Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
We have been built on a foundation. But before we consider the content of that foundation, note that “built” is a passive word. We didn’t place ourselves on that foundation. We were built there. It’s just like any other building project. The materials don’t do the work. It is the builder who chooses his materials, purchases them, picks a spot for each piece, and then fits it into place.
Isn’t that what the Christian Church’s Chief Architect has done with us? He chose us as his material, even though we were no different than all the other pieces he might have chosen to use. He purchased us for his project at the cross, where his blood paid for us in full. In washing our sins away and declaring us holy and righteous he removed everything that would make us unsuitable for the grand structure he is making. He determined our place in his holy structure and then he fit us into place by calling us to faith. At every step along the way he was active and we were passive, as passive as any brick or a two-by-four sitting on any other foundation we might see. We are built on the foundation.
That foundation is Christ and his coworkers, the apostles and the prophets. The apostles and the prophets lived on opposite sides of Jesus’ life. The prophets worked hundreds of years before Christ, and the apostles directly after him.
But though they were separated by time, their assignments were much the same. These men served as God’s official messengers. Whether they were pointing ahead, or pointing back, they all pointed to Christ.
Nor were these run of the mill Christian pastors. These were the men whose Spirit-inspired words became the Bible that preserves God’s message for us today. Paul seems to be thinking of them already as one unit, like the two testaments of the one Bible we read and believe.
That is a solid foundation on which to build our faith that makes us God’s Church. That foundation does not move. Every generation seems to develop its own philosophies to explain life and search for truth. Those philosophies are a chain of reactions against the one that came before. People reading this have lived through the rise and fall of existentialism, modernism, and postmodernism. There is no lasting, solid ground there. The science of one age becomes the nonsense of the next. We no longer try to bleed people to good health. We no longer explain the transfer of heat from one object to another as the result of the flow of some theoretical “caloric fluid.” At one time, that was all good science. But those foundations crumbled.
God’s word given through the apostles and prophets does not change. Here we know what sin is. More importantly, here we know who our Savior is. And he himself is the chief cornerstone. A cornerstone, as you may know, was more than a decorative, ceremonial concrete block in an ancient building. It was a perfectly square stone, a stone with perfectly carved angles that were used to make sure everything would line up just as it needed to.
Everything, everyone, in Christ’s church lines up with Jesus Christ himself. By faith in his saving work alone each one of us finds our place as part of God’s spiritual house the Church. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved.
It is Christ’s choice, not my personal appeal, Christ’s work, not my goodness, Christ’s word, not my intelligence, that joins me to God and his people today. That’s a truth on which we can build with confidence.