We Have Rights and Privileges as God’s Children – (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Paul continues his discourse on Christians becoming one in Christ. We are no longer strangers, we are no longer far off from God and as Paul explains we are no longer foreigners to God. We have to understand the word used here for “foreigners,” means someone who is not a citizen of the city, region or country and because of that, they are not protected by the local laws and rights. And Paul is using this metaphor to explain our relationship with God, prior to our salvation. And to drive home the point, that by faith, we have become members of the household of God. Through our faith in Jesus we have become children of God and joint-heirs with Him in the kingdom of God. In ancient times foreigners had no rights or privileges in the country they were visiting. Because they were strangers, or non-citizens, they were not recognized as having any rights. Unlike today, a person did not automatically receive the rights granted to others in the areas where they were traveling. And in the Roman culture of Paul’s time, very few people were actually Roman citizens, with the rights and protection granted by Roman law. So the Apostle Paul is using this cultural truth of his day to better explain to his audience, what we gain through our faith in Jesus. This would have been a concept readily understood by his readers. Paul is telling his readers, and us, that we were all once foreigners in the eyes of God.
That’s because of our enmity with God, which was brought about by our fallen humanity, by which we were all strangers to the kingdom of God. However, because of Jesus, we have become children of God with full rights and privileges. Moreover, we have become one family, each tied to the other, by our faith in Jesus and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! Therefore, the cornerstone and the foundation of the church is Jesus. The church is built on Jesus, who He is, what He has done for us, our faith in Him and the knowledge of His word, the Bible. Godly men inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote the scriptures. Using their own personalities and character, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they recorded God’s special revelation to us about His plan of redemption and His interactions with humanity, to bring about the culmination of His plan of redemption. Then godly men and women taught others of the Gospel and through them the Holy Spirit laid down the foundation of the church. All of which is based on the cornerstone of Christ Jesus our Lord. And it’s this foundation, the foundation of faith in Jesus, which forms the basis of our spiritual growth. And it’s this knowledge of Jesus that teaches us how to live the Christian life. And as we build ourselves on this foundation, we grow together with other believers into the body of Christ, which is the church. The church is also the bride of Christ, betrothed to Jesus, our Lord, our Savior and our King. And because of our faith in Jesus, which is the grace of God, given freely to us, every single one of us who claim the name of Jesus, we become the dwelling place of God. Why is that? Because, through faith alone in Christ alone, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within our hearts.