to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
(Ephesians 4:12-13 ESV)
Over the past few days we’ve been learning that Jesus gives a spiritual gift – an ability/talent – to everyone who believes in Him and is born-again. We use those gifts to serve other believers and, in so doing, we make the “body of Christ” (God’s family) bigger and stronger.
The result of this will be that we “attain” unity, knowledge, maturity, and stature. The Greek word translated “attain” means “to arrive at a destination”. It is used of travelers throughout Greek literature, including 9 times in the book of Acts. When we build up the body of Christ we get closer to God’s goal for us. That goal has four parts.
First, God wants us to be unified. Notice that unity comes from being part of God’s family. The world adamantly declares that unity is achieved apart from God. But this is not true. As our world jettisons Jesus at a rapid-fire pace, we see less unity around the globe. The only way to unity with others is by unity with Christ.
Second, God wants us to have a knowledge of the “Son of God”. The Greek word for “knowledge” here is επιγνοσισ (pronounced: ep-ig’-no-sis) which means “a precise, and exact understanding”. One reason people (even those within the church) are not unified is because their knowledge of Jesus is not deep enough. And, certainly those without any knowledge of Jesus cannot be unified amongst themselves or with believers. We are to know truth, not just think we know truth. Jesus is not only truth, He is “the” truth [John 14:6].
The third goal of building up the body of Christ is maturity. This is referring to an internal, mental maturity experienced by all members of God’s family. As we edify and serve each other we will become more wise in how we live.
The final goal is to attain the “stature of the fullness of Christ”. This is related to maturity, but is external. This is how others see us – our “stature” as a collective body. When we build up the body of Christ by being unified, by having deep knowledge of Jesus, and by being mature, others will notice. When they look at us they will see Jesus.
Christianity is not a spectator sport. God commands us to be involved. When we use our spiritual gifts to serve each other everyone benefits and Jesus is glorified.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.