In Jesus Christ you, with the rest, are united together as a living- place of God in the Spirit. Eph 2:22
In the letter to the Ephesians Paul gives us an architectural drawing of the church. We are his house, with those elements:
- the cornerstone is Jesus,
- the foundation are the apostles and prophets,
- and we are the building.
Peter tells us that we are living stones that together build the temple.
The temple, obviously, is the house of God, and in Ephesians the building is called a dwelling-place or living-place for God.
This reminds me of what Jesus said:
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2
Following that train of thought, I realize – and I am sure you do too – that Jesus’ words mean something totally different than what we usually interpret them to say. Suddenly, it is not about a building in heaven we will move to when we die. The dwelling-place, the Father’s house becomes the church, becomes us.
Wait – Jesus says: I go to prepare a place for you. Doesn’t that make it clear that he is building a house I can live in in heaven – for me?
I don’t think so. Jesus is on his way to reserve a place for you in the Father’s big plan. He is making sure that you can be part of the big picture, something way bigger than you.
Jesus at the time is on the way to the cross, not to heaven. And at the cross he made sure that we had a path way to the Father. He restored our relationship with God. He made sure that God could move in. And so God did. At Pentecost people were filled with the Holy Spirit. God found a dwelling-place.
This works on a personal level:
Or are you not conscious that your body is a house for the Holy Spirit which is in you, and which has been given to you by God? and you are not the owners of yourselves? 1Co 6:19
And it works on a corporate level. This it what our verse today is telling us: we all – you and the rest – are united as a living-place of God.
So we are going to be, even already are part of something big. It is really big that God, the creator of the universe, would live in me. But imaging how much bigger if he moves in a body, a whole church, even his whole Church in the earth.
God had dwelling-places with man. It started in the garden, when he walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. Jacob saw the ladder and called the place Bethel, for surely God lives there. Later we have the tent and three temples. But now, something bigger.
In Revelation, we see that the metaphor of a temple has become too small to describe what God is doing. He is talking of a city, the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem on one hand, but also of a new heaven and a new earth on the other. And even right before going to heaven Jesus said that he now was given all authority in heaven and in earth. He reigns in the Kingdom, encompassing the heavens and the earth. And his Kingdom is and is to come.
God lives in the city with man, and there is no need for neither sun nor moon nor stars. God himself is their light.
Do you get an idea how much bigger this is than just having a flat in the sky, the sweet by-and-by? Why settle for so little?
And why postpone it to the future?
Jesus prepared a place for you. We are just one decision away from being part of his plan. Just believe in him and tell him you need him. Become a part of his Kingdom. But remember: kingdom is where the king has dominion. Your will, not mine be done. As in heaven, so on earth.
Thus let Jesus become the cornerstone of your life. Everything is measured from the cornerstone. He becomes the standard for your life.
But that is not where Paul ended. He went on to tell us that the foundation is built by apostles and prophets. Thus connect yourself with an apostle and a prophet – or more of them – that will father you and help you lead a godly life, as earthly examples and patterns for a heavenly father.
And there is still more: you and the rest. Even with Jesus as the cornerstone and a spiritual father together with the other foundational gifts operating in your life, you need brothers and sisters to complement you. Imagine a house with a sure foundation, but only one brick on top of it. No walls, no rooms, no windows, no doors, no roof. Not even much of a construction place. Just a foundation with a lonely stone, worthless, unless other stones and elements are added.
Ready to be one of them?