Christ is the Foundation Stone

by Mike Ratliff

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (Matthew 21:42-44 ESV)

The message to the Christian throughout the New Testament is to deny self, to view with contempt the temporal or world system, to understand that love of the temporal and genuine discipleship are mutually exclusive because it is from the former which all genuine believers are being delivered. This deliverance is progressive mortification of all carnal affections and impediments. This must be so in order for the Christian to attain more speedily the heavenly Kingdom of Christ. It is to Christ’s Kingdom that all believers are called by the grace of God and it is revealed to them in His Son. All believers have received this by faith, possessed it by hope, and are therein confirmed it by Holiness of life.

This process of sanctification can make the narrow path we are called to travel to the Celestial City to be bewildering at time. The travail of the journey can distract us from our devotion to our Saviour and cause us to focus on the fires of tribulation instead. We are exhorted in God’s Word to walk by faith, not by sight. If we walk by sight then we will eventually tire in our frustration and become faint in our pilgrimage. The exhortation is to examine Christ. If we do then we will see that He was treated with contempt and rejected almost by the whole world. He tells us that this rejection was actually the fulfillment of Scripture, which testifies that He should be the stumbling stone to the reprobate, but the sure foundation of salvation to the faithful. Because of this, we should not become discouraged and full of doubt. If this message finds you imprisoned in Doubting Castle by the Giant Despair then I encourage you my brethren to remember the promises given to us when we met our Saviour at the Cross. These promises will open any lock in Doubting Castle and will enable us to flee Giant Despair. The reason this is so is that our Saviour is not a helpless bystander in our pilgrimage. He is the foundation stone or cornerstone of our faith.

Some reading this may be not only despairing in their walk, but also are struggling in their personal relationships because of that. You are walking according to the flesh and are reacting to your circumstances via carnal policy. This is not good my brethren. We must not remain in this state of spiritual darkness, but, instead, we must lay aside these things and refocus on who Christ is and who we are in Him.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation– if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 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. (1 Peter 2:1-8 ESV)

We lose our focus and our walk of faith suffers when we operate according to the ways of this world. Remember, we cannot walk according to the Spirit and according to the flesh at the same time. We will either be self-focused or Christ-focused. If we are consuming large quantities of television, movies, entertainment, or any other thing the world has to offer in the place of consuming the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word the will be carnal in our walk. However, if we lay aside these things and pursue the Lord instead then we are back in the race that God has set before us. We have our eyes on Christ and are making actual progress on our pilgrimage to the Celestial City (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Christ is a living stone, rejected by the unregenerate. However, in the eyes of God the Father, He is chosen and precious. All in Him are living stones as well and are being laid on the foundation unto a spiritual house. Genuine believers are a holy priesthood whose self-denial and devotion to their Lord are the only spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

Those who fall on the stone rejected by men will be broken, but they will not be put to shame. These believe in Him. However, those who reject Him will find that this stone will fall on and crush them. He is to them a stumbling stone and a rock of offense. They stumble because they disobey the Word, as they were destined to do. This ‘destiny’ does not deny human responsibility. Those who stumble and are crushed do so because they disobey.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:9-12 ESV)

I doubt if most Christians see themselves this way. That is a shame. I receive more than my share of comments and emails from those who are continually telling me that what I teach here is in error. I find it very telling, however, that the posts that receive the most attention from them are almost all expositions of Sacred Scripture. The telling part is that they offer no scriptural based rebuttal. It is always based on some form of human philosophy, which has taken over vast portions of the visible Church. They demand to be counted as Christians, but they refuse to fall on the living stone in submission to His Word. They disobey His Word by elevating their ‘beliefs’ over and above the authority of Sacred Scripture. Let us not do this my brethren. No, let us understand who we are in Christ. We are His possession unto His glory.

All in Christ are exhorted to view themselves as merely sojourners and exiles in this lost and dying world. Therefore, if we do this then we must also abstain from the passions of the flesh. Why? These things wage war against our Souls. We are called to be separate from this world and its ways. We are only passing through on our way to the Celestial City where our Lord awaits the faithful. As we journey let us live blamelessly in the midst of the unregenerate. Perhaps God will use our witness to draw others to join us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

13 thoughts on “Christ is the Foundation Stone

  1. Good post Mike. We do need to stick together and edify each other in these trying times for sure. Doubting Castle was one thing, but the giant who wanted to beat the 2 guys to a pulp wasn’t a pretty scene! Good thing he coughed and remembered that key :) Being eaten alive by the enemy would be no picnic. If we are not in the Word and listening to the Holy Spirit, that could happen. Just like the other day when that ‘pastor’ sent us an email telling us that Calvinist were a cult, arrogant, prideful, and lazy. How do ya like those apples?! This is the one who believes in ‘free will’ and ‘you can lose your salvation’. Basically he didn’t need a Saviour, he was going to make it to Heaven on his own righteousness……………. The good ol social, works gospel.

  2. Thanks Paul and Luann. You are right. It is imperative that we stay in the Word and live it. When we do then those who try to lead us astray cannot deceive us.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. Pingback: Christ is the Foundation Stone - Reformata

  4. Thank you for this straightforward message. At an earlier time in my life I would not have appreciated it as I do now. God has done a great work in my life, holding the mirror of Scripture up to my life and exposing my depraved nature and love of the world. I had a bit of a wake-up call (the Holy Spirit’s direction) a few years ago when I began to imagine that I needed to get educated in an institute of higher learning in order to be somebody useful to the Lord. I was basically on an ego trip. My journey into seminary led me into some unbiblical spiritual practices which I have since renounced. I have a new love and appreciation for the Word of God and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It is by the blood of Christ that we draw near, not by anything we can do. It is by the Spirit we are sanctified, who works both in and through us, praise be to God!

    God bless you, Mike, for speaking the truth.

  5. You are very welcome Bonnie! I rejoice that God has drawn you into the light. You are right about a seminary degree making us useful in the Kingdom. While some are wonderful, I have also way too many who have all that education, but no faith. Faith obviously is not a needed in order to get a seminary degree. However, what we have to learn is that God can and does use those who are available and obedient and humble.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Mike, I am always drawn to examine my own life when I read your posts. Not always comfortable, but always welcome. I am very thankful to the Lord for giving you the words for our consideration.

    God bless you.

    Heather

  7. Mike:
    I just wanted to encourage you in general for teaching truth–in this post and others. It is hard to stand firm in these dark times but you have been a great encouragement to me and I thank you for that. We may not meet this side of heaven but I am grateful for your internet ministry and the grace and truth you extend to me. God Bless You Richly,
    Wendy

  8. Amen to your post Mike. We are sure at war with the world, the stronger your walk, the more you will feel the attacks. Satan doesn’t want us to get the word out to the world and he will do “ANYTHING” to stop us. My husband and son and I were talking this morning at how bold some men like MacArthur, Mohler, Piper, Washer are and how many folks bash them, even professing christians. My son comments were, “It’s a battle and the more you proclaim Christ, the more you will be hated.” The question is are you willing to be hated? Are you willing to be attacked for His name sake?
    There is som much in the bible that tells us that when under fire, Christ is our refuge, we are under His wing of protection.

    The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread…My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.

    One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock (Psa. 27:1-5).

    Cristina

  9. Amen Cristina! Yes indeed, you and your family’s eyes are open to the truth and you should praise the Lord and thank Him for doing that. So many professing Christians have believed the lie that if they are being hated by the world then they are not doing right. What is so discouraging to many of us though is the hatred coming from so many professing Christians when they hear the truth. They call what is true false and what is false true. I pray for the Lord to come back soon and then we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I look forward to that with my entire being.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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