1 Peter 2:9-12
We see in our text today the very significant issue of corporate holiness. We considered last week the necessity of individual holiness, which is fundamentally a heart to pursue the holiness of God in our personal lives and relationships in a godless society. Today, we consider how this sort of holiness is manifest in the church.
As background to our text, in vs. 4-8 Peter shows how the NT Christian church is constructed on a distinctly different foundation than the foundation of a humanistic and pagan society. Because the foundation is so different, both in form and function, the building is of necessity distinctly different. Stated plainly, the church must be distinctly different from the world! In vs. 7-8, Peter shows how the church is a group of people called by God, in contrast to the thinking of the religious Jews. Though the Jews held firmly to their Abrahamic lineage, and claimed that they were children of God because they were children of Abraham, Peter explains that this is not the case; rather, they are the children of God who have received Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone. This cornerstone was rejected by the Jews; they clung to Abraham and David but rejected Christ. So as Paul explains in Romans 11, God broke off the rebellious Jews from his covenant and made a new covenant with the humble Gentiles, creating a new community of faith.
As we continue our study in chapter 2, we see that Peter is explaining that the new Christian community exists in starkest contrast to the pagan community around them. And as we mentioned briefly last week, this stark contrast is an essential and powerful gospel invitation to the pagan community. Thus the Christian community of faith must consistently demonstrate godly holiness within the church, and as a church, in order to fulfill God’s design for the church as a community distinct from the world.