Ephesians– overview of 2:19-22; God’s Temple in Humanity
Wednesday July 10, 2019
The new man is under a law much like mankind is under Natural Law. Natural Law tells a man what he ought to do in every situation. Natural Law is not in man, though every man knows it, but is outside of him.
If Natural Law was within man then there would be a part of every man that would do everything right. We could say that there was a righteous part in each of us, but that is not true. We are totally depraved.
Under Natural Law, the doing of a thing, is proper at times and improper at other times. Say there are ten seats at a table; some are proper to take and others are not (someone was sitting there first).
Under Natural Law there are not hard and fast rules. Rather, there are what you ought to do at a given time and under a given circumstance and what you ought not to do.
Now, the new humanity, the new creatures in Christ are under the law of love, which is also not made up of hard and fast rules. It is the Natural Law of the kingdom of heaven and it is heavenly, and thus, holy in character.
Mar 10:35 And James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Him, saying to Him, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You."
Mar 10:36 And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
Mar 10:37 And they said to Him, "Grant that we may sit in Your glory, one on Your right, and one on Your left."
Mar 10:38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
Mar 10:39 And they said to Him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.
Baptized – immersed in the way, life, and truth of the plan of God; giving your life to the service of God.
Mar 10:40 "But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
Mar 10:41 And hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.
Mar 10:42 And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.
The way of the “nations” (Gentiles) is that the great men rise to the top and rule the rest, but it is not so in the kingdom of heaven.
Mar 10:43 "But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;
Mar 10:44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.
Mar 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
The law of love is the love of God in operation. As new creatures, the love of God dwells within us.
Unlike the Law of Nature, we can conclude from the scripture that the law of love is a part of our inner makeup as Christians. I am told that I possess God’s righteousness, that I have a divine nature and a divine seed. There is within me the desire to live according to this law of the kingdom, and, there is the power to do so within me as well, none other than God Himself indwelling me to accomplish His way and work.
But we are not robots or puppets whose strings God is pulling this way and that. We have to know and understand the law of love, which means that we have to know and understand the person of Christ, and when we do, frankly it will be the most beautiful thing we have ever seen, for we will be looking right into the face of God. We will be seeing what Moses and all the OT saints longed for.
We see Jesus teaching it to the disciples and the NT writers expounding on that very teaching, bringing it to light in our own hearts, beholding in a mirror the glory of God and being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, 2Co 3:18.
This wonderful truth is the only thing that can make man truly alive. Pure glory seen, lived it, basked in, with the hope that only more is to come. The Lord’s very glory, given us as a gift, and filling us with life and joy.
We can look around in our world and witness people who don’t have it. Some are faking life, or being alive, trying to impress upon the world that they are really living. How hard they try reveals the death their trying to conceal. Others can’t fake it. They have it much worse.
Malcolm Muggeridge, writing about what he had witnessed in the Ukraine in 1933, as Stalin implemented his collectivization of agriculture:
“To say that there is famine in some of the most fertile parts of Russia is to say much less than the truth; there is not only famine, but a state of war, a military occupation.”
In his autobiography, many years later, he writes: “Reading the articles over again, they seem very inadequate in conveying the horror of it all, which far surpassed human misery. Taine writes, (translated from French) ‘Nothing is more dangerous than a general idea in small and empty brains.’ Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture was just such a general idea in a narrow empty mind, pursued to the uttermost limit, without reference to any other consideration, whether of individual or collective humanity. To be oppressed by an individual tyrant is terrible enough; but Taine is right when he contends that the worst of all fates is to be oppressed by a general idea. This was the fate of the Russian peasants, as it is, increasingly, the fate of us all in the twentieth century.”
What is the general idea that is oppressing the masses in our time? Muggeridge doesn’t weigh in on it here. We could think up many things, but as I thought about it, one such idea that I think is robbing millions of people of life, is the idea the if a man has enough substance and shelter given to him and that he can be distracted enough, he can live without pain or want or disappointment or challenge, and that will make him truly happy.
What is fascinating about this account is how at the time, in America and throughout Europe, all of the misery of the Soviet famine was lied about in the press. Muggeridge, then living as a foreign correspondent for the London newspaper The Guardian in Moscow, decided on a whim to go and see the collective farms for himself. Having known some people, he was able to get a train pass without much effort. He wasn’t guarded or on some organized tour put on by the Soviets so they could lie to the world. Muggeridge states that he was the only foreign journalist ever allowed into the famine areas without supervision. At the same time, a correspondent for the NY Times wrote about granaries overflowing with grain, apple-cheeked dairymaids, and plump contented cows. George Bernard Shaw, and other honorable and distinguished witnesses, wrote the same.
How absolutely wonderful it is to be set free by the truth and to truly possess life from the divine. Nothing and no one in this world can take it from us.
Eph 2:19-22 God’s Temple in Humanity.
The end of the paragraph leads us to Paul’s intent from the beginning of it (“You were dead”) – the habitation of God amongst men.
Christ the foundation, the saved are the walls, and God living in a house of His making in righteousness and perfect peace is a picture of the church.
It will be described by Paul multiple buildings being knit together or framed together, which is a picture of the many churches who are united in truth.
Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
Eph 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [of the church age], Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
Eph 2:21 in whom the [no def. art. “a”] whole building, being fitted together [fitly framed = many become one] is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;
“fitted together” – fitly framed. Many buildings become one.
Eph 2:22 in whom you also [all the churches who will receive this letter] are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
The church is a house built for an Occupant.
The whole church is God’s household. His resting place. If we imagine the church to be the resting place of God, we would take care of her and the people within her fold.
Psa 132:13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His habitation.
Psa 132:14 This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
It is amazing to think that Yavah has desired a habitation among men.
In our age, the church is the resting place of Christ. It is His body, and He indwells it. In eternity there is no physical temple. The Father and the Son are the temple. God who is spirit cannot be satisfied with the fabric of material nature for His temple.
1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Each member is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and each church is a temple as well, but not the building, rather the group of believers who gather there and worship God there.
In our passage, Paul describes the entire church, the body of Christ, as God’s household. We can see Paul saying, “Don’t you know that your individual bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and don’t you know that your church is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and yet each of you lives carnally, and the whole church is known as carnal?”
It wasn’t just one or two Christians in Corinth that were a problem. Jealousy, strife, and poor moral conduct was occurring in enough of them that their reputation to the community had nothing to do with Christ.
Every Christian you know and meet is the temple of God.
In light of God’s glory man learns to reverence his nature and understand the vocation of his race.
That would be a laughable statement if it were in reference to the old creature. The new man learns to reverence his divine nature and comes to understand the vocation of his race, which now is the family of God, all of whom dwell in the kingdom of God.
We are God’s household. Let that soak in and then see what such a house as God’s should look like.
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
1Co 3:3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
1Co 3:4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men?
1Co 3:5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
1Co 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
1Co 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
In the kingdom of God, the planters, the waterers, the servers, the writers, the pastors, the theologians, the evangelists, and on and on, all in the service of the body of Christ are all together as nothing. God causes all of it.
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not so among you …”
1Co 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
1Co 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
The workers work on the field which is God’s building, God’s household.