Ephesians – Chapter 2, Part 6
God’s Way of Salvation
Ephesians 2 ~ Vs. 18 – 22
Chapter 2 – Outline: Positional Relocation.
- The New Position in the Heavenlies, the new life in Christ. God has spiritually regenerated sinners, transforming them from death to life, vs. 1-10.
- The New Position in the Household, unity in Christ. He reconciled Jews and Gentiles, moving them from alienation to oneness, vs. 11-18.
- The New Position in the Habitat, the Church is a Temple for the habitation of God through the Spirit. Gentiles are no longer aliens but fellow citizens of heaven being formed into a Holy temple for God’s dwelling, vs. 19-22.
Chapter 2 – Theme: God’s Grace:
The great theme of this chapter is God’s grace towards man as Paul discusses how sinners who deserve nothing but God’s wrath can become trophies of His grace.
- Vs. 1-10, speak of the grace panorama regarding our regeneration, from death to life, and our new position individually.
- Vs. 11-17, speak of grace and the barrier regarding our reconciliation, Jews and Gentiles as one.
- Vs. 18-22, speak of grace and the Church regarding being fashioned into the Temple of God.
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Eph 2:18, “For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”
“For through Him” is HOTI DIA AUTOS, where HOTI is a causal Conjunction connecting the previous paragraph that means, “because,” referring to reconciliation. So this should read, “because of reconciliation through Him.”
“We both have” is the Greek Noun AMPHOTERIO, which we have previously noted with the Present, Active, Indicative, 1stPerson Plural of ECHO, ἔχω that means, “to have and hold, keep, preserve, possess, or cling to.”
“Our access,” is the Noun PROSAGOGE προσαγωγή, used only here and in Rom 5:2 and in Eph 3:12, that means, “to bring, lead or conduct to someone, to bring near, access or approach.” It was commonly used for the audience or right of approach granted to someone by high officials and monarchs. And PROSAGOGUES was the title used for the official in an ancient court who introduced visitors to the ruler. So the word does not just refer to liberty of approach, but to an actual introduction, cf. Rom 5:2.
A cognate, PROSAGO, has a similar meaning as we see in 1 Peter 3:18, See also Col 1:22; Jude 1:24; cf. 2 Cor 4:14; Eph 5:27.
And to the Church of Sardis our Lord stated in Rev 3:5, “He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess, (EXOMOLOGEO), his name before My Father, and before His angels.” Cf. Mat 10:32; Luke 12:8(HOMOLEGEO).
In all three verses using PROSAGOGE, we see that we have been given access to (peace with) God the Father through Jesus Christ by means of faith. It was His strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict at the Cross that opened the door for our access into relationship with the Father, “not by works, (the keeping of the Law), least any man should boast.” Our access is based upon our union with Christ; it therefore gives us the right to enter into His presence because we are under His priesthood.
This is the fourth way in vs. 14-18 that emphasize that the two, Jew and Gentile, have been united:
- “The two are made one,” vs. 14.
- “One new man” is created “out of the two,” vs. 15.
- “In this one body… both” are reconciled, vs. 16.
- “Both have access” by “one Spirit,” vs. 18.
Nothing could be clearer than the fact that this new union replaces enmity.
Next we have “in one Spirit,” the singular manner in which our access to/peace with the Father is channeled, EN HEIS PNEUMA, πνεῦμα, referring to God the Holy Spirit, which is equivalent to the Hebrew term RUACH, רוּחַ, for the Holy Spirit. This refers to the baptism of the Spirit by which we are entered into the presence of the Father.
Paul taught the unity of those within the body of Christ in 1 Cor 12 where, once again, the unifying factor is the Holy Spirit. In fact, it was the outpouring of the Spirit upon the house of Cornelius, Acts 10, along with the vision that Peter had previously that convinced him and the rest that God had united the believing Gentiles together with the Jewish believers. For Peter and the Apostles, if God sent His Spirit to dwell within Gentile believers, it was impossible to call them unclean and therefore they are no longer separated from them in the family of God. So, the middle wall of division was broken down by the death of Jesus Christ, because it was by His death that the promise of the Holy Spirit was made sure. That the Spirit was poured out upon the Gentiles was a direct result of Jesus’ sacrifice, for He said in John 12:32, “if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself.”
And finally, we have the direction of our access/introduction/peace, “to the Father,” PROS HO PATER, that means, “face to face with the Father.”
Therefore, as a result of the peace that Jesus’ death on the Cross provides for both Jews and Gentiles, both groups have access and an introduction to the Father through Christ by the Holy Spirit. Notice the involvement of the Trinity. Through Christ, or because of His sacrifice on the Cross, Rom 5:2, the Holy Spirit introduces believers to the Father. The Bible is tremendously consistent about the complete involvement of the Trinity in all that God does for us and through us as His people. All of God’s blessings have always come to mankind through Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit has always been the member of the Trinity who performs the specific acts. This pattern is seen in the Bible even from creation itself, Gen 1:1-2; John 1:1-3. The emphasis in this verse relates to the fact that access to the Father does not depend upon any value inherent in the believer, but is dependent upon the sacrifice of Christ on his behalf.
The Doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a real baptism, an actual identification, in which God the Holy Spirit, at the moment we believe in Christ, enters the new believer into union with Christ. It is one of the seven ministries of God the Holy Spirit at salvation whereby the individual Church Age believer is entered into union with the person of Jesus Christ. This union with Christ is called positional sanctification or the sanctification of the body, Eph 5:25‑27.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a function of the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit to enter the believer into union with Christ, making the Church Age believer a part of the Royal Family of God, as a new creature; a new spiritual species, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.
There is only one baptism that unifies the Royal Family of God, 1 Cor 12:13; Rom 6:3-5
The baptism of the Holy Spirit did not occur in Old Testament times or in any previous dispensation. It is peculiar to one dispensation only, the Church Age, the age in which we live. It qualifies each one of us as Royal Priests. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is that salvation ministry of the Spirit, whereby He enters every believer into union with Jesus Christ our High Priest and therefore appoints each one of us a Royal Priest forever, 1 Peter 2:9.
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit was prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ while He was on earth. It was a part of teaching the whole principle of reconciliation. Reconciliation and the baptism of the Spirit occur simultaneously, cf. John 14:20 with Acts 1:5. It was essential the Lord Jesus Christ ascend and be seated at the right hand of the Father. That is analogous to the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies represents heaven. Jesus Christ enters into heaven as the Royal High Priest and our personal representative. We, in turn, represent Him as a kingdom of priests on this earth.
The mechanics of the baptism of the Spirit are described in 1 Cor 12:13. God the Holy Spirit enters each one of us into union with Christ.
In this way, at the point of salvation and totally apart from any experience, God the Holy Spirit brings perfect unity to the body of Christ. Regardless of its experiential status there is perfect unity in the body of Christ, for all believers are entered into union with Christ, Eph 4:5-6.
The basis for retroactive positional truth is the baptism of the Spirit since we are not only entered into union with Christ at the right hand of the Father, but we are also identified with Him in His death, as per Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:12.
It is also the basis for current positional truth, Eph 1:3-6; Col 2:10. In current positional truth we share everything that Christ has.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit began the dispensation of the Church, Mat16:18; Acts 1:5, plus Acts 2:3 which does not mention the baptism of the Spirit, but it explains what happened there is the baptism of the Spirit by the explanation in Acts 11:15-17.
The baptism of the Spirit is not an experience of any kind; it is something that happens to every believer at the point of salvation; at the moment that we believe in Jesus Christ, Eph 1:12-14; Col 2:12.
The implications of the baptism of the Spirit provide equality nonexistent in physical birth, Gal 3:26-28. There are no socio-economic, gender, or racial distinctions or prejudices in the Royal Family of God.
Jew and Greek are two distinct races, and the most famous races of the ancient world. The Jews thought of themselves as superior because of the Mosaic Law. The Greeks thought of themselves as superior because of their great history of thought and cultural genius in Attica and Ionia in the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. The Jews despised the culture of the Greeks. The Greeks viewed the Jew as having no culture, no philosophical background. So there was a great racial antagonism between these two races of the ancient world.
The application of this doctrine is to begin to think of yourself as a person, not as a race. Race is no issue, for every Church Age believer is in union with Christ. You are not to think in inferior or superior or competing terms. Your job is to fulfill the standards of the royal family of God. To do that, you never look to your right or your left and evaluate anyone as to their spiritual status or anything else. You no longer look at believers in terms of any former hypocrisies or arrogance or prejudice. Every believer, without exception, is Royal Family of God. You can only look to yourself.
As a result of the baptism of the Spirit, we have been introduced to God the Father as a member of His eternal Royal Family having access to Him in all things, because of our union with Jesus Christ, Eph 2:18.
Eph 2:19, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.”
“So then” is two participles, ARA and OUN, which draws a conclusion to what has been said beginning back in in vs. 11, which conclusion will continue through to vs. 22. So we could say, “Consequently therefore,” with the context of, “as a result of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, with the context of the results of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we have a new and unique position in Christ.
The conclusion begins with “you are no longer,” which is the static Present, Active, Indicative of EIMI OUKETI, indicating cessation of the prejudiced position they were held under that will always be true. This prejudiced position is noted in two technical terms commonly denoting inferiority of status.
“Strangers” is the Nominative Plural of the Adjective XENOS, ξένος that means, “Strange, foreign, alien,” the first of two titles for the Gentiles that no longer exists because of their faith in Jesus Christ. This word was used in vs. 12 to describe the prejudiced position the Gentiles were given. It relates to short-term transients as compared to the long-term or permanent dweller – Drifters.
“And” is the coordinating Conjunction KAI, that includes the next title previously given to the Gentiles that no longer exists.
“Aliens” is the Nominative Plural of the Adjective PAROIKOS, πάροικος that means, “dwelling beside; strange, stranger, foreigner, sojourner” that comes from the root Noun OIKOS that means, “dwelling or home” and the verb OIKEO that means to inhabit, dwell, or reside.” It means, “Those who were living next to us but were not of us.” It refers to aliens who have settled in a particular country but have no intrinsic rights because they are not citizens.
Such had been the position of the Gentiles in relation to the kingdom of God before the coming of Christ.
This title was not used in vs. 12. There we had the synonymous Verb APALLOTRIOS in the Perfect, Middle, Participle that meant, “to estrange or alienate,” that comes from the Adjective ALLOTRIOS that means, “belonging to another, strange, foreign, hostile.” Another synonymous term for these titles is PAREPIDEMOS used in Heb 11:13; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11, that means, “Sojourner, stranger or exile” that comes from the root word DEMOS that means, “people or assembly.”
In vs. 19 we have words describing the prejudiced position the Gentiles were under that Christ defeated at the Cross.
Interestingly, PAROIKOS is used of Abraham, Acts 7:6; Moses, in Acts 7:29; and in 1 Peter 2:11 that was speaking of scattered Jewish believers of the early Church. Likewise, XENOS is used for the Hebrew visible heroes of the O.T. in Heb 11:13. So these terms should not be titles of shame, as they were used towards the Gentiles. Nevertheless, regardless of name calling and prejudice, Christ overcame the name calling and prejudice at the Cross when He reconciled all believers to Himself, the Father and fellow believers.
“But” is the contrasting Conjunction ALLA that establishes the believing Gentiles’ true position in Christ, compared to the prejudiced position they were under. This too is in two categories, citizenship and relationship.
“You are” is the Present, Active, Indicative of EIMI once again, speaking of their present state and condition.
“Fellow citizens” is the noun SUMPOLITE from SUM meaning “, in association with or together with” and the Noun POLITESS that means, “citizen or an inhabitant of a city.” It is where we get the term POLITEUMA from for “citizenship.” So it comes to mean, “fellow citizen.” This is the only time this word is used in Scripture; it is a hapaxlegomena. It is not even used in the LXX. This is the contrast to being “strangers and aliens,” speaking of the rights and privileges the believer has in Christ Jesus, being a citizen of heaven having our Politeuma Privileges.
This shared citizenship is “with the saints,” the Genitive of Possession, HO HAGIOS, meaning all who believe in Jesus Christ, Jew and Gentile, possess this new status / position of sainthood; being positionally holy and righteous in Christ; sanctified positionally.
“And,” is the coordinating Conjunction KAI once again, to indicate not only are they fellow citizens but they are also “of God’s household,” which is the Genitive Singular of HO THEOS, “the God”, with the Adjective OIKEIOS that means, “household or one belonging to a house,” cf. Gal 6:10. In other words, they are in the family of God, and as Church Age believers they are Royal Family of God.
So here we have four images that stress Gentile and Jewish unification in the Church, “the one new man,” that starts out political: Gentiles are no longer “aliens” but as followers of Christ become “fellow citizens” with Jewish believers in Jesus. This does not mean that the Gentiles become part of the “commonwealth of Israel,” but rather that Jews and Gentiles now share a heavenly citizenship in the Church, Phil 3:20. Likewise, they are members of God’s one family, “household,” and from the talk about a household, Paul moves to a construction, in vs. 20, giving us the image of a “building,” i.e., the temple of God, cf. 1 Cor 3:9-17; 1 Peter 2:4-5; Heb 3:6.
So these believers, as do you and I today, became a part of the company of the redeemed of all ages beginning with Adam, and now in the Church Age, specifically part of the Royal Family of God. And from the context of these passages there are three reasons why this does not mean that the church inherits the blessings promised to Israel.
- In the context, Paul was discussing the “one new man,” vs. 15, and the “one body,” vs. 16. This does not mean that Gentiles are incorporated into Israel but that believing Jews and Gentiles are incorporated into one new “humanity,” as “new creatures” of a new creation; a new spiritual species.
- Paul specifically stated that Gentiles are incorporated “with God’s people” and are in “God’s household,” vs. 19; he did not use the word “Israel.” If Paul meant that the church became “Israel,” he would have named both groups, as he did in vs. 11.
- Paul will explain in vs. 20, that this new relationship is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief Cornerstone” vs. 20. This began on the day of Pentecost, not in the Old Testament. It is true that Gentile believers become a part of the redeemed of all ages, vs. 19, but their being incorporated with Jewish believers into the “one new man” distinctly began when the Church came into being at Pentecost, not before.
So that takes us to vs. 20, the “new building.”
Eph 2:20, “Having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.”
This verse begins a comparison of the N.T. Church to a beautiful temple with each stone occupying an important position in the total structure.
“Having been built” is the Culminative Aorist, Passive, Participle, in the Nominative Plural of EPOIKODOMEO, ἐποικοδομέω, that means, “build on or upon.” It comes from the Preposition EPI, “upon,” and OIKODOMEO, “to build.” So it means, “to build upon or to erect a superstructure,” as in 1 Cor 3:10, 12, 14; Eph. 2:20, or “to build up and edify,” as is Acts 20:32; Col 2:7; Jude 1:20. The Culminative Aorist views the entirety of the action with stress on the completion of the action. Yet, we know the Church is still being built; that is why we have the Participle.
The first time this is used in the N.T. is in Acts 20:32, referencing God and His Word that builds us up spiritually and provides for our eternal inheritance.
Then it is next used in 1 Cor 3:10, 12, 14 regarding the building up or edifying of our souls, as members of the spiritual temple of God.
“Upon” is also from EPI here, and then we have “the foundation,” which is the Dative Singular of HO THEMELIOS, θεμέλιος. This word is first used in the N.T. in Luke 6:48, regarding the foundation that is laid upon the “Rock” Jesus Christ.
We have the same analogy in our passage, because the foundation is that “of the apostles and prophets,” which is the Genitive Plural of the Nouns APOSTOLOS and PROPHETES, meaning the Bible Doctrine that they taught.
It means that the Royal Family of God is built as a spiritual building through perception of Bible doctrine, i.e., post‑salvation renewing of the mind, Rom 12:1-2. Therefore, the structure demands evangelism and Bible teaching. The Royal Family of God is constructed and built through perception of doctrine, not through Christian works. Production is a result of spiritual growth.
These were two of the communication gifts of the early Church that have ceased to function since the New Test. has been completed. But until we had the completed canon of Scripture, these two gifts were vital in communicating the mystery doctrines for the Church Age.
Some see “the prophets” as referring to OT Scripture, but this is unlikely. If Paul had meant OT prophets, he would have reversed the order of words, i.e., prophets and apostles. Also, he describes “the mystery of Christ” in Eph 3:4-5, having “now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets,” indicating that he is speaking of prophets of the Church. In addition, when listing the gifts God gives the Church, He mentions both “apostles” and “prophets” in Eph 4:11. This is significant in that Gentiles are now being placed into the “one new man,” the Church, having positions of authority and being incorporated into Israel.
Then to show the genesis of the building we have, “Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,” which is CHRISTOS IESUS AUTOS EIMI AKROGONIAIOS, ἀκρογωνιαῖος that means, “a corner foundation stone,” where the root word is GONIA that means corner with the Prefix AKRON that means, “extreme.” It is only used here and in 1 Peter 2:6.
AKROGONIAIOS meaning, “the stone placed at the extreme corner,” was the stone used to bind together the other stones in the structure. It was the most important stone in a building, because the stability of all the others depended upon it. It also provided the standard to follow for straight lines both horizontal and vertical. So the foundation corner stone is the stone by which the architect fixed the standard for the bearing of the walls. This is the way he trues everything. This stones actually forms the corner or the angle of the wall and that is the concept here. Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone. One wall is Jewish and the other wall is Gentile. Israel trues up on Jesus Christ and the Gentiles true up on Jesus Christ to make one building, one temple, one body. In addition, this stone is often laid with a formal inauguration after the erection of the building and becomes the stone on which the information and dedication, name of the building, date of the buildings, etc., and other such information is found. This gives us plenty of imagery of Jesus Christ.
The reference to “the chief corner stone” comes from Psa 118:22-23, and Isa 28:16, passages which Jesus related to Himself in Mat 21:42-43; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17, and Paul referenced it to Christ in Rom 9:33 as well as Peter ascribing it to Christ in Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7.
So we have come full circle. The Jews had thrown up walls both physically and mentally to elevate themselves while excluding the Gentiles from a relationship with the Lord. Yet through Christ’s efficacious work upon the Cross and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, God the Father has formed us into a beautiful Temple unto Himself, for His good will and pleasure that the Spirit is building and beautifying through the teaching of God’s Word in your soul. Corporately, all believers that make up the body of Christ, two walls coming off of the foundation stone Jesus Christ to form one building, while individually each believer’s body is already a temple for the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19.
So Paul writes of the building’s foundation in our verse, then of its formation in vs. 21, and its function in vs. 22.
Doctrine of the Cornerstone
This is one of Seven Figures used of Jesus Christ in His relation to the Church:
- The Shepherd and the Sheep, John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:25; Heb 13:20-21.
- The Vine and the Branches, John 15:1-8.
- The Cornerstone and the stones of the Building, Psa 118:22; Isa 28:16; Zech 10:4; Mat 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Rom 9:33; Eph 2:20-21; 1 Peter 2:6-10.
- The High Priest and the Kingdom of Priests, Heb 2:17.
- The Head and the Body, Eph 4:15.
- The Last Adam and the New Creation, 2 Cor 5:17.
- The Bridegroom and the Bride, 2 Cor 11:2; Rev 19:7.
A cornerstone is defined as a stone built into one corner of the foundation as the normal starting point for construction. The cornerstone is the foundation stone at the angle of the structure by which the builder fixes a standard for the bearing of the walls and the cross walls throughout the structure. Jesus Christ crucified for our sins is the corner foundation stone and His Word is the foundational standard that supports the walls, which word we must live by being the temple of God.
At the time of writing the N.T., a cornerstone was that stone at the corner of two walls uniting them. Jesus Christ as the cornerstone joins two walls in a structure, called the Church. One wall is Jewish; the other is Gentile. At the present time, the building, called the Church, made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers, is being constructed on the dual foundation of Jesus Christ by means of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ spoke of this concept when He said in Mat 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” Peter was the one Christ made this statement too in reference to Himself, not Peter. He later stated regarding the purpose of the Church in 1 Peter 2:5 “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood.” Likewise, in Heb 3:6, we are the house of God, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are.” In addition, we are told in 1 Cor 3:9 that, “We are God’s building.”
- At the termination of the great power experiment of the hypostatic union (resurrection, ascension, and session of Jesus Christ), Jesus Christ was seated at the right hand of the Father, at which point He received His third royal patent, making Him the foundation for the building now under construction, the Church.
The symbolism of Christ as a stone is seen in three ways:
- In relation to Gentiles, He is the Smiting Stone in their final judgment, Dan 2:34.
- To Israel, His coming as a Servant rather than as a King became a stumbling stone to them and a rock of offense, Isa 8:14-15; 1 Cor 1:23; 1 Peter 2:8.
- To the Church, Christ is the Foundation Stone, 1 Cor 3:11, and the Chief Cornerstone, Eph 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5.
The exaltation of Christ as Chief Cornerstone was accomplished by His resurrection, which He was not before. This was accomplished in spite of the opposition to, and rejection of, the choice and precious Stone by the “builders,” Israel.
- Speaking of His resurrection, Peter asserts in Acts 4:11, that “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone.”
- Christ quotes the same O.T. prediction and forecasts that the kingdom of God will be taken from Israel and given to a people bringing forth the fruits thereof. This prediction foresees the impending transition from the former Divine purpose in Israel, to the present Divine purpose in the Church.
Nevertheless, Jesus anticipates the fact that Israel would stumble over Him as the “rock of offense,” and that the Gentiles will “be ground to powder” under the judgment of that same Smiting Stone, Mat 21:42-44 cf. Dan 2:34.
Thus, as the Stone, Christ becomes the destruction of Gentile authority, cf. Psa 2:7-9; Isa 63:1-6; Rev 19:15, the Stumbling Stone to Israel, and the Foundation Stone and Chief Cornerstone to the Church.
A building is being constructed which has three specific distinctions:
- That each stone in the building is itself a living stone; that is, it partakes of the Divine nature, 1 Peter 2:5.
- Its Chief Cornerstone, like its Foundation, is Christ, Eph 2: 20-22; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 Peter 2: 6.
- The whole structure is itself “a dwelling place of God through, (by means of), the Holy Spirit,” Eph 2:22.
After reminding the Gentile believers throughout Ephesus that they are, Eph 2:19-20, “no longer strangers and aliens,” as they were told they were in Eph 2:12, Paul declares that they are now “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” This is a blessing that is as much higher as is the commonwealth of Church Age believers higher than the covenant privileges of Israel, just as heaven is higher than the earth. Even though they once were said to be excluded from the earthly Jerusalem, the Gentiles now have access and come before God with a gracious welcome to the heavenly Jerusalem, Heb 12:22-24, in which the unregenerate Jew, with all his national preference and title to earthly Jerusalem, is a stranger and alien to that city.
The phrase, “fellow citizens with the saints,” must be understood in its restricted meaning just as the fact that this spiritual structure is built on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, (N.T. Scriptures).” God has had His holy ones / saints in all dispensations, but those of the past ages have not formed any part of the Church. Saints are sanctified ones, set apart unto God. Yet, Heb10:10 reveals the fact that the N.T. saints have been given a higher position of standing than the O.T. saints, though not necessarily to more faith and virtue, Heb 10:10.
This sanctification, or sainthood, could not be realized until Christ died and rose again. For it is characterized by our position “in Him.” This position could be given only to those who are “by the Spirit,” united to and made one with the risen Christ.
It is true that all saints of all the ages will be eventually gathered before God in a new heaven and a new earth, Heb 11:39-40; 12:22-24, but the O.T. saints were not part of the New Creation in Christ, nor were they built upon the foundation of the apostles and the New Testament prophets.
In our passage in Ephesians, we understand that the Church, like a building, is being built upon the foundation of the apostles and N.T. prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone. It is in Him that all the building is being fitly framed together and is thus “growing” into a holy temple in the Lord, Eph 2:21. In Him the separate and various members are being built together for a dwelling of God by means of the Spirit, Eph 2:22. Therefore, the comparison is: During the past dispensation of Israel, the dwelling place of God was the Tabernacle and later the Temple. They were the earthly sanctuaries or holy places made with human hands, that God dwelled in, cf. Heb 8:2; 9:1-2, 24. Those temples are in fact a type of the present spiritual dwelling place of God in a temple made of “living stones,” without human hands.
However, at this point Paul is not dwelling on the truth which concerns the individual believer, but rather on that which has to do with the corporate Body of Christ. And his statement is that the Church, as it is now being formed in the world, is being built as a dwelling place of God through the Spirit. Therefore, Israel had a building in which God was pleased to dwell. Now in the Age of Grace, the Church is a building in which God is pleased to dwell.
The figure of the Chief Cornerstone and the stones of the building tells us not only about our relationship with Christ within the temple, but also of the interdependence of each believer upon every other believer, as a building is weakened and on its way to dissolution by the removal of one stone from the structure. The whole building is built on Christ and thus depends wholly on Christ, and if a believer who is in union with Christ falls away, the walls begin to crumble.
Finally, and equally as important, is that this building, like each stone in the structure, is a temple of God through the Spirit. The fact of the indwelling Spirit is a characterizing feature of the Church, which is highly emphasized throughout the Scriptures and must be understood by the believer to be the living stone God intends for you to be.
From the construction image of vs. 20, Paul moves to a temple: the place where God is worshiped and dwells. He now discusses the formation of the building. The Church as the temple and abode of God, Eph 2:21-22.
Eph 2:21, “In whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.”
“In whom” The Dative Preposition EN and Relative Pronoun HOS that refer to the last subject of vs. 20, Jesus Christ the “Corner Stone.”
“The whole” is Nominative Adjective PAS, “all, every, or whole,” which emphasizes the OIKODOME, “building, edifice, edification.” The Greek refers to this as one whole superstructure, i.e., the Church or Body of Christ, and as we know, it is made up of many parts.
“Being fitted together” is the Verb SUNARMOLOGEO, συναρμολογέω, (soon-ar-mol-og-eh’-o), in the Present, Passive, Nom., Sing., Participle that means, “fit closely, join together, or frame together.” It is a compound word from SUN, “together,” and HARMOLOGEO, “to join together,” which is from HARMOS, “joint” and LOGOS, “word, account, or reckoning,” that means it has been thought out perfectly and it has been put together perfectly. SUNARMOLOGEO is used only here and in Eph 4:16.
Eph 4:16, “From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
It describes what is presently happening to the whole building; it denotes that the various parts of the building are skillfully fitted to each other, not haphazardly thrown together. So it speaks of the skillful intricate work our Lord performs in building the Temple of God. That is, Jesus Christ working in a micro sense, i.e., individually, within His Church
In the Passive voice, we receive the action of being fitted together, we do not do the fitting ourselves; God does that work. So, this is another important reminder that Jesus is the One who holds the N.T. Church together and in a state of unity. Therefore, you cannot pick and choose who you wish to associate with inside the Church or who you wish not to associate with. God has a plan and knows what the best fit is for you and your church, so that both will be successful in the spiritual life, with the result of personal and collective growth.
“Is growing,” is the Present, Active, Indicative of the verb AUXANO, αὐξάνω that means, “to grow, increase, become greater, etc.” This is a unique aspect compared to vs. 22 and is exemplary of the overall process. This is an extending-from-past Present Tense denoting what has begun in the past and continues into the present time, and has not stopped yet, with the emphasis on the present time. The Active Voice tells us that the Church or the body of Christ, continues to grow during the course of this Dispensation, and will not stop until the temple of God is complete at the end of the Church Age, at which time the Church will be raptured.
This indicates that the Church is a living and growing organism, as new believers are included in this temple’s superstructure, cf. Eph 4:15-16; 1 Peter 2:5. That is, both Jewish and Gentile believers are being “joined together” into this one organism labeled “a holy temple,” cf. “one new man,” vs. 15, and “one body,” vs. 16. Our Lord is the one continually increasing the size of the temple; in contrast to the larger temple Herod had built to himself.
The thing we are growing “into” is “a holy temple,” the Accusative Singular of EIS HAGIOS NAOS. NAOS, ναός, always refers to the sanctuary within the physical structure in Jerusalem, not to the entire temple area with its open courts; that would be HIERON.
The context of this passage means collectively / corporately the entire body of Christ is being built into one super temple for God. Interestingly though, NAOS is also used in Scripture for each individual believer in Jesus Christ who has become a temple too, 1 Cor 3:16; 6:16. But here the context is one temple made up of every believer in the Church Age. Therefore, we see that the total is the sum of all it parts. That is, we each are an individual temple of God, while collectively each individual temple is a brick (i.e., “a living stone”), in the overall singular Temple of God, called the Church. And keep in mind that God already dwells in this Temple, His universal Church, even though construction is still ongoing and will continue until the end of the Church Age.
Another important aspect of this analogy is that a temple is a place of service and worship to God. So the end result of this construction work, being performed by our Lord and the Spirit, is the service and worship of God the Father.
The reason we become the temple of God is because we are “in the Lord,” which is the Dative Preposition EN plus the Noun KURIOUS. This phrase is synonymous with “in Christ,”, “in Jesus,” or “in Him.” There is no definite article here showing the high quality of our position in Christ, that is, we are in union with Jesus Christ from the moment of our salvation. Because of our position in Christ, we are qualified to be a part of the overall body of Christ for God’s good will and pleasure, as we serve and worship Him as members of the Royal Priesthood, because we are in union with the Royal High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, Heb 5:1, 5; Eph 1:5; Phil 2:13.
Heb 5:1, “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
Heb 5:5, “So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE”.”
Phil 2:13, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
Eph 1:5, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”
Therefore, we understand from this passage that all believers, the whole building, are being skillfully and intricately fitted together individually and collectively in the continual growing of a holy temple, to worship and serve God, where He dwells, because we have been entered into the royal priesthood as a result of our positional union with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest, 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9.
1 Peter 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, 5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
The figure of the Chief Cornerstone and the stones of the building, tells us not only about our relationship with Christ within the temple, but also of the interdependence of each believer upon every other believer, as a building is weakened and on its way to dissolution by the removal of one stone from the structure. The whole building is built on Christ and thus depends wholly on Christ, and if a believer who is in union with Christ falls away, the walls begin to crumble.
And as we noted above, this building, like each stone in the overall structure, is a temple of God by means of the Holy Spirit as we will see in the next verse. The fact of the indwelling Spirit is a characterizing feature of the Church, which is highly emphasized throughout the Scriptures, and must be understood by the believer to be the living stone God intends for you to be.
Eph 2:22, “In whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
Like vs. 21, this verse also begins with “in whom,” the Dative Preposition EN with the Relative Pronoun HOS that refers to the last subject of vs. 20, Jesus Christ the “Corner Stone.”
“You also” is HUMEIS KAI incorporating another effect of the entire Church to the temple of God, “are being built together,” which is SUNOIKODOMEO, συνοικοδομέω that means, “build together,” from SUN, “together with,” and OIKODOMEO from vs. 21 for “build.” It is in the Present, Passive, Indicative. It is only used here in all of the N.T., hapaxlegomena.
It was always used in classical Greek in a literal sense of constructing or building up some structure. It speaks of the big picture of the overall construction job and the work needed to accomplish it. It is used figuratively in our passage to describe how Christ’s body of believers has been brought into existence in unity. This tight-knit fellowship exists because of the work of Jesus. So the emphasis is the working together for the accomplishment of completing the construction for the overall building / body of Christ. That is, Jesus Christ working in a macro sense, i.e., corporately, within His Church
Then we have “into a dwelling of God,” which is the subject Nominative of EIS KATOIKETERION, κατοικητήριον (kat-oy-kay-tay’-ree-on), with the Genitive of Possession of HO THEOS, “the God.” KATOIKETERION is used only here and in Rev 18:2 by John, “And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! And she has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.”
It means, “a dwelling place, home, abode or habitation,” and comes from the root word OIKOS that means, “house, family, household, etc.” Here it is used for the wonderful picture of the community of believers as the spiritual house of God to dwell in. In other words, God and His Royal Family will reside together, as the royal family also makes up that residency. This phrase also has the concept of permanency; for all of eternity God will dwell in this house called the Church or Body of Christ.
Finally, the reason we are built into a dwelling place is because we are “in the Spirit,” EN PNEUMA. Once again there is no definite article, showing the high quality of our position in the Holy Spirit, as He dwells within us. This is the position we have from the moment of Salvation, as a result of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells us and He becomes our empowerer and enabler for the execution of the unique spiritual life for the Church Age, post salvation, when we reside inside of God’s Power System, (GPS). Because we are in the Spirit, we are able to be built by the Lord into a beautiful home for God to reside in for all of eternity.
Summary / Conclusion:
In vs. 21 and 22 we have four correlations, first regarding the builder of the dwelling temple, then we see the form of construction, and then we see what we are being formed into, and finally, on what basis are we being formed into these things.
The Builder: is noted in both verses by the phrase, “In Whom,” which references Jesus Christ as the Corner Stone and Foundation, by His Cross and His Word. We see Him as the wise master builder of the Temple of God for God to dwell in for all of Eternity.
The Form of Construction: “Fitted together” versus “Built together.”
In vs. 21 we are being “fitted together.” SUNARMOLOGEO, meaning the skillful intricacy of work our Lord performs in our lives to make us individually and collectively useful. This is the micro or personal one on one aspect of Jesus’ ministry in our lives.
In Vs. 22 we are being, “built together,” SUNOIKODOMEO, meaning the big picture construction of the overall body of Christ to make us corporately useful as a temple of dwelling for God. This is the macro or corporate aspect of Jesus’ ministry in our lives.
In vs. 21 we see the skillful intricate work being accomplished, bit by bit, and piece by piece, as the Lord works in our lives personally to build the temple of God, while in vs. 22 our Lord also has the big picture in view as He works with His overall body to fashion a dwelling place for God. Christ effectively works on both a micro and macro level within our lives and the Church.
What are we being formed into? “A temple” versus “A dwelling place.”
In vs. 21, we are being fitted together into “a holy temple,” HAGIOS NAOS, that is a place of worship and service, of which God dwells in.
In vs. 22, we are being built together into “a dwelling place of God,” KATOIKETERION, (kat-oy-kay-tay’-ree-on), HO THEOS, that is, a home or abode where God will reside and live with His entire Royal Family forever, whom are also the place of residence.
In vs. 21 our Lord is fitting together a temple for the service and worship of God, while in vs. 22, our Lord is building a home, a homestead, for God to reside in with His Royal Family, the Church Age believer. That is, as we serve and worship God, we are also being formed into a place of residency for God.
On what basis are we being formed into these things? “In the Lord” versus “In the Spirit.”
In vs. 21 we are fitted together into a holy temple because we are in union with Jesus Christ, the Lord. Because of our position in Christ, we are qualified to be a part of the overall body of Christ for God’s good will and pleasure as we worship and serve Him in our Royal Priesthood.
In vs. 22 we are being constructed together into a dwelling place of God, because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who is our empowerer and enabler for the execution of the unique spiritual life for the Church Age, post salvation; when we reside inside of God’s Power System, (GPS).
In vs. 21 our Lord is fitting us together into a holy temple of worship and service of which God dwells in because of our unique position in Christ as members of the Royal Priesthood, while in vs.22, our Lord is building us together into a homestead for God to reside with His Royal Family, because the baptism of the Spirit empowers and enables us to live the unique spiritual life of the Church Age, when we reside inside of GPS.
In these passages we see that the previous Gentile alienation is overcome by joining them to this new creation, the Church, in which Jewish and Gentile followers of Messiah are reconciled together, as one!