“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian. In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”. This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body. This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…
First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.
Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).
Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage. That is membership into the family of God.
Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.
A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II. The foundation of these organizations – 20
III. The purpose of these organizations – 21-22
In our text today, Paul describes the continuing strengthening and addition to the membership of these divinely established institutions…
(Eph 2:22) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
In our last devotional, we saw that the Lord is continually building up (strengthening and increasing) His institutions (the nation, family and local churches of God) which results in them becoming separated from sin and becoming closer to the Lord.
Paul now looks at some other gracious blessings that stem from the Lord building up His institutions…
In whom ye also are builded together
We already saw that the Lord’s building of His institutions results in a closer relationship between Him and the institution’s members. Now we find that, as the Lord builds up of His institutions, He graces their members with a closer relationship with one another. By adding new members and increasing the knowledge of His truths among the members, it produces a love and fellowship within each institution. As a matter of fact, this love and fellowship with other believers is a hall-mark of a genuine salvation experience…
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)
for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Paul now explains that, as the Lord builds up His institutions, it creates a permanent dwelling place for God in the person of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Himself graciously dwells amongst His peoples. He does this as a King would dwell among those of His nation, a Father dwells in the midst of His family and as the Pastor (shepherd) dwells among His churches. This is done in two ways:
1. The person of the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer…
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
2. The person of the Holy Spirit meets with those in a very special way as they gather together in His local assemblies…
“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20)
“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the
foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle….
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:12,13,20)
May we all come to recognize the wonderful blessings that the Lord gives to us as members of His institutions. The unity among His people, His indwelling presence (in the person of the Holy Spirit), and His special presence within the local assemblies are indispensable blessings that flow from His grace. Let us show our thankfulness for these wonderful blessings by living lives that honor and glorify Him.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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