Ephesians 2:22, “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
My kids love building with Legos and wooden blocks. We went through plenty of days in frustration while they were learning what works and what doesn’t. During these times, we talked about foundations and stacking smaller on top of larger. We also tested building on the carpet as opposed to tile or a hardback book. With every new building, I would remind them that the foundation, the base, was the most important. Without a good foundation to build on nothing we would try to put on top would last.
When we think of the Christian life, we can think of ourselves as blocks being used to build one structure. We must be unified in purpose and built on a firm foundation for our tower to stand. And that involves getting along with fellow believers.
The thought of getting along as followers of Christ is not a new one. In various places throughout the New Testament, we are told to live as one in Christ, to be unified. We see in the book of Acts how the early church was unified (Acts 2:42-47) in what they did.
In the previous verses in Ephesians 2, Paul talks about believers being citizens together and members of the same household (Ephesians 2:19).
In several verses in Ephesians, we are told Christians are to be one in Christ. As chapter 2 draws to a close, we have one last word on unity. The believers in Ephesus were reminded that “In him,” meaning Jesus, “you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22).
This one verse holds much for us to consider. First, when we join the family of God by asking forgiveness from sin through the finished work of Jesus, we are brothers and sisters together with other Christians. We all together are being built and used by God for his glory. This same idea is used by Paul in I Corinthians when he uses the analogy of a physical body to describe the church (I Corinthians 12:12-27). Though we are not all called to minister in the same way, we support each other in Christ by the same Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).
The idea Paul is telling the Ephesians in the last verses of chapter 2 is that Christ is the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:21) on which we as Christians are to be unified. Now in verse 22, Paul says that we are built together in Christ. Christianity is not solitary. We are to be unified with each other just as the pieces that make up a building must be unified to stand.
Various places throughout the New Testament we are told to live as one in Christ, to be unified. We see in Acts how the early church was unified (Acts 2:42-47) in what they did.
In the previous verses in Ephesians 2, Paul talks about them being citizens together and members of the same household (Ephesians 2:19).
We should note that this is not only talking about the global church in a context but individuals who accept Jesus as their Savior. As Matthew Henry notes in his commentary, “Not only the universal church is called the temple of God, but particular churches and even every true believer is a living temple, is a habitation of God through the Spirit.”*
This leads us to the next point to consider. At the moment of salvation, we have the Holy Spirit living and dwelling in us. It is in this third person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit, that we are convicted of sin and helped to grow in Christ. The Christian’s body is also referred to as a temple of the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians 3:16-17. This flies in the face of our individualistic mentality where we must stand alone. We are to be unified with believers because of what we share in Christ, and we are to be conscious that the very Holy Spirit dwells in us!
Just as a block tower needs one solid foundation to be built up and stand, Christians must be built on the cornerstone and rely on Christ as the head of our spiritual body (Ephesians 4:15-16).