by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
The focus of this passage of Scripture is the importance of Jesus bringing the Jews and Gentiles together. Through His work on the cross (atoning sacrifice), He made the Jews and Gentiles into one, forming Christ’s church. Here Jesus is clearly seen as the active agent in reconciliation. It is Jesus who reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God. It is Jesus who created a new community of believers and brought both groups of people under one unified banner. Because of Christ, we (all believers) are able to come directly into the presence of God the Father. The work of Christ breaks down the differences that divide us. Jesus is making all things new!
One of the benefits of Christ’s work on the cross is that “through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” It is worth noting that in this short phrase we have a reference to the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Because of what Christ has done, we (Jew and Gentile) have equal access to God. Stop and think about this for a minute. As believers, we have relational access to the Creator of the Universe! I would encourage you to spend a significant amount of time meditating on this truth. Jesus is the reason we get to experience this amazing privilege.
Paul then goes on to remind the Gentile believers that they were strangers and alienated from God. Because of Christ, their status before God has changed. Because of Christ, they are no longer alienated from God. They are now fellow citizens with the saints (set apart ones). Jesus is then referred to as the “chief cornerstone.” This conveys the truth that Jesus is the Rock on which the church is built. Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.” The person and work of Jesus is the chief cornerstone upon which the foundational truths of Biblical Christianity are built. If you remove Jesus, it all falls apart. The apostles built their teaching upon the secure Rock of Jesus. Minimizing the person and work of Christ would cause the new building to collapse. This is why we must work very hard to affirm and protect the core doctrines of Biblical Christianity. The whole building is only as strong as its foundation.
Paul closes out this chapter by comparing the Body of Christ to a holy temple. In essence, Paul is saying that God inhabits or takes up residence in the church. This means He lives in the corporate body or life of the church. We know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of each believer. Here Paul is communicating that the “purpose of the church as a temple is to reveal the presence and the glory of God on earth” (J.V. McGee). Corporately we should exercise great influence in the world as we reveal the presence of God to those who do not know Him.
Questions to Ponder
What is the difference between the centrality of Christ and the supremacy of Christ? How does it make you feel to know you have direct access to the Creator of the Universe? What does it mean to say that Jesus is the “chief cornerstone”? How does Oak Pointe Church reveal the presence of God in our world today?
- Worship the Lord as the Chief Cornerstone, Creator of the universe, Sweet Savior, and Shepherd. Worship Him as Your best friend and Constant Companion. Go past the courts of praise and into the holy of holies.
- Sit in His presence right now. You have access to the God of Jacob, the King Eternal, Yahweh, He who is perfect, lovely, brilliant, all-powerful, and all-wise. He always has been and always will be. He commands the winds and waves, took on the sins of the world, and conquered death. It’s amazing we not only have access to the Lord, but He desires for us to be with Him, depend on Him, and come to Him. He desires to dwell at the center of our hearts by His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Hope of Glory, whom our soul is anchored to.
Holy, Holy, Holy are You, Lord God, who was and is and is to come. We join in with the 24 elders and 4 living creatures to cry out in Spirit and in Truth and say You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things. By Your will they were created and have their being. Help me and Your church to be holy and blameless, oh God. Help us to glorify You in all we do. Grant us the fear of the LORD and the weight of Your Holy presence that causes us to tremble at You and Your Word. Even now, Lord Almighty, all-consuming Fire, I ask that You would draw us into this place of holy fascination as You reveal Yourself to each one of us.
Even those sick, Abba, I ask that You would come and give them their daily bread. Infill them by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Strengthen their inner man so that You, Jesus Christ, will be at the center of their hearts. Surround them with a song of deliverance and encourage them with Yourself. Breath on them, Abba, I ask.
I also lift up every medical worker, police officer, fireman/woman, and nursing home worker. God, I am asking that You would unite their hearts with Yours. Release love, joy, and peace in Christ Jesus. I ask for a hedge of protection around them and their family. Surround them with Your deep, abiding peace and strengthen them as they serve others today. Bless, encourage, and strengthen them. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.