No Longer Strangers
A daily devotion for March 9th
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
...you are...fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief Cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19b-20)
Paul says that you who have come to Christ are no more strangers and foreigners. First, you are
fellow citizens with God's people. You have entered a new kingdom. You have changed your citizenship; you are now under another authority. We take for granted the rights of American citizenship so much that we have almost forgotten the fact that we are under authority. The government has certain powers over us. We are under authority—that is the first mark of citizenship.
But the thing that makes us rejoice in our citizenship is that we have certain privileges. When I travel abroad I am always glad that I am an American citizen. Protection is extended to me that others do not have. In the kingdom of God you have the protection of a King. There is power available—resurrection power, the kind that works beyond human thinking and planning. And God invites you to call upon Him for that kind of resource, whenever you need it.
members of God's household. This is an advance on the first point. We are members of God's own intimate family. A child always outranks any ambassador or governor or secretary. A biography of Abraham Lincoln related an incident that occurred when the president was involved with his cabinet in a crucial meeting. They were in the cabinet room when there came a knock at the door. There stood Willy, the president's ten-year-old son, wanting to see his father. Lincoln left all the cabinet members while he saw what Willy wanted. Willy outranked all the others. This is the great truth that Paul is trying to bring home to our hearts—we have access to a Father who is the King, with tremendous authority and power in the affairs of the world.
Third, Paul goes on to an even closer relationship: you are
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Perhaps that seems something of an anticlimax. After all, a building is rather cold and impersonal compared with the relationship of a family. But the apostle is actually moving closer, to a more intimate relationship, because he is stressing the closeness of the members of the very habitation of God—to one another and to the Lord.
It is possible for the members of a family to be scattered throughout the earth. But in the structure of a building, no separation of stones that make up the walls is possible. If the stones were separated, the building would crumble. So the apostle really is bringing us into a more intimate relationship.
Father, help me to remember that in times of difficulty I have privileges and resources that many have never claimed. Help me to live in the fullness of the provision You have made for me—not as a servant but as a child of the living God.
Life Application: Citizenship implies privilege. What are the unique privileges and resources available to those who are citizens in God's kingdom and members of His household?
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