Eph 4:13-16 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
In the verses prior to verse thirteen, we have been reading about the gifts that Jesus gave to the church. These gifts were given for the perfection (complete furnishing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the church. In verse thirteen, we are told something about the duration of these gifts.
I believe we have a perpetual promise of these gifts to every generation. These gifts will not fail the church “till” (up to the point) that we all attain (come to) the oneness (unity) of reliance upon Christ for salvation (faith). Truly, we who are set apart by God (saints) to do the work of ministry (service) to edify the church must have and use these gifts that Jesus has given. In every generation, those who have loved and served God in spirit and truth have been brought to this full reliance on Jesus. If we are to give Him the glory He is due, there is no room for reliance on anyone else.
These gifts bring us to the knowledge of the Son of God. It is important to give weight to this word knowledge, or acknowledgment. These gifts do not bring us to Christ; only the Father can bring us to the Son. The gifts that Christ gives enable us to recognize that He alone is our Savior, and we are His only by the grace of God. As long as there is any reliance on self, we are not perfect (complete) in our faith.
Only when we have come to complete faith in the saving power of Christ alone do we reach a degree (measure) of maturity (stature) in the fulness of Christ. As we mature in Christ, we understand that His gifts are not given in order that we can become (or cause others to become) children of God. His gifts are given to establish our understanding in grace. As we mature (be no more children) we become steadfast in our love and devotion to Him. In our dedication to give Him all the glory, we become less and less disturbed by the doctrines of men and better able to discern the truth of Jesus Christ.
Rather than being pulled in first one direction and then another by the fraudulent doctrines that honor men, we are able to declare the truth of Jesus Christ as the only begotten of the Father and the only Savior of His people. Furthermore, we are able to do this in love. Paul recognized that not everyone that preached Christ did so in love (Php 1:15-18). While he was content that Christ be preached regardless of the motivation, it speaks to our maturity in Christ when we speak the truth in love rather than a position of strife or insincerity.
We grow in grace when we speak the truth in love. In this, we grow up into Him in everything! What a blessed estate is ours to find our thoughts turning to Jesus first in everything in our lives. How wonderful to realize that we are growing up into our Head, even our Lord, Jesus Christ. As we grow up into our Head, we realize that everything the body needs comes from Him.
From our Head, the whole body is fitly joined together. We are made whole by that which we receive from Him. The body is compact; there is no wasted space or joint out of place. Everything we receive from Him is effective; it performs exactly what He intends and how He intends it. According to the portion He bestows in every part, the body is increased. As we receive from our Head everything that is needed in every part, the body grows to its own edification.
While we would all like to see more people coming to church, we do not want to fall into the trap of thinking that growth and multiplication are the same thing. The church is to grow in grace and knowledge of the Truth. We are to mature in our understanding and our ability in Christ. We are to grow to the point that we are no longer buffeted by the many challenges that we will face concerning our faith in Jesus Christ. We are edified (confirmed) in this increase in love. Every gift that comes to us from our Head comes in love to perpetuate love. When we are able, through the gifts of Christ, to edify ourselves in love, I believe that then we will see more people coming to church.
May we give Him glory for His gifts that establish us in our faith, anchor us in our hope, and cause us to speak the truth in love!