By Stan Brown
Ephesians 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
The foundation of the building is the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. The formation of the building occurs as God builds His holy temple with believers as He carefully and perfectly puts them in place. (For a minute or so I leave Paul’s analogy and construct a variation of my own. It seems to me that on occasion believers are not satisfied with the place given to them by God and using their free will wriggle out of where God has placed them and try to make a different place for themselves. God in His great patience works, as the Holy Spirit gently and sometimes not so gently nudges us back into place. OK, back to Paul’s analogy.) Paul’s thought here is exhilarating. Think about it. God has taken the care to individually place us exactly where we most naturally fit. We must be comfortable with His choice.
Now Paul moves on to the function of the dwelling place God constructs with believers as the building stones. Hoehner writes, “It is the habitat of God.” God has chosen to make His abode with us. There are two things of note in the phrase, you also are being built together. The first is that our loving God who is full of grace is the one who is precisely building the edifice in a manner that highlights the gifts He has given us. We seek fulfillment in our lives. God gives us that fulfillment as He gives to us His personal attention bathed in His grace and His patience. We require both. Second is unity. Paul speaks here of Jews and Gentiles being built together which might highlight the difficulty of the task but putting you and me together is a no less difficult task. It is also a task that requires grace and patience. When we look around, we might think that this unity is not going as well as it should. This is likely why Paul describes it as a process. God in His omnipotence could force the result but He chooses to work with each of us as He chisels away the flaws that need shaping. God cares enough about me to give me His personal attention in grace and patience. (I almost forgot. The word translated being built together is used only here in the New Testament. It seems that Paul is making a habit of constructing words to describe this wonderfully unique relationship that we have with God and with each other.)
Hoehner describes the dwelling of God. “It is not only a dwelling place but a deep and settled dwelling place. It has the idea of a dwelling place that is firmly rooted. It signifies the endurance and permanence of God’s inhabitance in the body of believers.” God is not giving up on us. He has chosen to dwell in our midst. He has chosen to do this in the person of the Holy Spirit. He has chosen to do this forever. The Holy Spirit indwells us as individuals whose bodies are God’s temple (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? (1Cor. 6:19)). The Holy Spirit indwells us as a united body that is being constructed as the dwelling of God; that is His holy temple. God desires a relationship with us.
I come away from these three verses with an awesome feeling of the meticulous care that God takes in His personal relationship with me and the place that I must play in bringing glory to His magnificent name.