They Were Destined to Disobey God

1 Peter 2:4–8, Part 2


God predestined some, in his infinite mercy, to hear the gospel and believe. And he predestined others, in unspeakable mystery, to disobey and reject the good news. In this lab, John Piper leads us carefully word by word into one of the most difficult verses and truths in all the Bible, ending with nine summary thoughts.

Principle for Bible Reading

Many of the truths in Scripture are deeper and weightier than we can completely comprehend. As we approach verses like these, we need to do so carefully and humbly, pleading with God to show us as much as he wants us to see and to keep us from pride, presumption, and error.

Study Questions

  1. Peter lays out two kinds of responses (two kinds of people) to Jesus in 1 Peter 2:4–8. Note as much as you can from these five verses about the two kinds of responses/people.
  2. 1 Peter 2:8 is one of the heaviest verses in all the Bible. How would you understand it, and then how would you explain it to someone?
  3. Read Matthew 21:42 and Acts 4:27–28. How do these passages effect how you read 1 Peter 2:6–8?
Piper: “The mystery is how God rules over sinners without sinning, not that he does.”

Introduction/Prayer (00:00–01:50)

Two Responses to Jesus Christ (01:50–05:03)

  • Peter draws out two kinds of responses to the living stone Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:6–8)
  • The first kind of person believes the word, and receives honor. (1 Peter 2:6)
  • The second kind of person rejects the word and stumbles in unbelief toward destruction. (1 Peter 2:7–8)
  • It looks like believers are being rejected (they are in this world) (1 Peter 2:4), but they will receive honor with Christ in glory. (1 Peter 2:7)

Predestined to Disobey (05:03–10:25)

  • To “disobey” the word is to refuse it or not believe in it. (1 Peter 2:8)
  • They were predestined by God not to believe in the good news. (1 Peter 2:8)
  • Piper’s translation of 1 Peter 2:8: “They stumble, disobeying the word, unto which they were appoint.”
  • Some say the “stumbling” that was predestined is the punishment, and not the disobedience. In that scenario, God would not be responsible for their lack of faith, but for rightly punishing their lack of faith.
  • The problem is that stumbling here is the disobedience itself. (1 Peter 2:8)
  • Jesus had already said that God planned for some to reject the cornerstone. (Matthew 21:42)
  • Again, we see that God predestined some to do sin, including killing the Son of God. (Acts 4:27–28)

Summary Thoughts on Predestination (10:25–13:15)

  • This is the other side of the coin in Peter’s calling the Christians “elect exiles” (1 Peter 1:1).
  • The mystery is how God rules over sinners without sinning, not that he does. (Acts 4:27–28)
  • God can and does will the sinful unbelief of those who reject Christ. Yet . . .
  • There are no personas who want to be saved and are prevented against their will.
  • Every person who perishes willfully rejects the knowledge of God.
  • There are no persons who are not morally responsible for their unbelief.
  • There are no persons whose judgment will be unjust.
  • All of us were hopelessly sinful, and none of us deserves to be delivered.
  • Take heart, embattled exiles, none of your adversaries can thwart God’s plans.
Piper: “God, guard us from believing anything false, and take us as deep as you intend us to go into who you are.”