on Ephesians 2 :22
In whom ye also are builded - The apostle now applies the metaphor to the purpose for which he produced it, retaining however some of the figurative expressions. As the stones in a temple are all properly placed so as to form a complete house, and be a habitation for the Deity that is worshipped there, so ye are all, both believing Jews and Gentiles, prepared by the doctrine of the prophets and apostles, under the influence of the Spirit of Christ, to become a habitation of God, a Church in which God shall be worthily worshipped, and in which he can continually dwell.
1. Many suppose that the apostle in the preceding chapter alludes to the splendor of the temple of Diana at Ephesus, which was reputed one of the wonders of the world. But to me this opinion does not seem sufficiently founded. I believe he has the Jewish temple continually in view; for that temple, above all in the universe, could alone be said to be a habitation of God. Both in the tabernacle and temple God dwelt between the cherubim; there was the symbol of his presence, and there was the worship performed which himself had prescribed. After the model of this was the spiritual temple, the Christian Church, constructed; and God was to dwell in the one, as he had dwelt in the other. This simile, drawn from the temple at Jerusalem, was alone worthy of the apostle's design; to have alluded to the temple of Diana would have disgraced his subject. And as many at Ephesus were Jews, and well acquainted with the temple at Jerusalem, they would both feel and venerate the apostle's simile, and be led to look for the indwelling of God; that which distinguished the Jewish temple from all others on the face of the earth.
2. The Church of God is very properly said to be a most noble and wonderful work, and truly worthy of God himself.
There is nothing, says one, so august as this Church, seeing it is the temple of God.
Nothing so worthy of reverence, seeing God dwells in it.
Nothing so ancient, since the patriarchs and prophets labored in building it.
Nothing so solid, since Jesus Christ is the foundation of it.
Nothing more closely united and indivisible, since he is the corner stone.
Nothing so lofty, since it reaches as high as heaven, and to the bosom of God himself.
Nothing so regular and well proportioned, since the Holy Spirit is the architect.
Nothing more beautiful, or adorned with greater variety, since it consists of Jews and Gentiles, of every age, country, sex, and condition: the mightiest potentates, the most renowned lawgivers, the most profound philosophers, the most eminent scholars, besides all those of whom the world was not worthy, have formed a part of this building.
Nothing more spacious, since it is spread over the whole earth, and takes in all who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Nothing so inviolable, since it is consecrated to Jehovah.
Nothing so Divine, since it is a living building, animated and inhabited by the Holy Ghost.
on Ephesians 2 :22
In whom - In Christ, or on Christ, as the solid and precious foundation.
Ye also are builded together - You are built into that, or constitute a part of it. You are not merely "added" to it, but you constitute a part of the building.
For an habitation of God - For the indwelling, or the dwelling-place, of God. Formerly he dwelt in the temple. Now he dwells in the church, and in the hearts of his people; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 6:16.
Remarks On Ephesians 2
1. We were by nature dead in sin; Ephesians 2:1. We had no spiritual life. We were insensible to the calls of God, to the beauty of religion, to the claims of the Creator. We were like corpses in the tomb in reference to the frivolous and busy and happy world around them. There we should have remained, had not the grace of God given us life, just as the dead will remain in their graves forever, unless God shall raise them up. How humble should we be at the remembrance of this fact! how grateful that God bas not left us to sleep that sleep of death forever!
2. Parents should feel deep solicitude for their children; Ephesians 2:3. They, in common with all others, are "children of wrath." They have a nature prone to evil; and that nature will develope itself in evil for ever, unless it is changed - just as the young thornbush will be a thorn-bush, and will put forth thorns and not roses; and the Bohon Upas will be a Bohon Upas, and not an olive or an orange; and as the lion will be a lion, and the panther a panther, and not a lamb, a kid, or a gazelle. They will act out their nature, unless they are changed: and they will not be changed, but by the grace of God. I do not mean that their nature is in every sense like that of the lion or the asp; but I mean that they will be as certainly "wicked," if unrenewed, as the lion will be ferocious, and the asp poisonous. And if so, what deep anxiety should parents feel for the salvation of their children! How solicitous should they be that, by the grace of God. the evil propensities of their nature may be eradicated, and that they become the adopted children of God!
3. The salvation of sinners involves all the exercise of power that is put forth in the resurrection of the dead; Ephesians 2:5. It is not a work to be performed by man; it is not a work of angelic might. None can impart spiritual life to the soul but he who gave it life at first. On that great Source of life we are dependent for our resurrection from spiritual death; and to God we must look for the grace by which we are to live. It is true that though we are by nature "dead in sins," we are not in all respects like the dead. Let not this doctrine be abused to make us secure in sin, or to prevent effort. The dead in the grave are dead in all respects. We by nature are dead only in sin. We are active in other things; and indeed the powers of man are not less active than they would be if he were holy. But it is a tremendous activity for evil, and for evil only. The dead in their graves hear nothing, see nothing, and feel nothing.
Sinners hear, and see, and feel; but they hear not God, and they see not his glory, anymore than if they were dead. To the dead in the grave, no command could with propriety be addressed; on them, no entreaty could be urged to rise to life. But the sinner may be commanded and entreated; for he has power, though it is misdirected; and what is needful is, that he should put forth his power in a proper manner. While, therefore, we admit, with deep humiliation, that we, our children, and friends, are by nature dead in sin, let us not abuse this doctrine as though we could be required to do nothing. It is with us willful death. It is death because we do not choose to live. It is a voluntary closing our eyes, and stopping our ears, as if we were dead; and it is a voluntary remaining in this state, when we have all the requisite power to put forth the energies of life. Let a sinner be as active in the service of God as he is in the service of the devil and the world, and he would be an eminent Christian. Indeed, all that is required is, that the misdirected and abused energy of this world should be employed in the service of the Creator. Then all would be well.
(See the supplementary notes, Romans 8:7; Galatians 5:17, note. Whenever it is said the sinner has power, the kind of power should be defined. Certainly he has not moral power. This, indeed, the author allows, but for want of distinct definition of what he understands by "power," both here and elsewhere, the reader is apt to misapprehend him.)
4. Let us remember our former course of life; Ephesians 2:11-12. Nothing is more profitable for a Christian than to sit down and reflect on his former life - on his childhood, with its numerous follies and vanities; on his youth, with its errors, and passions, and sins: and on the ingratitude and faults of riper years. Had God left us in that state, what would be now our condition? Had he cut us off, where had been our abode? Should he now treat us as we deserve, what would be our doom? When the Christian is in danger of becoming proud and self-confident, let him remember what he was. Let him take some period of his life - some year, some month, or even some one day - and think it all over, and he will find enough to humble him. These are the uses which should be made of the past:
(1) It should make us humble. If a man had before his mind a vivid sense of all the past in his own life, he would never be lifted up with pride.
(2) it should make us grateful. God cut off the companions of my childhood - why did he spare me? He cut down many of the associates of my youth in their sins - why did he preserve me? He has suffered many to live on in their sins, and they are in the "broad road" - why am I not with them, treading the path to death and hell?
(3) the recollection of the past should lead us to devote ourselves to God. Professing Christian, "remember" how much of thy life is gone to waste. "Remember" thy days of folly and vanity. "Remember" the injury thou hast done by an evil example. "Remember" how many have been corrupted by thy conversation; perverted by thy opinions; led into sin by thy example; perhaps ruined in body and soul forever by the errors and follies of thy past life. And then remember how much thou dost owe to God, and how solemnly thou art bound to endeavor to repair the evils of thy life, and to save "at least as many as" thou hast ruined.
5. Sinners are by nature without any well-founded hope of salvation; Ephesians 2:12, They are living without Christ, having no belief in him, and no hope of salvation through him. They are "aliens" from all the privileges of the friends of God. They have no "hope." They have no wellfounded expectation of happiness beyond the grave. They have a dim and shadowy expectation that "possibly" they may be happy; but it is founded on no evidence of the divine favor, and no promise of God. "They could not tell on what it is founded, if they were asked;" and what is such a hope worth? These false and delusive hopes do not sustain the soul in trial; they flee away in death. And what a description is this! In a world like this, to be without hope! Subject to trial; exposed to death; and yet destitute of any well-founded prospect of happiness beyond the tomb! They are "without God" also. They worship no God: they confide in none.
on Ephesians 2 :22