“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
The verses leading up to our text explain why we are so special in God’s eyes. We find the key in verse 7, which literally reads, “For you, therefore that believe is the preciousness,” since the Greek word is a noun and not an adjective. But what is this preciousness? The word means honor or honorableness, and in slightly different forms is so translated in 1 Peter 1:7 and 3:7. But whose honor or worthiness is being discussed in this passage?
Peter answers both of these questions in the immediate context. Speaking of the Lord, he calls Him “precious…a chief corner stone, elect, precious” (1 Peter 2:4, 6). Christ, in God’s eyes, is precious. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Why is He precious? For His purity, love, desire for God’s will, etc.—all the ways (and more) in which we are not precious.
If we choose to remain in disobedient unbelief (1 Peter 2:7), the stone is made “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word” (v. 8). Christ, God’s beloved Son, and His atoning blood are so precious to God that there is a limit to His patience toward those who reject them. God will not allow His Son to be “disallowed” or disobeyed without penalty. Worthlessness is the state of those who reject, and judgment awaits them.
If we disbelieve, we have no hope, but “he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [literally, ‘shall positively not be disappointed’]” (v. 6). Our faith is well-founded. If we place our trust in Him, His preciousness is transferred to us. When God the Father looks at one who truly believes, He sees not only Christ’s sinlessness, He sees His preciousness. JDM