The Household of God
Ephesians 2:19 says, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” That is to say, Gentile believers are now included as full members in the household of God. That’s amazing!
The next verses name this divine household as the “dwelling place of God” and “a holy temple in the Lord.” Quite lofty descriptions! If God describing us as members of His house doesn’t give us a sense of awe at God’s mercy and kindness, we’re reading it wrong. When you read a comforting Gospel statement like Ephesians 2:19, read it with a humble heart that is aware of your sin and aware of the unmerited favor you have with God on account of Jesus Christ.
God is calling the Church His dwelling place and temple, and you dear Christian, are a part of it! Wow!
Note that believers are named as members of “the household of God” in Ephesians 2:19 and ones who are growing into “a holy temple in the Lord” in verse 21. The word “house” is used interchangeably with “temple” in the Old Testament, too. For example, when David says, “For zeal for your house has consumed me” in Psalm 69:9, he’s referring to the temple.
Additionally, the word “house” is used to refer to a nation or people in the Old Testament. For example, when Moses is speaking to Aaron in Leviticus 10:6 he says, “your brothers, the whole house of Israel.” The use of “house” to refer both to the temple and a group of people is massively significant for understanding the prophecy about God’s house in 2 Samuel 7:1-16.
In 2 Samuel 7:2, David expresses his desire to build a house for the Lord (the temple) to replace the tent that was being used since the exodus from Egypt. But in 7:11 the Lord generously turns it around and tells David through the prophet Nathan, “Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.”
When the Lord speaks to David in 2 Samuel 7:5-16, He’s using a play on words. God’s promise is twofold: that David’s offspring will build God’s house and that God Himself will build David a house. The former is the promise that Solomon will build the temple, and the latter is a promise that the eternal Son of David, Jesus Christ, will build the people of God—you!
How do we know that Solomon isn’t the ultimate fulfillment of this promise? Solomon brought about a partial fulfillment in 1 Kings 6–7 with the building of a physical temple, but Solomon’s temple didn’t last forever like God’s promised temple in 2 Samuel 7:13 would. The temple that Jesus built lasts forever. 2 Samuel 7:14 is quoted in Hebrews 1:5, “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son,” In that passage the writer of Hebrews applies that promise directly to Christ. There can be no doubt that the offspring of David ultimately refers to Jesus.
This is why 2 Samuel 7 and Ephesians 2 are highly significant for us. Ephesians 2:21–22 is the fulfillment of the everlasting house that God promised. “In [Jesus Christ] the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Christ built a people who are a temple—the Church.
You who were once dead in your trespasses and sins are now by the grace of God in Christ Jesus forgiven and full members of God’s house! God graciously dwells with us forever! How awesome is it that we get to be a part of the temple that is being built!?