Status of Gentiles after Christ’s death on the cross
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Comment: Having created peace between Jews and Gentiles, having created one new man instead of two, and having reconciled us both to God through the cross and having provided us both access in one Spirit to God the Father, Gentiles can no longer be of the same state that they were before Jesus died on the cross. Now, Gentiles are no longer strangers and aliens to the commonwealth of Israel and the covenants of promise. Now Gentiles are part of the commonwealth, they are now citizens together with the other saints (Jews that received Jesus) and are now members of the household of God. Through Jesus’s death on the cross, Gentiles have become part of God’s family, part of His household.
The Household of God
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Comment: Paul then went on to describe the household of God that the Gentiles now belong to. Paul says the household of God is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself being the cornerstone. Once the foundation was built, rest of the structure was joined together and build upon this foundation. Now the structure continues to grow into a holy temple of the Lord. What is this foundation then:
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (ESV Strong’s)
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
In 1 Cor 1-3, Paul indicated that he chose to preach nothing else except Christ crucified. He indicated in 1 Cor 2:12-13 that he imparts things freely given by God through the Spirit not in words taught by man but by the Spirit. In 1 Cor 3:10, Paul says that he has laid a foundation. This means that by preaching Christ crucified in words taught by the Spirit, Paul was laying a foundation. Therefore the foundation is the Word of God that points to Jesus Christ crucified. This is confirmed in 1 Cor 3:11 when Paul says that this foundation is Jesus Christ. This is also confirmed in Math 16:16-18, when Jesus said to Peter that upon the statement that Peter made that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God”, He will build his church. Therefore the church is built upon Jesus as the foundation. In 1 Cor 3:9, Paul indicates that they are God’s fellow workers and the Christians were God’s building. I understand this to mean that God uses the apostles and others to build.
Now, this comes together with our passage in Ephesians since Paul here says that the household of God is built on the foundation of apostles and the prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone. This now means from what we have discussed above that the household of God is built upon the Word of God brought to us through the prophets and the apostles which pointed towards Jesus Christ crucified.
One question comes out of this and that is: If the prophets and the apostles were or are the foundation and the whole structure is being joined together on top of this foundation, can we have more apostles or prophets? Well, if you look at the world “built”, it is in an aorist passive participle, meaning that the building of the foundation was a once off action in the past and was completed. That is, the foundation was built in the past and completed using the apostles and prophets and Jesus as the cornerstone. It also makes sense to have only one foundation for a building. No building is ever built with multiple foundations.
This therefore importantly means that the Word of God which is the foundation and brought about by the apostles and prophets and which points towards Jesus Christ, is complete and no more new prophesies or new revelation can now be claimed to have been received, since that will seem to want to extend an already built foundation. This is confirmed clearly by Paul:
1 Corinthians 3:11 (ESV Strong’s)
11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Therefore be careful of those who claim to have received new prophesies and new revelations from God.
Upon this foundation, upon the Word of God brought about by the apostles and prophets, the word that point to Jesus crucified, the whole household is been joined together as this very same word is preached and accepted by more and more people, and thee whole structure grows into a holy temple in Jesus. Then in verse 22, Paul ends chapter 2 by saying that the Gentiles are also being made part of and included in the building of this holy temple. Amen