(Guest post by David Fulton at sidekicksanonymous.wordpress.com, taken from a series of blogs on his favorite chapters in the Bible.)
Ephesians 2 is very apropos following Matthew 5, the first post in this series. We saw that our Father’s genes are making us perfect, and Paul confirms this:
V. 8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works that no one should boast”
V. 14 “For He Himself is our peace…”
Throughout the first 9 verses of this chapter Paul tells us again and again that Christ has done everything for our redemption and regeneration. But he caps that with verse 10:
“For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we would walk in them”
So God wasn’t just being nice with all this redemption stuff. He had a plan, a vested interest. He wanted a really smooth picture that he could display to the whole universe. Got it.
But that’s not all that God is getting out of the deal:
V. 21-22 “In whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”
Not only is God receiving the glory from us in His temple, and a bright shining trophy of His excellence before the whole universe, He is building a house. For Himself. With us as materials. Wow. I can’t believe I’m putting this at the 9 spot. This theme of God’s building shows up at least 3 more chapters in the New Testament, plus Isaiah 66 (which lifeandbuilding editor KB told me was a New Testament book in the Old Testament).
1 Corinthians 3
Although this chapter illustrates in detail the materials necessary to build on God’s house (gold, silver, and precious stone, v. 12-14) and shows us again that the foundation of our building is Christ (v. 11), a huge key that this chapter adds to the picture of the Building is verse 9:
“… you are God’s cultivated land, God’s building”
So God’s house is built not only with stones but with growing things, like a garden. In fact, our individual “stones” need to be cultivated and matured in a garden to be suitable for building.
1 Peter 2
Now we can see what Peter means about “living stones” in verse 5. Our growth into proper stones shows us to be blooming, flourishing like a flower. Once again we are built onto the foundation which is Christ, and linking up with Ephesians we are “telling out the virtues” (v. 9). Not only will we be God’s dwelling place, that house will also display His victory over every evil thing for eternity.
And to bring it on home, the New Jerusalem, God’s ultimate house comes down out of heaven (v. 2), built with gold (v. 18), precious stones (v. 19-20), and the pearl (v. 21; it used to be silver, now its pearl. That’s a whole other blog post because my editor is already antsy with how long this is.). And now get this:
V. 22 “And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
We’ve gone from being individual temples (1 Cor 6:19) to being built up into a holy temple (Eph 2:21) to the entire House becoming a temple.