A. Overview of the concept of building and edification in the Bible
B. Significance of Christ as Apostle and High Priest of the Church
II. Building up believers for the habitation of God
A. Role of believers in the building process (Hebrews 3:6, Galatians 2:20)
B. Manifestation of Christ within believers (2 Corinthians 4:6)
C. Glorification of believers as a reward for their participation (2 Corinthians 4:17)
III. The New Jerusalem and transformed living stones
A. The promise of a new and holy city (Revelation 21:2)
B. Believers as living stones being built into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5)
C. Transformation and glory of believers in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10-11)
IV. The role of Apostles and work of the ministry
A. Apostles and the revelation of Christ (Ephesians 3:3-5)
B. Ministry of the word and edification (Ephesians 4:11-12)
C. The importance of being willing to let go of old concepts (Philippians 3:7-8)
A. The eternal reward of believers’ participation in the building process (Hebrews 11:10)
B. The incorruptible value of the weight of glory within believers (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
C. Encouragement and confidence through the knowledge of Christ (Philippians 3:8-9)
Topics for Further Study:
- Building and Edification (Eph 4)
- Church and the New Jerusalem
- Christ as the Apostle and High Priest
- Glory and Reward (1 Cor 3:10-15; 1 Thess 5:19-20)
- Ministry of the Word (2 Cor 2-5)
- Casting down vain imaginations, old concepts and renewing of the mind (2 Cor 10:5;Rom 12:1-3)
Test Your Understanding:
- What is the biblical concept of building and edification?
- How does the Church become the habitation of God?
- What is the role of the ministry in building and edification?
- How are believers ultimately rewarded for their participation in the New Testament ministry?
- What is necessary for believers to be edified and built up.
This is a list of the idioms that Paul uses to describe the glory that is wrought into the believers through the edification of the New Testament ministry:
- Fragrance of Christ: The proclamation of the gospel is described as a fragrance of life to those who are saved and a fragrance of death to those who reject it. This knowledge of Christ is part of the glory of the New Testament ministry (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
- Letter Written by the Spirit: Believers are described as a letter from Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. This metaphor highlights the transformative work of the Spirit in the lives of believers, which is part of the glory of the New Testament ministry (2 Corinthians 3:3).
- Ministry of the Spirit: Paul contrasts the glory of the Old Covenant (the Law) with the surpassing glory of the New Testament ministry (the Spirit). The New Testament ministry is described as a ministry of the Spirit and a ministry of righteousness that exceeds in glory (2 Corinthians 3:7-11).
- Glory Reflected in a Mirror: Believers behold the glory of the Lord as in a mirror and are transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. This transformation is part of the New Testament ministry (2 Corinthians 3:18).
- Treasure in Earthen Vessels: The knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in Jesus Christ and shines in the hearts of believers. This knowledge of God’s glory is described as a treasure in earthen vessels, emphasizing the preciousness of the gospel message and the power of God working through human weakness (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).
- Eternal Weight of Glory: The future reward and glory that await believers in eternity are described as an eternal weight of glory. The afflictions and sufferings of this present life are temporary and light in comparison to the eternal glory that will be revealed (2 Corinthians 4:17).
- Building of God: The eternal dwelling place that awaits believers in heaven is referred to as the building of God and the house not made with hands. This heavenly dwelling is associated with the glory of the resurrection and the transformation of believers’ bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).
- Earnest of the Spirit: The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a guarantee of their future glory and eternal inheritance. The Spirit’s presence is a down payment on the glory that will be fully realized in the future (2 Corinthians 5:5).