Coming to the Living Stone.

1 Peter 2:1-10.

Notes of Reading with J. McDonald at Walkerburn, 15th Oct., 1897.

The only One behind the counsels of God is God Himself! His counsels are in perfect accordance with Himself. God is behind everything working out His own will. Verse 23 of the preceding chapter shows the beginning in our souls. The Word of God is the only permanent thing. We are born of incorruptible seed by the sovereign act of God. God never takes up anyone with the view of letting go. Verse 24 shows the passing nature of everything else. Dispensationally, the flower (the choicest part of the grass) represents the Jew. That brings to light unmistakably the conclusion that the creature could not meet the case. That was the way God took to teach man. So we need not look for anything from man. If we do, disappointment will be the result. On the other hand, if God has taken anyone up it may be confidently expected that He will complete the work. About that each one should be able to speak for himself. If born of incorruptible seed that is a proof to me that I am in the counsels of God, which take in the Church, Sonship, and the Calling, etc.; indeed everything that will go on to eternity when God will find His rest! Because His counsels will be completed and every attribute of God vindicated, hence all can be at rest. A new-born soul can rest on the knowledge of redemption. Redeemed by blood, we learn that His Word, enduring for ever, alone brings lasting realities before our souls.

The first verse of chapter 2 invokes the laying-aside of the qualities of the first man. The believer is entitled to see that not only are his sins gone, but the man who committed them is gone too. All the counsels have been made good in Christ already. All the promises are "yea and amen" in Christ Jesus. What is made good in Him, will be made good to us. The second verse does not imply that we are new born babies, but the example is adduced to show that we should have the same desire as they have. If we are going on in our souls we shall be going on with the Word of God. There will be correspondence with the incorruptible seed by which they are born. If our source of life is in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. The incorruptible seed never gave rise to one of the qualities indicated in the first verse, e.g., evil speaking shows that we are out of communion. If in the presence of God, we cannot be speaking evil. We should be here for the glory of God. No one can really hurt a man but himself. External influences may cast a cloud over you, but God will ultimately bring into the light everything which is untrue. "He is near that justifieth me." Many do not get on in their souls, because they are seeking favour from their brethren. We are enjoined to love the brethren not to fear them. It is not helpful to our brethren, if we curry favour with them.

Verse 3 introduces the condition of tasting (or testing) that the Lord is gracious or good. Then having tasted of His goodness we are attracted to Him in the character of Living Stone. There is no forced work. It is not put in consequence of being born again. The Jew in the coming day of blessing although born again will never touch this building, the Spiritual House. But the saints on earth to-day are in it. "To whom coming," Heb. 13:13, says, "go to Him outside the camp." That introduces the thought of separation. The one relationship is distinct from the other, although the same person is involved, e.g., a man may be husband, father, master and neighbour all at once. We do not come to Him as "Living Stone" in the character of Saviour or Shepherd, Living Stone is connected as builder. There is an analogous thought in baptism. We also lose individuality when put into the body. The individual is merged in the corporate! In contrast with the material temple of old, the Living Stone is in correspondence with the revelation of God at this time. Of old God dwelt in a material temple with His people. But He dwells in a spiritual house now. The material sacrifices, quite suitable in the last dispensation, are displaced by spiritual sacrifices. We have nothing to do but to place ourselves in His hands. Spiritual experience does not imply "tasting and feeling," but "tasting and seeing"! "The eyes of your heart being enlightened" is the same idea.

The responsibility and privilege of every believer is to come. In Matt. 16, when the Lord said, "on this rock (the subject of Peter's confession) will I build my church," Peter came to that apprehension in his soul. Christ received the church consequent on the refusal of the kingdom on earth. Heaven was set forth in symbol in "the far country" of the parable. At His first coming to earth peace was proclaimed, but when He comes back it will be vengeance! Unless you see Him in heaven you will not come to Him. Coming to Him as the Living Stone, the rejected One, is outside everything. Man gave him nothing, God gave him everything! All those who are in affinity with Him can answer to the invitation. Matt. 14. is a striking illustration. Peter saw the Lord walking on the sea, superior to the power of the elements and could not be content with any place short of being with Him. Having received the invitation, he fixed his eye on the Person who engrossed his heart and he descended from the boat and walked on the water, superior also to the elements by divine power. (The artists usually show Peter sinking, but Scripture does not). Affection took Peter out to Christ, nothing else will take us out to Him. Nothing else can feed our affections like the knowledge of the goodness of the Lord. That will give us joy and spring to go to Him. We shall be attracted and attached to Him. The more that is true, we shall be detached from everything here which will hinder us.