Today we move on to a new section in Ephesians 2. Here we find Paul giving us still another example of who we are in Christ. We have learned we are “no longer strangers and foreigners” but are now “fellow citizens with the saints” and, if that wasn’t enough, we are also “members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:20). Next, the Lord shows us we belong to a grand temple, a “holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:21), which is the “dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). This magnificent temple has its foundation built on the teaching and revelation of the apostles and prophets and the chief cornerstone is the Lord Himself (Eph. 2:20). This is who we are in Christ. Breathtaking, isn’t it?
As we pray today, let’s focus our prayers on the first phrase in Ephesians 2:20. This verse speaks of the household of God being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets yet it is in the past tense. It says:
Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20.
When we read this our attention naturally gravitates to the words “apostles and prophets” and to “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone”. But if we’re not careful, we’ll miss the beginning of this verse and all that simple beginning conveys. There it says “having been built”. That’s past tense, something already done and established in the past. And from these three words, we can get much encouragement today in our prayers.
Having Been Built
There are some elements in our relationship with Christ that are clearly our responsibility. We have to act or meet some conditions to receive the promise or result. Or, we have to do the “if” (in an “if / then” promise) in order for God to do the “then”. One is conditioned upon another. For example, using the classic salvation verse of Romans 10:9, notice the “if / then” promise: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and (if you) believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, (then) you will be saved.” The condition has to be met in order to receive the result. No confession and belief, no salvation. It’s really that simple. Most of the aspects of our salvation that are conditional usually have to do with sanctification, or how we live the life Christ has provided for us.
But there are other facets of our salvation in which we are passive recipients by grace. There is nothing we did in the past, nor need to do currently, to merit God’s actions. We see this truth in Ephesians 1:4-5 where God, on His own without our cooperation, “chose us in Him” and “predestined us to adoption as sons.” This is a reality God accomplished in the past that we reap benefit from in the present and for all eternity. This is also the same truth communicated by the phrase “having been”… something. It doesn’t matter what God did, we just know it has already been done and there is nothing we can do to enhance or negate God’s blessing.
Let’s close by looking at just a few of the other places in Ephesians where God has already done something for us, something He chose to do, without our cooperation or permission, that from our perspective is finished, complete, and unalterable. Be encouraged by these “having been” or “have been” acts towards us by our sovereign Father.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God – Ephesians 2:8. Done!
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ – Ephesians 2:13. Already done!
Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20. Already accomplished! Done!
Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets – Ephesians 3:5. Already revealed! Finished and complete!
Get the point? And these are only a few verses in Ephesians. The totality of Scripture speaks volumes of what God has already done for you.
Time to Pray
When you pray today, remember the Lord wants you to abide in Him, to rest in Him (John 15:4). The work of salvation has already been done. It is over, finished, complete, and there is nothing you can do that will make God change His mind. In fact, Jesus said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone (including you) snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). So rest in the assurance your future is in good hands and rejoice in your Lord. The frantic days of working and striving for something that already belongs to you should end. Today is your Sabbath, your day of rest. So quit worrying. Relax. And enjoy your time with the Lord today.
We’ll talk again tomorrow.