Filling God's Dwelling Place - Ephesians 2:11-22

Furnishing God’s Dwelling Place

When growing up, I would ‘help’ my dad install cabinets in houses. My dad was, and still is, a carpenter. Some of the installations would be in houses where the clients would just remodel a kitchen or bathroom. Other houses were brand new and just being built. When I would go to the new houses, they were empty, cold, and dirty. There was no driveway or landscaping, and the inside was just a shell. The cabinets typically waited to be installed after the drywall was completed, so there was drywall dust and spackling everywhere. To my young eyes, I could not picture what the finished product would look like. I could not see how this house would be a dwelling place for someone in the future. There was no hope for it, but I had to trust that the contractors and the owners had a plan for the final product. 

This is true in our lives with God. We were once empty and separated from God, but through Jesus Christ, we are being built as a dwelling place by the Holy Spirit. 


Ephesians 2:11-22

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 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, 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.

Paul is telling the Ephesians that because of God’s grace, we are saved; we are no longer separated. The Gentiles could not have a relationship with God because they were uncircumcised. The ‘uncircumcised’ were outside of the covenant of God. They were not part of Israel, so they were separated and alienated from God’s promises to Israel. How hard must that have been to be segregated like that? Having absolutely no hope. This may have been a reason for the Gentiles to seek refuge in false gods. They recognized that there was some form of deity, but they did not have the covenant given to Israel. The Gentiles were excluded without the possibility of an intimate relationship with God. 

The same is true for us. There is a wall that divides us from God, and that wall is sin. However, Paul says that through the blood of Christ, that wall has been broken down. There is no separation between Jew and Gentile and no separation between God and man. Matthew 27:51 says at the time of Jesus’ death, “51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”  The veil separated the holy place from the holiest place in the temple. This wall was the separation between God and man. We didn’t have access. Not only did Christ allow us access to the holiest of places, the presence of God, but Christ became our peace. There is the same access for anyone who is ‘near’ to God and to those who seem like a lost cause, the worse and most evil of humans. Everyone has the same access because of Christ. 

Now, we have access to God through the Holy Spirit. Our empty and unfinished house is actively being built into a dwelling place for the Lord. Our foundation is on the truth of Jesus Christ, being the cornerstone that holds our hearts and our body as the church together. He is the centerpiece that maintains the structure. Each wall and corner come together to form the final structure. God’s Word provides us with the structure, and the Holy Spirit fills it with His presence, but only if we allow it. It is our choice. 

Therefore, don’t be like my naïve 12-year-old self and have blinded eyes on what the final product can be. Spend time in prayer and read the Bible. Fill God’s dwelling place with the appropriate contents. Allow the Holy Spirit to rearrange and even remodel your heart, so it is a presentable and pleasing structure that edifies God. There may be old items that we have a hard time letting go of and removing from our hearts, but Christ allows us to overcome this and get rid of them. The more we furnish our hearts with God’s will and God’s Word, the more our focus will be on His heart. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your remodel, whether it is small things hanging on the walls or completely removing the walls.
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