The 1770’s were formative years for what would become the United States of America. The men of the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were making cognizant decisions of the preposterous notion of separating their meager colonies from the English empire that once held their loyal devotion. Decisions were made in Philadelphia that combated normative ideology and cultural understanding. Men who had grown up in English cultural norms and understood the monarchical political system were now aligning themselves directly against that very system.
A plot of land and a small courthouse in now downtown Philadelphia stand as mementos to the men who gathered to unify a little band of colonies in order to separate themselves from a then world superpower. The meetings, the documents, and most importantly the outcome of their endeavors are why Pennsylvania is known today as the keystone state. Keystone is defined as a central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together. The keystone is not the first stone, but it is without a doubt one of the most important because it is this stone that makes the entire structure sound. Pennsylvania was not the first state, but with it the very concept of states would today be fictitious. America owes its creation and formative years to the events that took place on the soil of Pennsylvania.
Ancient building practices used a cornerstone. This cornerstone was significant because typically it was the fist stone placed. It would have been one the most solid stones used, meticulously crafted because from this stone the entire fate of the construction process was determined. Throughout the fabrication process, everything would be measured back to the cornerstone. It was of this stone, the cornerstone that all other stones became necessary.
It is within the context of ancient construction that we find the meaning of the discussion of this article. Isaiah 28:16 says, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, A tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: He that believeth shall not make haste.” 1 Peter 2:6 picks up right where Isaiah left off, having the advance of hindsight he says, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”
Ephesians 2:20-22 brings it all together stating, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” The corner stone of salvation was laid before the stone of the grave rolled away. Jesus is the chief cornerstone, meaning that everything both stems from him and is built upon him.
We look at Christian doctrine and soon realize, without Jesus Christ the foundation of our faith in nullified. He is the “author and the finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2). It is through him that we “obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). We don't just find salvation through him, but salvation is only through him, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). His name is at the center of the salvation formula, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). We don’t just have salvation through him, we have salvation because of him, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). The sureness of our salvation is the based upon Jesus Christ alone. In all of this, the Bible records that, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:10). “The stone which the builders refused Is become the head stone of the corner” (Psalm 118:22). The most important foundation stone to ever be laid was a stone that was reject, despised of men (Isaiah 53:3). He was rejected then, but he cannot be rejected now. The cornerstone still matters, because without it, without him salvation is lost, and heaven is inaccessible.
Ancient construction practices would based everything from the corner stone in order to make sure that the building was constructed property. It has become a cliché in Christianity that our lives should be centered around Jesus. As I like to say, a cliché is a cliché for a reason. Stating that Jesus should be the essence from which our lives and futures are founded upon is not some cute saying, it is a Biblical truth. If everything is supposed to stem from the corner stone, and Jesus is the chief corner stone, then we must ask ourselves, is everything in our lives stemming from Jesus as the corner stone? Is Jesus truly the corner stone, the most foundational element of your life? Is he is sure foundation of your life?
We understand that Jesus is indeed the cornerstone of our hope and foundation of our faith, but he is more than that. The Bible records him as “the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2). He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Revelation 22:11). So he is both the cornerstone, being the first, and he is the keystone, being the last. Meaning simply, all of our dreams and aspirations should begin with him, but they should also end with him. The keystone is the stone that being placed last holds it all together. It is not enough to have a live that begins with Jesus, at the end of the day when the trumpet sounds I want my life to have ended with him as the one who both founded me and finished me.