Tuesday, January 10, 2012

6. Ephesians 2

(This is the fifth in a series of ten posts counting down my ten favorite chapters in the New Testament. My friend David is also counting down his ten favorite chapters in the New Testament. You can find the corresponding post on his blog by clicking here.)

While we're on the topic of building from First Peter 2, lets jump right into Ephesians 2, a chapter whose last three verses all mention building. Ephesians is without a doubt my favorite book in the Bible because it contains the highest revelation of the church, which is God's heart's desire. I'm not joking when I say that all six of the chapters in Ephesians were considered as serious candidates for the top ten. Ephesians 2 is special because it reveals at least four different aspects of the church all by itself!

But the chapter begins with a negative tone: 
"And you, though dead in your offenses and sins..."
The two major problems that hinder the building up of the church are our sins and our deadness. God cannot use us in our pitiful, fallen condition as the building material for the church. So first, he had to go through the processes of incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to redeem us from our sins and impart his life to us. Along with Galatians 2:20, verses 5-6 in Ephesians 2 show us that we were with Christ every step of the way:
"Even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ...and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus."
Once Christ has solved our problems with God on the negative side of things, He could start building us together into the church with its many different aspects on the positive side of things. Ephesians 2 reveals the church as:
  1. The masterpiece of God (v. 10): God's greatest work as an artist is not creation, but the church. See more in this post.
  2. The one new man (v. 15): God has united the Jews, the Gentiles, and all the races in the church through the cross.
  3. The household of God (v. 19): The church is composed of redeemed sons of God as God's family with the right to enjoy all His riches.
  4. The dwelling place of God (v. 22): In the church, God can finally find the place of rest He desired in Isaiah 66:1.
Other verses in Ephesians reveal the church as the body of Christ, the mystery of Christ, the bride of Christ, the kingdom of God, and the warrior. Praise the Lord for the church!

Paul gives us one more reminder about the church in the end of chapter 2 in verse 20: 
"Being built upon the foundation...Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone..." 
The work done in Ephesians 2, from redeeming us to making us alive to seating us in the heavenlies to forming us together as the masterpiece of God, the one new man, the household God, and the dwelling place of God, was all accomplished by Christ. Christ is the cornerstone of the church today, and He will be for all eternity!

Five chapters down, five to go...we can do this thing!

P.S. David has already placed Ephesians 2 on his list at #9. You can read his take on the chapter by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

We finally overlapped, though I used 1 Peter 2 as backup to Ephesians 2 in Day 2. I thought it would have happened by now for sure.

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