But God …

| 05 February 2020

Question: What is the common link between these terms?
Strangers – Foundation
Citizens – Cornerstone
Family – Temple
House – Dwelling

Answer: These are the terms used by Paul to describe the togetherness and inclusion experienced by believer … because of what Christ has done for us. (Ephesians 2:18) Paul is so excited about Gentiles and Jews being united to each other and about all believers being united to God that he grows his word pictures or metaphors from one phrase to the next. Count it below. There are seven sentences in verses 19-22 (New Living Translation) and Paul switches metaphors in each one. The writing builds from the exclusion and isolation of the past to the participation and unification of the present.

“19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22 (NLT)

Different English translations punctuate this passage differently. The King James version separates the verses by using two commas, a semi colon, another comma, another semi colon, a colon, and then a period. Youngs Literal Translation uses nine commas and then a period. The NASB uses seven commas and then a period. The NIV uses four commas and a period in verses 19-20 and then one sentence each for verses 21 and 22.

The way this passage gets punctuated in the English language is interesting but is not Paul’s point. The focus is that believers, whether Gentile or Jew, are connected to God and to each other. There are no outsiders in the familyhousetempledwelling of faith. Every believer is an included and an important part of the Holy Spirit’s life and work.

Take some time today to thank the Lord for the connections we have with believers all over our city, country and planet!

John Riley
Junior High Pastor