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  • Chad Werkhoven

Ephesians 2:19-22 - Foundational Authority

You are being built up in Christ upon the foundation of scripture.



 

Ephesians 2:19–22 (NIV)


19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

 

Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 5: The Authority of Scripture


We receive all these books [of the Bible]

and these only

as holy and canonical,

for the regulating, founding, and establishing

of our faith.


And we believe

without a doubt

all things contained in them—

not so much because the church

receives and approves them as such

but above all because the Holy Spirit

testifies in our hearts

that they are from God,

and also because they prove themselves

to be from God.


For even the blind themselves are able to see

that the things predicted in them

do happen.

 

Summary


The first word of our passage today summarizes one of the key doctrines of the gospel: consequently.


The temple in Jerusalem was designed in such a way that only Jewish people were allowed to come near it; foreigners and strangers were required to stay back. Only God's covenant people could be close to His presence, and even they could only come so close. Only once a year could a priest, representing the covenant people, come into the Holy of Holies with a sacrifice of atonement.


But the gospel drastically changes the situation. Jesus atoned for your sin, gave you His perfect righteousness so that you have peace with God, so consequently your very identity and status has changed. You are no longer a foreigner or stranger. You are a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and you're welcomed into the King's presence anytime.


But the consequences run even deeper! You're not just allowed into the temple; you are the temple, as you along with all of the other saints are being "built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit." And this "holy temple" is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone."


In other words, it's all being built upon the Word.



Dig Deeper


One of the fundamental differences between the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the Protestant churches are in how each recognizes the authority of scripture.


The RCC believes that the New Testament did not exist until the Church recognized which particular gospel accounts and epistles (letters) were canonical (that is, a part of scripture.) In other words, scripture has authority because the RCC Tradition (called the Magisterium) recognizes it. The RCC catechism is helpful in explaining this more.


Protestant churches, on the other hand, understand scripture to be self attesting, meaning that scripture has authority in and of itself, whether the Church recognizes it or not. As our Confession puts it, "we believe without a doubt all things contained in [scripture] — not so much because the church receives and approves them as such but above all because the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that they are from God..."


This may all seem like a bunch of theological minutiae that really doesn't have much relevance for your daily life, but it has a massive impact upon you! The Church and its Tradition doesn't stand alongside Scripture, so that both have the final authority (which isn't possible), rather even the Church herself bows under, and must be held accountable to, the full authority of Scripture.


As important as the Church is, understand that you are being built upon the foundation of scripture - the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone. And you have a responsibility to keep the Church accountable.



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God, who not only welcomes us into His presence, but is building us into His temple;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for the foundation of scripture that's been laid by the apostles and prophets, and pray that you will continue to make it the ultimate authority in your life;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Acts 12

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