"19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
The remaining verses of the chapter continue the rich vein of teaching that the Apostle gives us. We spoke in an earlier Note about 'the raw material' from which the Church of Christ is built and we now see in these verses the result of God's handiwork, in 'an holy temple in the Lord', and 'an habitation of God by the Spirit'. What impresses one in reading this chapter is the rich profusion of metaphor that Paul uses to get his message over to us. The word 'access' in 18, for example, may be translated 'introduction'. It is on the basis of Christ's atoning and reconciling work that the Spirit 'introduces' us to the Father, and brings us to a real and personal knowledge of Him - we are no longer 'strangers' but accepted into His circle. But the implications of this are far-reaching. The 'introduction' we have is much more than is represented by the phrase 'presentation at court' - there, we are introduced to the sovereign, but it can scarcely be called a personal introduction, rather it is a formal one, and the sovereign can hardly remember everyone who is introduced to her. But it is also more than a personal introduction to another. Here, in this 'access', we can truly claim a personal knowledge: we have been introduced, and we know and are known. And further still, the introduction that the Spirit effects is an introduction to the Father's love, care and affection, an initiation into real fellowship.
No longer far from Him, but now
By precious blood made nigh;
Accepted in the Well-Beloved,
Near to God's heart we lie.
It is this thought that naturally leads into that of the church as 'the household of God', and 'the habitation of God through the Spirit'. This is indeed another metaphor, and we will need to continue its thought in tomorrow's Note.