Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 2:19 - 2:22

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 2:19 - 2:22

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The Christians God's living temple:

v. 19. Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God;

v. 20. and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Corner-stone;

v. 21. in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord;

v. 22. in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The apostle here draws the conclusion from the foregoing statements, offering a summary of all that has been said: Accordingly, then, no more are you strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow-citizens of the saints and members of the household of God. Since all the points which the apostle has brought forward in the preceding section are so well established, it now follows that the Gentile Christians, who formerly occupied a station far from the citizenship of Israel, who were strangers or, at best, sojourners among the Jews, being suffered or tolerated rather than regarded as equals, are now citizens in the commonwealth of the Christian Church, with full participation and enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the Kingdom. Or, by changing the figure to some extent, the Christian Church is a large, holy family, in which God is the Housefather, the Head of the house, and all believers members of the family, with free access to the use of all the goods which are freely dispensed by the Father. There is no difference here: the Gentile Christians belong to the household of God like all other believers, they have the right of children, the right of inheritance.

Again the apostle changes the figure and the picture: Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the corner-stone being Christ Jesus Himself. The believers are not only members of God's family, but they themselves constitute the house, the temple, of God; they are the lively stones in the sacred edifice of the Church. They rest upon by faith, they are built up upon, the foundation of the apostles. The apostles, as the teachers of the Church for all times, are the foundation course of this wonderful building, whose capstone will not be laid till the last day. Though they have died long ago, they still teach and preach through their writings. And the same thing holds true of the Old Testament prophets, for their writings are fundamental for the Church of all times, the apostles themselves continually referring to them, Rom_16:26. The books of the apostles in the New Testament and of the prophets in the Old Testament arc the Word of God, written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the unshaken and unshakable foundation of the Church of Christ. Upon this foundation the Gentile Christians and all believers are built up; in it they rest, through it they receive the strength to stand in the face of all storms. This is all the surer, since Jesus Christ Himself is the Corner-stone, 1Pe_2:6. In the building of the Church foundation and corner-stone are not two separate things, but the one includes the other. Christ Jesus is the content of the prophetic and apostolic writings; Christ is found in and with His Word, and nowhere else. The invisible foundation of the Church and the visible and audible medium which establishes the connection between the believers and Christ are named together, in order to maintain the figure of the house that is in the course of erection. Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinful mankind, of whom the Word of the prophets and apostles bears witness, is the Foundation of faith and of the congregation of saints which is being gathered out of the world of sinners.

The edifice as such is now described: in whom the whole building, fitly joined together, grows to a holy temple in the Lord. Not every building, but the entire building, which is only one, for the apostle is speaking of the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, not of individual churches or congregations. The one great building of the Church, by the addition of the individual members, who are properly joined or fitted together with those that were members before, gradually grows; it goes forward toward completion, the end coming with the conversion of the last elect member. Thus the building of Christ's Church everywhere shows symmetry and harmony. The members of the Church by love which is grounded in faith, preserve harmony; they submit to one another; they accommodate themselves to one another. Though of different nationalities and temperaments, Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and barbarians, wise and foolish, they are at peace among one another, and that in Christ. The common faith in Christ brings about this effect. On the last day the holy temple in the Lord will stand before our astonished eyes in the beauty of its perfection.

Then, also, the purpose of the building will appear: In whom you also are being built together for an habitation of God in the Spirit. The direct address serves to emphasize the personal interest of every believer in this building, the construction of which is being carried forward day after day, sometimes with signal success, sometimes with great difficulties. Wherever and whenever the Word of the prophets and apostles is being proclaimed, there believers are gained for the growth of the Church. And so the end will present the complete, the perfect Church, the habitation of God, the place in which God elects to live, in the Spirit; for it is by the Spirit's power that souls are gained for Christ, that new stones are added to this wonderful temple. Thus the Christian Church is a temple of the Triune God. The great God of heaven, who has revealed Himself in three persons, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, has his home in the midst of sinful mankind, in the Church of Christ. This wonderful glory and dignity of the Church is at present still hidden from the eyes of men. But on the last day the Church will appear before the eyes of an astonished world as a temple of beauty and magnificence, and the splendor and glory of the Lord mill shine forth from this singular structure. "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God," Rev_21:3.


The apostle reminds the Christians that, when they were dead in sins, God quickened them and gave them the strength of a new spiritual, heavenly life in Christ Jesus; he cells to the remembrance of the Gentile Christians especially that they, who formerly were strange and distant, have now been brought into the kingdom of Christ and been made members of the Church of Christ.