In our last study, we learned about our connection to the “righteousness” of Jesus Christ. Every human being has sinned and fallen short of the glory (standard) of God. It is because of Christ’s righteousness that we have been “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Christ redeemed us by His blood to “demonstrate” His righteousness. God is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
In today’s study, we’ll look at the next spiritual basic of ‘knowing’ Christ — knowing His position and our relationship to His position.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11
The concept of “foundation” in the Bible goes back to God’s throne in Heaven.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.” Psalm 89:14
The Hebrew word translated “foundation” in this verse is מָכוֹן (makon) and means “a fixed or established place, dwelling place, settled place, habitation, foundation.” It comes from the word כּוּן (kun), which means “to be firm.”
The first clue in Scripture that Jesus Christ is God’s “foundation” for salvation is found in Luke 6 where Jesus spoke to a great crowd of people who had come to Him for healing.
“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49
Jesus claimed that whoever came to Him, heard His teachings and did them would be “like” a man building his house on a firm foundation.
The Greek word translated “foundation” in this verse is θεμέλιος (themelios) and means “belonging to a foundation, a foundation stone.” It comes from the word τίθημι (tithemi) which means “I set, fix, establish, place, lay, put down.”
Now, for the lesson God has for us. Paul expanded on the idea of Christ’s position in his Ephesian letter, which he wrote several years after he wrote to the Corinthians.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 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 temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22
We learn from the Apostle Paul that Jesus Christ is both our “foundation” and the “chief cornerstone.” The Greek word translated “chief cornerstone” is ἀκρογωνιαῖος (akrogoniaios) and comes from the combining of ἄκρον (akron) and γωνία (gonna). The words combine to mean “an extreme corner angle.” It carries the idea of an extremely large stone that holds together two walls. In the context of Ephesians 2, Paul taught that Jesus brought together Jew and Gentile into one body by His Blood and “made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation” (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus did that by abolishing “in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Ephesians 2:15-16).
This is consistent with other letters Paul wrote to churches in the 1st century AD.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:9-11
Paul wrote that Jews and Gentiles can become part of the same building, growing into “a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” because of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross
Back to 1 Corinthians 3 … Paul pointed the Corinthian Christians to the spiritual impact of how they served God on earth.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-13
God is doing a special work in His people and will reward them according to their response to His leadership in their lives. Jesus Christ is the great “cornerstone” of our relationship to God and how we build on Him is of vital importance to our God.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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