“…we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature [person] man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:13-16
In the last issue, I discussed the three types of gifts that God has given us and that in the passage they are people who are gifts given to us. These people are anointed leaders by God who are to help us grow up into Christ and bond to one-another. They are also people who are to help us become one in the faith, which is a prerequisite to being mature. Here are some key words in today’s passage:
Unity of the faith
Knowledge (gnosis) of the son of God
The fullness of Christ
The apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers of today are charged by the Holy Spirit with those six goals to instill in the flock of Christ. In addition, we are equally charged to receive the instruction and guidance toward those goals. Paul goes on to tell us the result of our growth.
First that we will not be in danger of false teaching and vain, empty philosophies. Paul uses the word “tossed about” or “to-and-fro” in the passage to give us a picture of someone who is unstable. The person who obtains the characteristics listed above will not be subject to every little “new” influence and fad that comes along, but will be stable in the faith, because he or she is subject to the leadership of the gifts of God, and also united with others in the body who are also stable.
The second aspect Paul gives us in the passage is the esthetic result of our relationship in Christ as “growers”. When we are united in growth and every person is counted and important; contributing to the whole community, we will experience edification. That edification, guided by the Holy Spirit will produce a lasting love (Agape), the foundation of our Faith. This love will insure a comprehensive kind of growth, one that leads to the “fullness of Christ”. We will grow up in “all aspects of Him” when all the members of Him are counted, united, and loved.