We’re continuing through our study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. We’ve been talking about how God has brought us all together in Christ.
Paul gives us more teaching.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household…
Ephesians 2:19 NIV
In this verse, Paul talks about the blessing that we’ve received as Gentiles in Christ. It goes beyond anything that could have been possible under the Law of Moses.
Ephesians 2:12 tells us that under the Law, we were foreigners to God’s covenant. We had no access to the promises of blessing given to Abraham.
But, in Christ we’re foreigners no longer. And he makes it even clearer. The word, aliens, in that verse, literally means a foreigner who lives next door to you.
That’s Good News to me as a Gentile believer. We’re not just “next door” to the promises. We don’t just get a little taste of God’s goodness. We’re all in.
Throughout Scripture, the Jews were called God’s people. There was always a distinction between them and the rest of the world. Now, that’s not the case in Christ. We’re now fellow citizens of the same kingdom.
We’re now a part of God’s household. That’s an important term. It’s not just family. You can be a part of the family and live far away. By using the word, household, it means we all live in the same house. You can’t get any closer than that.
At this point, it’s important to understand the house that we live in. In Christ, God created a new place of residence for all of us.
…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Ephesians 2:20 NIV
Here’s the foundation of everything we have in Christ. There are two parts to this foundation. First, are the apostles. I believe that Paul is referring to the ministry of the New Covenant. Everything is based upon the testimony and teaching of the early apostles.
But then, there’s also the side of the prophets. I believe Paul is talking about the prophetic writings of the Old Testament. That’s because the prophetic books speak more about the heart of God. As a Gentile, I’m glad that the Law is not a part of the foundation.
What we need to realize, however, is that these two sides of the foundation are not the most important parts. Christ Jesus, Himself, is the chief cornerstone. We need to understand that.
In ancient times, when a large structure was being built, they first needed a chief cornerstone. That was a block of stone that was a perfect cube. All of the angles had to be exactly 90 degrees. In that way they could line up all of the walls and know for sure that the building was level.
That speaks volumes to us as believers. Only in Jesus Christ do the Old and New Testaments have perfect alignment. I can’t possibly understand how to apply the Old Testament apart from the work of Jesus.
Too often, Christians try to set down a list of rules based on Old Testament Scriptures. What they end up with is a form of legalistic self-righteousness. Without an application of the work and teaching of Christ, I’ll be left with a dry, empty walk with God.
The Lord wants more for us than that kind of life.
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:21-22 NIV
His desire that that we walk by the spirit and not a set of rules. In that way, we can see consistent growth in our spiritual life. Along with that, the body of Christ as a whole is built up.
Question: Why does a spiritual walk bring more growth than following a set of rules?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi