As we saw last time, all true believers are part of the “one building” in Christ. We also saw, the first aspect of this building is its structure. Ephesians 2:21—In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord—shows us the result of this building, which is three fold.
First, it produces unity among the parts. The words fitly framed together translate an utterly fascinating single Greek word (sunarmologeo) an architectural metaphor that pictures the intricate process in masonry of fitting stones together to form a structure. The word is actually made up of three words, which when all the literal meanings are put together means “together-joint-choose.” The picture is vivid. We can see the stonemason diligently choosing a stone, carefully chipping away a corner here, an imperfection there, trying it in the wall for fit, and then repeating the process as many times as need until it fits exactly. In so doing he not only makes a strong wall, but one in which every stone compliments the others and the wall as a whole. Consider also that not one stone is exactly like another—each one is unique.
What a beautiful picture of true unity in the Church! Every believer needs to “fit.” The building of the Church is an ongoing process in which each believer is being properly and uniquely cut and trimmed to be useful to the Building, to compliment the whole.
Second, this structure is growing. Talk about mixing your metaphors! We usually think of a building as a static thing; once done, it’s done. But not so this building. The Greek for groweth (auxano) means “to grow or increase, of the growth of that which lives, naturally or spiritually.” The key to understanding this word is that growth comes from a power outside the object. God’s building is a living entity that is ever growing. But it grows not because of its own special abilities, and certainly not because of the talents of any of the stones in it, but only because of God’s power.
This is a significant truth in our success-oriented day. Church ministry in the large percentage of the Church is built on human philosophy, business technique, and worldly methods. It is no longer doctrine that is important, rather entertainment. It is no longer Christ Who is building His Church (Matt. 16:18), rather the so-called “Christian leader” who has the latest pragmatic, people-pleasing approach. To be brutally frank, this has truly prostituted the Church; much of the Church has become a “spiritual harlot” that has sold herself for the sake of gain.
Third, this ongoing construction is producing a “spiritual house,” that is, a holy temple. The Greek here is not the general word for the Temple area as a whole (hieros), rather it is the word naos. Like the Greek behind “household” in verse 19, naos dates back to the Mycenaean period of Greek history (1600-1200 BC). In ancient Greek, it was used of the innermost sanctuary or cell of the pagan temple where the image of gold was placed. Likewise, it refers here to the “inner sanctuary,” the Holy of Holies. This is the word used in Matthew 27:51, for example—“Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent”—to show that Christ’s death had now given man access to the Holy of Holies.