19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV)
The Apostle Paul continues on with his focus on unity within the local church, especially the unity of Jew and Gentile in Christ.
Today, Paul focuses on the status change for Gentiles, who were considered “outsiders” to the Jews prior to Christ. If anyone wanted to follow the God of the Jews in Old Testament times, they followed God’s Laws, and became part of the Jewish community. They were Jews by association, not by bloodline.
Isaiah 56:6-7 shows that God loved all people, and desired a relationship with them, even before Christ:
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations.”
(Isaiah 56:6-7 NIV)
There are many other Old Testament scriptures where the Lord made provisions for Gentiles to become His followers and worship Him. For the sake of brevity, we won’t dig into all study here.
Paul reminds us that Gentiles are not just “tolerated”, but “fellow citizens” and “members of His household”. We’re part of God’s family! And all this is possible through Christ, who is the “chief cornerstone” of that house, that temple that Christ is building.
Verse 22 says that we are a part of that building, of that temple, where God dwells. The God of the Universe chooses to come dwell in us, through His Holy Spirit… incredible!
Thinking back a moment to verse 7 of chapter 2, where Paul talks about “in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus”, we see just how big God us, and how inexhaustible are His resources and His ability to love us.
It’s easy to think about this on a one-on-one basis, four ourselves, or in a small group like family or close friends. God gives us that same capacity to love that number of people. But when we take Paul’s description of God’s love and apply it to people all over the world, and across time and history, that number becomes astronomical! Even if we limit our scope of understanding to those who are Christ-followers, that number still likely runs into the tens of millions!
Only God can love that much. Most of us would get overwhelmed with loving on 50 people or less on a consistent basis, some even less than that.
Lord, thank You for caring for each of us, for loving us and making us feel “at home” in You. Lord, to think that You know us by name, and that we are not just a number or a statistic to You – that You even number the hairs on our head is amazing, beyond comprehension.
Thank You, Lord, that there are no more divisions in You, no Jew/Gentile, no male/female, no slave/free, no race, no nationality, no denomination, only unity in Christ. You are truly worthy of our praise and adoration and love.