19 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19–22 (ESV)
The church is a living and growing organism, dedicated and consecrated to purity before the Lord, each other and the fallen world consisting of both Jews and Gentiles who are in union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Nineteenth century theologian Charles Hodge writes, “A temple is a building in which God dwells. Such a temple is holy, as sacred to Him. It belongs to Him, is consecrated to His use, and can neither be appropriated by any other, nor used for anything but His service, without profanation. This is true of the church as a whole, and of all its constituent members.”
The Apostle Paul concludes his instruction on the unity of the church (Ephesians 2: 11-22), by stating that all believers in union with Christ “are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” What was true for the Ephesian church at the time of Paul’s writing, remains true for the church today.
The phrase are being built together (συνοικοδομέω; synoikodomeo) is a present passive verb. This means that the Lord Jesus Christ is the builder and the church, all believers in union with Christ, are the recipients of His construction.
What is the purpose of this construction project? It is so that the church would continue to be a dwelling place for God. Dwelling place (κατοικητήριον; katoiketerion) is equivalent to the phrase holy temple in Ephesians 2:21. This dwelling place, or holy temple, is being built by God the Son, solely for God the Father, and by the means of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. John Walvoord concludes, “In the Old Testament God’s glory was in the temple, which represented His presence with the people. In this Age God dwells in His new temple which is constructed not from inanimate materials but of living believers. The Holy Spirit indwells each individual believer (cf. John 14:17; Rom. 5:5; 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 3:2; 4:6; 1 John 3:24; 4:13), who is thus a “temple” (1 Cor. 6:19). But the temple in Ephesians 2:21–22 refers to the Holy Spirit’s corporate “dwelling” (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16), His “temple” composed of all Jewish and Gentile believers.”
Let us, as believers in Christ, resolve to be a holy, consecrated and dedicated church growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Peter 3:18). Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!