7 “So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (I Peter 2:7-8).
Peter continues to quote from the Old Testament to explain the significance of Jesus being the cornerstone of our faith. He quotes Psalm 118:22 to support the doctrine that Jesus the Savior is the believer’s security and defense. He is our cornerstone. Therefore, He is precious and valuable.
But what about the unbeliever? What significance does Jesus have in being likened to a cornerstone? Quoting from not only Psalm 118:22, but also Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16, Peter explains that to the unbeliever Jesus is a stone, not of security and defense, but rather a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
A stone of stumbling means an obstacle which causes offense and which implies opposition (I Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 5:11). The reason why unbelievers stumble over the person and work of Jesus Christ is because in their heart and soul, they are His enemies (Romans 5:10) and objects of God’s wrath (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3). Rather than being a comfort, to them Jesus is a curse.
It is ironic that for the past several decades, many churches seek to make the gospel as inoffensive as possible to the unbelieving community. Sin is seldom, if ever, mentioned and anything to do with the cross is removed: either in the church’s architecture or in the content of the worship service.
While believers must never be needlessly offensive when sharing the gospel, it should be noted that the biblical gospel will offend. To the sinner, the gospel is an offensive message. This continuing opposition signifies the sinner’s ultimate destiny (Romans 9:22-23; Jude 4).
When do you find yourself, if ever, tempted to downplay the offensiveness of the gospel message? To whom? Resolve never to give in to the temptation of “watering down” the truth of the gospel as others have done. Never be ashamed of the gospel nor the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16-17).
Soli deo Gloria!