By Stan Brown
Ephesians 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone,
We, as believers of all ilks, are part of a fabulous building that never before existed and is continuing to grow as it is being built into God’s dwelling place. The body of Christ, of which we are a part, is a holy temple. In the three verses beginning in the current verse, Paul will describe its foundation (v.20), its formation (v.21) and its function (v.22). In verse nineteen Paul spoke of our being of God’s household. He now changes the metaphor as he describes us as the building in which God dwells. In his letter to the Corinthians, we are individually described as God’s temple, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you (1Cor. 6:19). Here the metaphor pictures us as united together into one building being built into God’s dwelling place. As both individual believers and believers united together, we are pictured as forming God’s house.
Paul speaks of the foundation of that house. The foundation is bonded together by the chief cornerstone which is Christ Jesus Himself. The foundation is made up of apostles and prophets while we make up the building that is currently being erected on that foundation. First, I will tell you a practical application of this verse. We are being built on a firm never moving foundation. We need not worry about the fact that some new discovery will challenge the truth upon which we are being built. Culture always challenges it but it remains unchanging. Our foundation is firm.
Next, let’s build the building from the ground up. It begins with the cornerstone described by the prophet Isaiah. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. (Is. 28:16). The foundation can begin with no One other than Jesus Christ. It is also interesting that the Psalmist describes Him as the one rejected by the builders. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner (Psalm 118:22). Jesus is the focal point and the beginning point of the foundation of the building, indeed of the building itself. He was and often is rejected by people but there is no other like Him. There is no building apart from Him.
We then move to the foundation that is held together by Christ. Although it is true that all that is in the Old Testament essentially points to Christ it is likely that the terms apostles and prophets here refer to the truths proclaimed in the New Testament. This is suggested for at least two reasons. First, the order of the words apostles and prophets. Second, the structure being built here is a new structure that was never seen before. This is a foundation that is sure. It is held together by and laid in line with the chief cornerstone. We are built on such a foundation and no other. When the world and its fancies begin to play havoc with our minds and the culture berates us for our foolishness, we must remember the foundation and cornerstone on which we are being built. The chief cornerstone is still rejected by the swarming human hordes surrounding us but it remains the One on which the Creator of the universe has chosen to build His dwelling place. We can confidently accept the actions of and word proclaimed by the apostles and prophets as they are held together by the chief cornerstone.