Day 4

He Is Our Cornerstone

from the Ephesians reading plan


Ephesians 2:11-22, Galatians 3:23-29, 6:15, Psalm 118:22, 1 Corinthians 3:16

BY Rebecca Faires

It’s so tough that we have to live with people.

I mean, we would be so lonely without them, but it’s hard to get along, you know? My family is seven people. Seven mouths to feed, fourteen feet to shoe, one-hundred-forty fingernails and toenails to trim, and a million ideas about the purpose of a Saturday. It’s complicated. Even if you don’t have that many folks under your roof, it’s hard to keep the peace anytime we’re forced to rub shoulders with other imperfect humans.

Even when times are so good, unity can be so hard. I always expected family life, or roommate life, to just feel like a basket of kittens. So why aren’t we all adorably snuggling and saying meow, meow already?

The early church had the same problems with unity that we have today. Paul tries to halt their squabbling by reminding them of this key truth: Christ is the cornerstone. Obviously your house is going to fall down if it’s not built on the cornerstone. Unity is enormously difficult, and the only way to have unity with each other is through Christ.

Because the folks in Ephesus were so busy slapping and kicking each other in the shins over whether or not circumcision is the one true way to salvation, Paul uses metaphors to get their attention and gives them a veritable technicolor slideshow of unity.

Paul actually uses illustrations like this a lot in his letters, to deepen our understanding of our relationship to each other in Christ. Look how many I found with only a quick, cursory search:

Together, in Christ, we are:

  • a holy sanctuary (Ephesians 2:21, 1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • a body (Ephesians 2:15)
  • a city (Ephesians 2:19)
  • a family (Ephesians 2:19, Galatians 3:26, 29)
  • covered (Galatians 3:27)
  • sons, not slaves (Galatians 3:23-26)
  • a creation (Galatians 6:15)

Whew! As I noticed that Paul really rolled out the whole barrel of metaphors, I realized this concept of unity in Christ must require more than just passing consideration. It demands real attention to the texture of this truth, like we could comprehend more if we examine it from different angles. Let’s look at three of these pictures of unity together today.

I am most intrigued by the picture of us as family in Christ (Ephesians 2:19). The issue of seamless family connection has always plagued me because I, like many of you, come from a home of divorce. So my family isn’t tidy or shiny; it’s funny and sometimes awkward. But Paul is saying we are “members of the household of God.” We have a rightful place, together, in Him.

I’m also fascinated to think of us as a holy sanctuary (Ephesians 2:21). We are joined together to make a holy temple for the Lord. Together we are a place that is set apart, a place that God loves. It’s amazing.

Finally, we can see our unity in the image of the city (Ephesians 2:19). I really like this one. In a city, everyone does different jobs, but it works because we are pulling together, just like we learned on Sesame Street. Except this unity works because we are in Christ—not because we are motivated by civic duty.

God brought the Jews and the Gentiles together. He’s still doing it today. He’s bringing the Hatfields and the McCoys together. He’s bringing me and my crazy family together. It’s super messy and complicated. Honestly, it’s horribly messy.

Here we are, and God wants us all to be His people. Me, you, and your lunatic uncle. How can we all come together? In Christ. Christ is our cornerstone. We build on Him. He is the only source of unity.

Before you get out your mortar and trowel to start building, remember that unity comes from the Lord, and it is begun and completed by Him. We can’t achieve unity by our good work or our hard work—but He achieves it by His grace!

Lord, bring unity to our families and our communities. Give us the humility to see that our hands aren’t enough to build the Kingdom, but that your hands have already built it. You are our cornerstone, and “in you we are made one” (John 17:22).

 

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Post Comments (83)

83 thoughts on "He Is Our Cornerstone"

  1. joanne says:

    CRAZY good stuff! Only in Him do we have unity. Love all the analogies, too.

  2. bellissimanh says:

    Reminded this morning that Jesus is our peace. He is the only way I can be reconciled to God and have peace with the Father, but He also came to bring peace and unity to His bickering children. His desire is for us to be one… not fractured into a bunch of pieces. Instead of viewing that guy that rubs me the wrong way as an irritation, I want to see Him as someone God has put in my life to help smooth away my rough edges… to polish me and make me more like Jesus – to the point where He can see His reflection in me.

    Father, forgive me for my tendency to view my relationships through the lens of what divides us, rather than the bond we have as members of Your family. Fill me with Your Spirit so that I might respond to others with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. Show me practical ways that I can love my brothers and sisters – not just say the words, but act on them. I want to live up to the calling You have placed on my life – to love You, and to love others.. and I want to do it deeply. Take the friction that comes from doing life together and use it to create something beautiful in me.

    1. Deb says:

      Amen! Thank you…that prayer was just what I needed to pray!

    2. MNmomma (heather) says:

      Amen!!!!!! Praying with you this morning!

    3. Donna says:

      Amen. Beautifully said.

  3. Kelly_Smith says:

    The enemy wants to remind us of our differences. He may fill one group with pride, convincing them that they are the only group to have it together. He may fill another with shame or feelings of being second class. Self-importance, pride, judgement, doubt, inferiority–all are enemies of unity in Christ. I have to listen close to discern what lie I have listened to; what do I believe that keeps me from experiencing true unity with other believers. For me, it is probably pride and judgement. The enemy puffs me up with compliments on my knowledge and doctrine. I see "different" as "wrong." Here is the Truth: "You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens." I choose to believe Truth today.

    1. Sylvia Reeve says:

      Amen! I have a hard time wrapping my head around what unity should look like. I’m always needing to remind myself that unity doesn’t mean we all need to think alike and too often focus on the differences rather than on Christ who unites. Differences divide Christ unites. (Sylvia)

    2. MNmomma (heather) says:

      Amen!

    3. MissyCM says:

      Yes, Kelly. Thank you for this.

      I choose to believe Truth today.

  4. Connie G. says:

    Praise God. What a great reminder of what unity really is all about – Christ.

    Lately, I’ve been struggling with what the “right” way or the “best way” to follow Christ is. With all these denominations out there, and even with the differences between the Catholic and Protestant church…I was always left wondering: which way is right, which way is better? After reading this, specifically Galatians 3:25-29, I’ve come to a realization that brings so much peace to my heart:

    It is because of Christ that I’m able to be His daughter. It is because of Christ that we – all Protestant denominations and Catholics – are able to be His children, not because of what our specific church does, but rather where our heart is in our walk with Christ. We are all one family.

    Can you imagine how beautiful it would be if judgment and contempt ceased among the differences in Christianity, and we could all be in unity? This doesn’t mean that we all have to agree with one another on theology (and other differences) 100%, but rather we would respect and love and accept one another, despite of our differences, because of our love for Christ. I always find it heartbreaking when there is so much division among Christians… I mean, come on where is Christ in that? Where is the love? It’s amazing to think how we are already United as one, whether we realize it or not. We all are one in Christ, we all have different paths in life, yet the pursuit and destination is one: Christ.

    1. Kelly_Smith says:

      Amen, Connie! That would truly be beautiful. One God, one Spirit, one Church.

    2. Stacey says:

      Yes!! I love that you touched on this! A message that so many people in my life probably need to hear but something that I need to keep in my heart for those quick fleeting thoughts that plague me.

    3. Gina says:

      You are always welcome to join the church the apostles built through the miracle of pentecost…the first church…the Catholic church. It must hurt God to see the division in his church. The doors are always open.

      1. Brwnmoc1 says:

        Gina,

        We are all here with teachable hearts and opened minds to learn and grow. However, I don’t remember in God’s Word where a particular denomination was chosen by Him. Do you have Scriptures from the Holy Bible to support your claim?

        1. Andrea says:

          The Body of Christ (believers) is the church. Not buildings or denominations! [Ephesians 4, Romans 12].

      2. Alexis says:

        Yes, please let’s keep denominations out. Some of us have bad experiences we’d rather not revisit.

    4. Elaine says:

      I have Christian friends from several different denominations though i have worshiped in the same church for years, we were called Methodist in past years but have changed to nondenominational in recent years. This is AWESOME. We no longer have a label…we are just a bunch of CHRISTIANS! I love it!

  5. carlybenson says:

    I love v18- "Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us." It's a level playing field. It doesn't matter about our family, our abilities, our past, or anything else- we all need God's grace and we all come to him in the same way. Unity is difficult but if we are united by Jesus, our cornerstone, that can help us deal with the things that threaten to divide us. Recognising that we have been shown God's grace can help us to show grace to others too and to realise that, despite our differences, in many ways they are just the same as us.

    1. MNmomma (heather) says:

      So true!

  6. tina says:

    I have long since loved Psalm 127…for the verse (3) that says 'Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing…very precious words to me….so much so that they have not only been underlined, they have been highlighted, and along the side of the verse there are lines to draw attention to the verse….

    To get to these words that just have me singing, there are two other verses, which although are not as highlighted, or promoted as verse 3, verse 1 is the one that came to mind as I read the devo today..
    If the Lord does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless..( God needs to be in the construction, the bricks, the mortar, the FOUNDATION), or it will hold up, it will not work)), emphasis mine
    If the Lord does not protect the city, it is useless for the sentries to stand guard ( these men of valour, without God, as their armour and standing alongside, their job will be to no avail..)..emphasis mine..

    Who we are is not dependant on anything earthly, money , success, the size of house, how many dogs…what we can fit into our handbags… who we are is depends on WHO we rely on, WHO we look to, WHO we turn to, WHO holds us together…we can have it all and still not be spiritually together, we can have it all and still have nothing…
    The cornerstone, which is, and I looked it up,
    'An indispensable and fundamental basis..'
    A person or thing of prime importance..the basis,
    The foundation on which something is constructed….
    Take you pick, they all say the same thing….The foundation on which….
    Jesus is our foundation, from Him, we can do life in a way pleasing and appropriate and glorifying to God…He is the way…Forward…

    Thank you Lord God, that we have you as our guide, our help, our leader, our foundation….lead us, guide us, help us to walk as you would have us walk, with you as our Cornerstone…Amen..

    Praying the foundations of what you say, do, are today…is Jesus…..Be Blessed totally and abundantly…xxx

    1. MNmomma (heather) says:

      thank you Tina for this…..it really hit me in a way I needed today. Praying right along with you!!! May you be abundantly and totally blessed as well sweet sister!

    2. Wow, Tina, preach! Thank you for this good word today. It was just the truth I needed to hear today. <3

    3. Sam says:

      Wow Tina those verses are só relevant and só powerful! thanks!

  7. Courtney says:

    I so needed this. Thank you thank you. I feel like my family and my church are falling apart. But I don’t have to struggle to achieve peace. God is the one who gives unity.

    1. Kathy says:

      Yes. This is the same thing that stood out to me this morning. I see a lack of peace in my life, so I work harder and harder to achieve it. Yet what I'm actually doing is creating more unrest in my soul because I'm trying to achieve my own peace rather than seeing the peace and unity God has already created with himself and with others through the blood of Christ. Praying this morning that God would open both of our eyes to the peace already available to us in Christ.

      1. MNmomma (heather) says:

        prayers lifted for you ladies! hugs!

      2. Brianna O'Brien says:

        Thank you Kathy for your response. I needed to hear your words and this message this morning!

    2. Christin Crabtree says:

      Courtney I am in the same position as you. My church and my family are falling apart. I don’t know what to do anymore, but this post was an encouragement. Even though we don’t know each other, you are in my prayers

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