Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ephesians 2:19-20

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

“So then” refers us back to the fact that we have been reconciled into one body through Christ and have access to the Father through Him. Because of this we are no longer strangers. “Strangers” (ξένοι) means “foreigners in state,” as opposed to citizens. “Aliens” (πάροικοι) means “guests in a private family,” as opposed to the members of the family. In Greek culture strangers and aliens would not have a voice in politics and would need a patron to conduct business. In Jewish culture strangers and aliens might have been shown some hospitality as guests, but you would keep your distance and consider them unable to access God. But we have become fully naturalized citizens of the kingdom – even adopted as full members of God’s privileged household.

The foundation for our faith has been laid by the apostles – or the teachings of the New Testament – and the prophets – or the teachings of the Old Testament. However the key is not the makeup of the foundation but the cornerstone connecting and supporting the entire structure of believers. A great building would rest on its cornerstone, and if the cornerstone were shaky or unstable the building would collapse. Jesus is a stalwart cornerstone, fully supporting the church body as our firm foundation. The cornerstone was twice as big as the other stones and became a part of both walls to join them together. So Jesus had joined the Jews and Gentiles together into one building. There is also a shift in focus from a building such as the Temple of Artemis or the Temple in Jerusalem as a primary place of worship to believers being the dwelling place of God.

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
- Isaiah 28:16

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