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7.13 Ephesians -- a Dwelling in which God Lives

         i.  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.


Here, Paul shifts from a "body" metaphor to a building.  But it is one building, whose cornerstone is Jesus, not Israel.  Connected to and dependent upon  the cornerstone is the foundation of "apostles and prophets."   This spiritual temple, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles united in a common faith, stands in bold contrast to the imposing physical mass of Herod's Temple.  Now, instead of merely visiting a building in which God dwells, the believer is a part of the temple itself!  And instead of the exclusion of Gentiles and women by means of stone walls, God "joins together"  the separate human stones into one cohesive structure.  It is a stunning juxtaposition of images that Paul creates, and clearly expresses the transition from the externality of traditional religion to the inwardness of the Kingdom of God.  And all of this is maintained by the Holy Spirit acting through the leadership of living apostles.

Summary:  there is, in this short passage (Eph 2:13-22), the pattern and tone of a true reconciler.  He reaches a hand across the barrier, rejecting centuries of separation, and makes common cause with the former enemy -- despite the personal cost!  There is no accusation, there is no condescension, there are no preconditions.  Paul gives God all the credit for this new work of unity, and invites the Gentiles' participation on equal terms.  It is a complete practical demonstration of what he wrote about more idealistically in 1 Cor 13.

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