Ephesians 2:21, 22
In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord:…
It is elsewhere called" a spiritual house," composed of "living stones," built upon him who is a living Stone laid in Zion, elect, precious, though rejected of men (1 Peter 2:4, 5). Each believer is a living stone, dug out of the quarry of nature, hewn by the Word and ministry, laid in the foundation, and built into the heavenly structure. The Church is God's building, not man's. There are four things observable in the apostle's account of this blessed structure.
I. IT HAS A GOOD FOUNDATION. Built on the foundation of "apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Cornerstone." It is built on the foundation that apostles and prophets laid, namely, on Jesus Christ himself, who is at once Foundation and Cornerstone: "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus" (1 Corinthians 3:11). This was the Foundation which the apostle was always laying: "I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon" (1 Corinthians 3:10). But it was God himself who laid this stone in Zion: "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief Cornerstone, elect, precious" (1 Peter 2:6). The foundation is not, therefore, in man, but in God, not in Rome, but in heaven. Therefore it is an indestructible building. Jesus Christ is called "the chief Cornerstone,' which has its true supporting-place in the foundation, because it is the binding-stone of the building, holding two walls because it is built into both. Perhaps there is a reference to the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ, who has made both one, and thus builds the whole number of believers into the glorious temple, and bears the weight of the whole structure.
II. IT IS FITLY FRAMED TOGETHER. It is not a mere heap or mass of heterogeneous materials.
1. The materials must be prepared for their place in the building so as to promote its unity and compactness. All the members of the Church must first be joined to Christ as the Foundation, and then cemented to one another by love. Thus their unity gives beauty as well as strength to the structure. "Happy, indeed, the stones that God chooses to be living stones in this spiritual temple; though they be hammered and hewed to be polished for it by afflictions and the inward work of mortification and repentance."
2. The members are to have each their proper place in the building. Thus only can it become a compact structure. Some have a higher, some a lower place; some are appointed to teach, others to be taught; some to lead, others to be led; some to counsel, some to execute; but all the stones are to keep their due place, and thus grow up into a holy temple, "edifying itself in love" (Ephesians 4:16). The Lord requires stones of all sorts and sizes, the smallest as well as the largest, for his temple; and it ought to reconcile us to our respective positions, that it is the Lord's own hand which not only fits us into our place, but keeps us there.
III. IT IS IMPERFECT BUT STILL GROWING. "It groweth into an holy temple." It is growing by the accession of new stones, or by the addition of new members, and by the addition of new graces in the individual members. Provision is made for a vast increase in its size and height, but as it is fitly framed together in its growing dimensions, it will lose nothing in symmetry and strength by its continuous elevation.
IV. THE END OR DESIGN OF THE BUILDING. "For a habitation of God." When we build houses, it is that men may dwell in them. Thus the Church is the temple of God. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16). "I will dwell in them, and walk in them" (2 Corinthians 6:16). Thus "we will be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19). Thus we have the true temple of the Father, built in the Son, inhabited in the Spirit, the offices of the three blessed Persons being distinctly pointed out: God the Father in all his fullness dwells in, fills the Church; that Church is constituted to him a holy temple in the Son; is inhabited by him in the ever-present indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
1. Think of the safety and glory of the church. Christ is its Foundation. All the stones are knit to the Cornerstone. It is well proportioned, because the Holy Spirit is the Architect; it is vast in its proportions, for it is spread over the earth; and it is inviolable, for it is devoted to the Lord.
2. Think of God dwelling in the Church. The Christian is an epitome of the Church. He is himself a temple of the Holy Ghost.
(1) What condescension in God to dwell in human hearts! "It is a marvel that the habitation he has chosen for himself is an impure cue."
(2) What a fearful thing it would be to be in collision with such a God!
(3) How careful we ought to be not to defile this temple! We ought to live purer lives, to breathe a sweeter air, to open our hearts to all that is heavenly.
(4) What an awful thought, that the holy God dwells in our unholy hearts, watching us in our secret moments, and reading our very thoughts!
(5) Yet let us remember with gratitude and love that "the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy," selects his dwelling-place "with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit." - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: