…Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple to the Lord.
Always there is only one cornerstone. That cornerstone for the church is Jesus. He gives security, stability and alignment to this building of the church. There is no true growth or unity if anything or anyone replaces Him as the cornerstone.
Paul, as does Peter (I Peter 2:5) uses the idea of stones being fitted together. The New Testament assumes every Christian is a part of a local church. It knows nothing of “lone-ranger” Christianity… nor of the I’m part of the universal church mentality. We are to live out our union with Christ visibly. A part of this is being identified with a group of specific believers personally. We must resist our tendency toward Western individualism. One pastor even warns Christians to beware of being a ninja Christian, just slipping into a church and leaving not a trace. He went on to exhort believers to truly be a family member.
Stones in a temple, members of a family, citizens of a kingdom or members of a body–there is great flexibility how one works this out in any local church, but one thing is very clear, and that is the emphasis of belonging and traveling actively with a group of believers. One can’t read these passages not noticing God’s intent for such. It is a tremendous gift of God to give us this family of faith–an integral part of His plan for our lives.
In the church we are to:
- Stir up one another’s faith and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Love one another (John 13:34-35)
- Help to carry another’s burden (Galatians 6:2)
- Give and receive encouragement (I Thessalonians 5:11)
- Be taught and admonished (Colossians 3:16)
- Give financially to further the gospel (II Corinthians 11:8-9)
- And share in communion (I Corinthians 11:26).
All of these come because of the cross of Christ. He has bought us and brought us near. He has made us one!