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20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
The text in Ephesians 2:19 starts out with the words, "Now therefore," meaning that Paul has set forth various facts from which he wishes to draw a conclusion. Paul uses the word "therefore" seven times in the book of Ephesians, with one argument building upon another. With this style of writing, we need to be careful that we've read enough to get the context of the text which we are reading. At any rate it has been said that when we come to the word "therefore" we should back up and see what the word "therefore" is there for. So in that case we need to back up and take a quick look at Ephesians 2:10-18.
Paul is writing to a gentile church and reminding them that they had come from a pagan culture. Salvation had been restricted to the Jews (John 4:22). The Redeemer was promised to be from the line of David and the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29. The gentiles knew nothing of God's covenants of promise and had no hope of salvation. There also was a great strain between the gentile and Jewish nations. The Jews looked on the gentiles with disdain because they were not circumcised. The gentiles couldn't comprehend all the rigid ceremonial law of the Jewish religion. Thus there was a great enmity (great deep seated hatred) between the two groups. Jesus reconciled both groups to God by His death on the cross. The ceremonial law was fulfilled in Jesus on the cross and was no longer needed. Of course, the moral law from the Old Testament still needs to be heeded.
Jesus preached peace to the Jews who were nearer to God and the gentiles who were afar off. By Jesus, both Jew and gentile has access to the throne of God, because of His abiding Spirit. Thank God!
We gentiles are united with Jewish believers and are now members of the household of God. This of course means that we have certain family privileges as well as responsibilities. We are built upon the foundation of the apostles. These were men who walked and talked with Jesus for three and a half years. After the Lord’s resurrection He spent forty days giving them commandments of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Paul who wrote a large part of the New Testament, was later caught up to heaven for a personal encounter with the Lord (II Corinthians 12:2). When the New Testament was canonized, it was decided to only use writing of those who had seen and heard Jesus face to face. This is the same criteria that the apostles used to choose a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:21-26). I believe this allows us to have great confidence in the apostles as part of our foundation.
Likewise the Old Testament prophets. They prophesied the first coming of Jesus with great accuracy. Surely, they are part of our great foundation. Although prophesy is greatly misused and abused in this present age, there still remains the office of prophet in God's order (Ephesians 4:11) and New Testament prophets are a part of our foundation.
And of course Jesus is our corner stone (Isaiah 28:16, 1 Corinthians 3:11). I learned years ago that every aspect of a building was related to the cornerstone. The vertical walls are plumbed from the cornerstone. If the cornerstone is not level, each succeeding course of masonry will be crooked. Pretty hard to hang doors and windows in such a mess. The building is also squared from the cornerstone. If the builder gets a bit careless and puts up the walls out of square? Big problem.
We don't have that kind of problem because we are fitly framed together in Him. We, Jews and believers from every kindred, tongue and ethnic variation are one in Him. We have become a habitation for our God and He is pleased to dwell in us (Isaiah 57:15).
We are the church (Matthew 16:18), the called out assembly, purchased with the blood of our Savior (Acts 20:28: 1 Peter 1:18-19). I don't believe it pleases the Lord to see His body of believers that He died for so fragmented. It has been said that when we get to heaven we'll miss some whom we thought would surely be there and be surprised to see others that we thought had no chance. On the other hand, not everyone who calls themselves Christian is indeed Christian. Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:21-23 of those who would come before Him in judgment only to be rejected of Him, even though they had cast out demons and had done great miracles in His name. The key to their salvation was not their miracles but rather did they do the will of the Father.
Matthew 7:24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
Thank God, our house is built on the Rock with a sure foundation. Come what may, we have confidence that we will be numbered among His redeemed and hear our Savior say, "Well done."
Song: My God, My King and My Redeemer
"Grace is but Glory begun, and Glory is but Grace perfected." - Jonathan Edwards
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