Monday, 8 August 2016
…in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, Ephesians 2:21
In this verse, Paul now explains what being “members of the household of God” means. An edifice was implied, but now we learn what type of edifice it is. He begins the verse with, “…in whom.” This is speaking of Christ. He is the foundation and it is upon Him that the building is founded and continues to grow.
The next words, “the whole building,” show that it is one building being erected out of many parts, but those parts are inclusive of both Jew and Gentile. There is no distinction between the two, thus demonstrating the supremacy of the work of Christ. If a distinction was made between the two for the purpose of the building, then it would diminish His accomplishments and make our status within the building dependent on what we were before being joined through His work. It can only be after receiving Christ that any merit is imputed to a person in the matter of good works for rewards.
Going on, we as believers in Christ are “being fitted together.” This gives the idea of the craftsman using the materials in a house to erect that house. Boards are precisely cut, stones are shaped, tiles are placed with care. Each person is a unique member of this building. Jew and Gentile, male and female, various cultures and ethnicities… all being fitted according to the wisdom of the Master craftsman.
It is through this process that the building then “grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” The verb is a present active one. It is on-going, and it is continuous in nature. The building is a living-organism which is being fitted for the purpose of being “a holy temple.” Peter makes a similar note about believers in his first epistle –
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4, 5
Like Peter, Paul saw that the temple in Jerusalem was merely a type and a shadow of what God would do through the church. The word for “temple” is naos. It is that part of the temple where God Himself resides. Thus, the church is to be considered as the Holy of Holies; the place where God meets with man.
The verse finishes with the words, “in the Lord.” The verse began with “in whom” and with it ending on the same thought, it becomes obvious that the building is erected upon the foundation of Christ; it is built up in Christ; and it will be completed by Christ. This is actually seen in the words of Zechariah 6 –
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!
From His place He shall branch out,
And He shall build the temple of the Lord;
13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’ Zechariah 6:12, 13
Christ is the Cornerstone, He is the Builder of the temple; and He is the Capstone. It is all a work of Christ for the purpose of having a place where God may dwell among His redeemed for all eternity.
Life application: Should you feel that you are not a valuable part of what God is doing in His church, consider this verse. A building is not complete without each and every piece being fitted together. God has selected you to be an integral piece of the temple in which He will dwell for eternity. If this is so, then you are most precious indeed. God doesn’t make mistakes and your inclusion in His temple is with purpose, intent, and love.
Lord God, it is a wonder and a marvel to think that You are building a temple from the people of Your church; a beautiful place where You will reside among the redeemed for all of the ages to come. As we each are members of Your church, then each of us must be a precious part of this temple, without which it would be incomplete. Knowing this gives us certainty that we have purpose and we are of true value to You. Thank You for this marvelous assurance! Amen.