built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, (ESV)
In our verse today, Paul continues his description of this new identity that we all have in Jesus Christ. Jews and Gentiles, through Christ, have become something brand new. He likens us to a building. He talks about how this building that we are becoming is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and that Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone. Let's look at what that means together.
I love carpentry. I have no natural-born skill for it. I am not good at it. But, I love to build things. The most important aspect of building any kind of building is the foundation. If the foundation is off, everything else will be off. And in the midst of great storm or struggle, the building will not survive if the foundation was not built properly.
The foundation to this building that Paul speaks of is the teaching of the Word of God, through the apostles and prophets. The apostles were given the task of writing the New Testament Word of God.
The prophets were the ones who proclaimed it. We tend to only think of the word prophet in terms of fore-telling, but the most important role of prophet is forth-telling.
The Early Church understood the importance of the teaching of the New Testament Word of God, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:42, it describes the Early Church by saying, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching . . .” The foundation for this building is the Word of God, particularly the teaching of the New Testament which reveals the new covenant in Christ Jesus. It is essential that we be founded on the teaching of the Word of God. Without that foundation, whatever we build will crumble.
The foundation is essential. The cornerstone is the next thing that Paul mentions, and it is even greater . . . Christ himself! “Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” He is the most important part of the foundation. He is the stone that all the others have to be connected to. If the cornerstone is off, everything is off. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of our lives. If we use anything else, our lives will be drastically off.
God is building his Church. It is a wonderful thing. As you consider your involvement in the Church of Jesus Christ, make sure you recognize the foundation of the Apostles' teaching, and the cornerstone of Jesus Christ himself. Everything needs to be connected properly or we will not stand the storms of life.