A Sure Foundation

Ephesians 2:19-20, “… the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”

The most important part of any house or building is the foundation. In fact, a weak or cracked foundation is one of only a few ‘deal breakers’ when it comes to buying a new home. Thus, a solid and sure foundation is critical to whatever structure is built upon it. The same truth applies when we consider the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who or what is the foundation of the church? How solid and sure is the foundation of the church? In Ephesians 2:20, Paul gives the classic statement as to the foundation of the church: “[the church] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” There are several things to note regarding this passage.

First, the context of Paul’s statement is significant. In Eph 2:11-22 Paul is discussing the expansion of the gospel to the Gentiles – the breaking down of the “dividing wall of hostility” (2:14). Because of the finished work of Christ, both Jews and Gentiles now “have access in one Spirit to the Father.” In other words, as Paul discusses the foundation of the church, he has in view the totality of God’s redemptive plan – he is looking at the people of God from a bird’s eye view, we might say.

Second, Paul asserts that “Christ Jesus is the cornerstone.” He is the foundation stone – he is the foundation rock. That is, he is the ultimate rock from which the rest of the foundation is placed and measured. The Old Testament prophesies the coming (and subsequent rejection) of this foundation stone (e.g. Ps 118:22; Is 28:16), and the New Testament clearly applies these passages to Christ (1 Pet 2:6-8). Christ was the rejected stone that has become the cornerstone for his spiritual house – His church (cf. 1 Cor 3:11)!

Third, with Christ as the cornerstone – the governing or directing stone – what is the foundation of the church? Paul states in 2:20, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” The apostles – the men chosen by Christ to be his representative agents and mouthpieces on earth (John 14:26; 16:12-15) – and the prophets, constitute the finished and completed foundation of God’s house, His church.

What does all this mean? What does it mean for us today as a church? There are two brief implications that we should note. First, the foundation of the church has been laid … never to be laid again. In other words, the foundation of Christ and his apostles is a completed reality (Heb 1:1-2). Christ has completed his work and the apostles have completed their revelation to that work. There is no more ‘foundation’ to be laid. And what does this entail? Simply put, that our Bibles are complete – the canon is closed. God has spoken his final and sufficient word to his church in his Son.

And second, this foundation can never waver nor weaken. Whatever storms we may face – our foundation is secure. Our foundation will never crack. It will always hold. God’s word is truth – it is sufficient – and it is unwavering. His church is built upon it; and may we build our lives upon it as well (Matt 7:7:25).