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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Built on The Cornerstone

"Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy foundation in the Lord".

(Ephesians 2:20-21 NKJV)

The letter to the Ephesians is one written during his imprisonment by the apostle Paul, who presents the role of the church as God's place, drawing on the world of construction and representing it as a building. Faced with the risk of buildings becoming increasingly centralized on the role of some human ministry, let Scripture be a lamp on our path. Not only that, through him, according to Ephesians, Jews and Gentiles find their rightful place. In fact, Christ's reconciling work brought Jews and Gentiles into the family of God, as children of one Father, "fellow citizens of the saints and members of the family of God." For this work, every believer at every latitude is placed on the walls of this construction. The Pauline text lends itself to a twofold interpretation. The first is the classical one of the cornerstone as the basis and foundation of the Church. The Orientals considered the cornerstone even more important than the foundation, which is why it was called the "foundation stone." In the building of God, the cornerstone, irreplaceable and stable foundation, remains Jesus Christ, upon whom the whole building, apostles and prophets included, well connected together, is being raised by the Spirit. Note one of the essential characteristics of the Church, namely, that it is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets," which they in turn build on the cornerstone. This does not mean a continuous succession of primacy and leadership as understood by the Roman Catholic Church, but that the Church is apostolic in that it is faithful to the apostolic teaching of the New Testament.

The second interpretation sees Christ, the cornerstone, as the keystone (or canton stone) of the new building. In this case, Christ is the one who unites the whole Church, built on Him, and is also its fulfillment: "head and finisher" (Hebrews 12:2). In this perspective, apostolic teaching remains the foundation, while Christ is the keystone, that is, the pinnacle of the Christian faith, the unique support of the Church without whom the spiritual edifice could not subsist. He is the first and the last (Revelation 1:17), the beginning and the end of all biblical preaching. This symbolism most often is misunderstood because of a recurring confusion between the "cornerstone" and the "stone" referred to in Matthew's text, "you are Peter, andon this rock I will build My church, andthe gates of Hades shall notprevail against it" (16:18). Peter cannot be confused with Christ himself, since it is the latter alone who is designated as the "cornerstone." Likewise, no one can take his place. Christ is the upholder of all things (Hebrews 1:3), even though he was the stone that the builders rejected, according to Psalm 118:22 and taken up in the Gospels. I hope we can take care that he is not rejected by our cults, by our devotion, which is increasingly eager for images and representations, the great risk of which is the drift of a golden calf. Let us remain in the apostolic awareness that "the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone" (Acts 4:11).

On this foundation rests the whole construction, the building "well connected together," according to Paul, and rising up to be a holy temple. Yet in the specifics, everyone would have to complain about how complex it is to keep believers "well together," without bumping into one another. The truth is that our relationships cannot invalidate the spiritual work that the Spirit is doing in secret. The same one that makes our sanctification possible, although talking about it is always hostile as believers are increasingly inclined to a light and unpressured faith. In Scripture over six hundred quotations speak in some way of holiness, sanctification and sanctification. Once saved, we are "built up" on Christ, placed to be part of the building. The Spirit works to connect us well to the other parts, transforming us into holiness and making Christ visible in our lives. This makes the holiness of the spiritual building recognizable. The Spirit is responsible for showing every believer that there can be no fellowship between darkness and light, between what is evil and what is good, generating in him the desire to turn away from sin in order to live in a way that pleases God. Scripture speaks of a sanctification that we have in Christ before God, which is imparted when we go to the cross of Christ and lives stained by sin are cleansed, condemned lives are forgiven. Then there is a sanctification for which we must strive. "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord ..." (Hebrews 12:14).


Weekly Bible Reading Plan #49

November 27, Ezekiel 30-32; 1 Peter 4

November 28, Ezekiel 33-34; 1 Peter 5

November 29, Ezekiel 35-36; 2 Peter 1

November 30, Ezekiel 37-39; 2Peter 2

December 01, Ezekiel 40-41; 2Peter 3

December 02, Ezekiel 42-44; 1 John 1

December 03 Ezekiel 45-46; 1 John 2

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