Christ:
To believers: Jesus is a precious cornerstone (1 Pet 2:7).
To unbelievers: Jesus is a stone over which they stumble (1 Pet 2:8).
These opposite reactions to Jesus illustrate what the Lord declared: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Matt. 12:30). There is no neutral ground we take toward Jesus- it is either for Him or against Him.
What then is the phrase in question: “which is also what they were destined for?” (1 Peter 2:8) Having understood that God, in eternity, has not predestined people to hell, Peter’s words in verse 8 explain that those who reject Jesus in unbelief are destined to have Jesus as a stumbling stone and not a cornerstone. Unbelievers set their course for their destiny in eternity by their rejection of Jesus! The Bible is clear that people are the reason when they are lost eternally, while God is to be praised when people are saved.
In trying to understand ‘election’ of some to eternal life and the ‘passing over’ of others in the Scripture, we have to keep in mind the individual choice of those who obey or disobey God. Election to salvation is viewed as a cause for praise to God, who is worthy of praise and receives all the credit for our salvation (read Eph 1:3-6). God who chooses us for salvation, does it with delight. But the ‘passing over’ of those not chosen, rightly leaving them in their rebellion is viewed as something which causes God sorrow, not delight (Eze 33:11 – refer above). Let us praise God for the wonderful privilege of salvation which we now enjoy.
As we summarise, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” (Eph. 2:19-20)
For us to Rejoice:
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
-John 3:17 (NKJV)
Listen- ‘ Christ our Cornerstone’
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