Isaiah 28:161NIV New International Version Translations
16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.
Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He has been called the evangelical prophet, on account of his numerous and full prophesies concerning the coming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of Christ’s kingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiah points to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effected by the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, without alluding at the same time to the other. Isaiah is often so enthralled with the prospect of the more distant deliverance that he often loses sight of that which was nearer, and dwells on the Messiah’s person, office, character, and kingdom.
Chapter 28 discusses the desolations of Samaria. (1-4) The prosperity of Judah; with reproofs for sinfulness and unbelief. (5-15) Christ is pointed out as the sure Foundation for all believers. (16-22) God’s dealings with his people. (23-29).
Here is a promise of Christ, as the only foundation of hope for escaping the wrath to come. This foundation was laid in God’s house, in the eternal counsels of God. This foundation is a stone, firm and able to support his church. It is a tried stone, a chosen stone, approved of God, and never failed any who made trial of it. A cornerstone, binding together the whole building, and bearing the whole weight; precious in the sight of the Lord, and of every believer; a sure foundation on which to build. And he who in any age or nation shall believe this testimony, and rest all his hopes, and his never-dying soul on this foundation, shall never be confounded. The right effect of faith in Christ is, to quiet and calm the soul, till events shall be timed by Him, who has all times in his own hand and power.
Whatever men trust to for justification, except the righteousness of Christ; or for wisdom, strength, and holiness, except the influences of the Holy Ghost; or for happiness, except the favor of God; that protection in which they thought to shelter themselves, will prove not enough to answer the intention. Those who rest in a righteousness of their own, will have deceived themselves: the bed is too short, the covering too narrow. God will be glorified in the fulfilling of his counsels. If those that profess to be members of God’s church, make themselves like Philistines and Canaanites, they must expect to be dealt with as such. Then dare not to ridicule the reproofs of God’s word, or the approaches of His judgments.
Items for Discussion
- The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. How is a cornerstone similar to that of our Christ?
- What is a capstone?
- How is Christ also like a capstone?
- Using both the cornerstone and capstone, how would you describe the purpose of Christ?
- How would you explain to someone the idea that Christ is the foundation of your salvation?
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The doctrine of which the apostle Paul wrote, set forth the fulfilment of the promises by the prophets. It spoke of the Son of God, even Jesus the Saviour, the promised Messiah, who came from David as to his human nature, but was also declared to be the Son of God, by the Divine power which raised him from the dead. The Christian profession does not consist in a factual knowledge or blind faith, much less in perversion of God’s Word. A profession of faith means obedience. And all those, and those only, are brought to obedience of the faith, who are effectually called of Jesus Christ. This is simply stated, the secret to salvation.
Verses 8-11 The message that the apostles preached was about trust in Christ and his resurrection. In other words, it was about faith. And God would save people who have faith in Christ. They would have a right relationship with God. God would make them righteous. He would give them the Holy Spirit. And God’s Spirit would teach them how to live in a manner that pleases God.
Their relationship with God would not depend on the law. It would depend on Christ, who made the law complete. By his death, Christ did everything that the law orders to make people righteous. And by his resurrection, we too receive a new life. (See Romans 6:1-8.) That is why Paul emphasizes Christ’s death and resurrection here.
Paul tells the people to declare, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ The word ‘Lord’ has two meanings. Slaves would call their master, ‘Lord’. The word shows that the slave intends to obey his master. In the same manner, Christians should obey Jesus completely (John 13:13-16) as their Master. But the word ‘Lord’ is also a translation of God’s most sacred name. So Paul was emphasizing that Jesus is God. And Paul said that this belief was essential for Christians to declare.
In verse 9, Paul is describing the moment when a person becomes a real Christian. For the first time, that person has real faith in God. That person believes in his or her heart. It is not sufficient simply to say the words without faith. But if that person is sincere, God will give faith to that person (Matthew 7:7-8). And the actual words that a person speaks at that moment do not always need to be these words. But these are good words to say.
In fact, ‘Jesus is Lord’ was the earliest form of creed. People would declare in public, ‘Jesus is Lord’ at their baptism. Afterwards, they would continue to tell other people about their faith (1 Peter 3:15). Christ will never disappoint anyone (Isaiah 28:16). He will save everyone who trusts him.
Verses 12-13 Christ is Lord of both Jews and Gentiles. Christ offers salvation to everyone. He will save everyone who asks him. Paul uses words from Joel 2:32 to emphasize this. Peter used the same words at the end of his speech on the day called Pentecost (Acts 2:21).
Items for Discussion
- Is the Apostle Paul telling us that to be saved, one must believe in Christ?
- So what does it mean to “Believe in Christ?”
- What is the difference in one’s faith walk between their “Verbal” profession of faith and their “Heart-filled” profession of faith?
- Why are we called to do both?
- Why is it so important to declare “Jesus as Lord?”
- How do you personally draw comfort in verse 13’s message from Paul?
- How should a group gathered as Christians declare “Jesus as their Lord?”
- 1NIV New International Version Translations