Friday, May 16, 2008

Ephesians 2:11-22

"Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men) -- remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." NIV

To totally understand this passage, we have to look back at a little history. God ordained circumcision to establish a covenant between God and Abraham. This covenant separated the Hebrew children from everyone else and marked them as God's chosen people. But now through Jesus Christ, the law that separates Jews from Gentiles is broken. Circumcised or not, we all have citizenship together in Him. "For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."

Our heritage is now united with the Jews. The Fathers of the faith -- Abraham, Moses, David -- are all our Fathers as well. They are a part of the "foundation" of our faith with Christ as the head.

Now here's the part I really love -- verses 21-22. We all together make up God's holy temple. We are the church and God's Spirit lives within us. I think back to the reverence that the sanctuary in a church held. Some churches still do, but it seems less and less. My church meets in a high school auditorium. While still maintaining respect in that room, there is not the reverence and awe when you walk in that you sense in some church sanctuaries. My point is that it's not a building that I need to be in awe of. It's not stained glass or ornate altars. The church is not made up of flying buttresses and sky-rising steeples. Those are man made places in which to gather. We, the people of God, are His temple, and our awe and amazement should lie in the fact that the Spirit of the Living God resides in me -- guiding, empowering, walking with our feet among those who need to see Him. Lord, help me to never take for granted the sanctuary of my life. I want to live each day in awe that I am Your Temple, Your dwelling place. Use my feet to take your Presence to a hurt and dying world.

Further Thoughts:

  1. Why was circumcision established? (See Genesis 17:1-14)
  2. What does Moses mean about "circumcising your hearts" in Deuteronomy 10:16? (See also Romans 2:28-29)
  3. How is circumcision of the heart related to being the temple of God's Spirit? (support with Scripture)
  4. Using a concordance, find other Scriptures that state we are God's temple.
  5. How is being God's temple related to holiness? (See Scriptures from #4. Read around the verses you find. i.e. not just 2 Cor. 6:16, but 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. Also, compare with Scriptures on holiness.)

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