In the Old Testament there were successive structures, the tabernacle and the temple that were built as the habitation of God. Solomon was aware that God was so great that ‘the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded’, 1 Kgs. 8. 27. But God in mercy would dwell with His people and thus His earthly people could draw near to Him by sacrifice and the mediatorial work of the high priest.
Since these earthly structures were to represent heavenly realities, Heb. 8. 5, they must conform precisely to what was shown to Moses on the mount or given to David many years later in Jerusalem, 1 Chr. 28.19. These structures were to be the habitation of God who is holy and most glorious.
The cross changed all that. Now the habitation of God is in the midst of His church comprised of ‘one new man’. Now God dwells in the midst of His people gathered together unto Him, Matt. 18. 20. As local churches, we are to be sure that proper materials are used, and one day we will be displayed as a glorious habitation of God that the entire world might see His glory.
But how are we to be sure this building is built properly? We need a foundation that has to be, in construction terms, square and plumb. The apostles and prophets are that foundation. This directs us back to the New Testament truths revealed to them concerning the church, the habitation of God. These truths did not originate with them but with God Himself. Therefore, these truths are square and plumb with the person of Jesus Christ - the Chief Corner Stone.
Far from being a mere decorative stone, as we are acquainted with today, He becomes the stone from which all measurements are taken. All in the church must be aligned with Him. The apostles drew from Him and thus we have a sure foundation upon which the church is built.
We also need to build with the materials that pass the test of fire bringing glory to Him and Him alone. One day this glorious habitation will be displayed for the entire world to see and will bring honour and glory to Him who is its Chief Corner Stone.