Vs. 13 "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,"
The aim and ambition of every true church is to arrive at the
"the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Any less of
an ambition is shameful.
In Vs. 13 the stationary goal is set, and the verb "come" means
to arrive. Again I want to point out, that reaching the goal which
is set before us is a collective project, Paul. Says, "Till we all
come," or arrive at the goal mark. So it is, not one Member is
exempt from sharing in the responsibility of the church we are
members in particular (1st Cor. 12:27), each having the
office or work assigned them by the Holy Spirit, and each member Of
the body contributing to the over all efficiency of the body.
"Till," is a conjunction, and looks back to the offices mention in vs. 11, and to their purpose in vs. 12, which purpose is for "the edifying of the body of Christ." Paul tells us in Vs. 13 how long the offices with perpetual significance shall last, "till we all come in the unity of the faith…"
In chapter two, verse twenty one (Eph. 2:21), Paul speaks of the Church as building "fitly framed together." In verse sixteen of Chapter four (Eph. 4:16) Paul speaks of the church as a "body fitly joined together..." Your home is a building, and the idea home is one where every room is effectively utilized, I am sure you would not consider a home complete without a kitchen, a bedroom or a bathroom. While the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathroom are the most Prominent, and could without other rooms be made into a home, yet I do not think any would say that a living room and a dining room would not enhance the effectiveness and harmony of the home. Even closet rooms contribute much to the value and appreciation of the home. The most prominent offices in a church are, pastor, deacon, and teacher, and it could be a church with only these three members, but it would be somewhat awkward, they would have to take care of records, finance, building maintaince, grounds, singing, preaching, teaching, etc. So as to alleviate this awkwardness the Lord was pleased to add "helps" to His churches 1st Cor, 12:28. Each member which the Lord adds to His church is a positive help the church which He is added.
A human body with its arms and legs amputated is yet considered a body, and can in some measure function. But none would be so crass as to deny the obvious awkwardness of such a body. So, what Paul has in mind when he says, "Till we all come," i.e. "arrive" is accomplishment by a whole and complete body.
The other clauses in Vs. 13 are in great degree self explanatory "unity of the faith," is reference to the "one faith" of verse five this faith owns Jesus to be the alpha and omega of redemption, the salvation of the soul is the exclusive work of Christ Jesus. "Knowledge of the Son of God", this calls for a search of knowledge which is directed toward the Lord Jesus Christ, and the verb "come used in connection with this knowledge speaks of progressive attainment. The Greek term used for "knowledge" in this text is one which denotes definite knowledge, as opposed to abstract or inconclusive knowledge.
"Unto a perfect man," is explained by the following words, "unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Members of the church are to strive to be as much like Christ as is possible. Absolute conformity to Christ is the only thing that will satisfy the Holiness of God, and the further we conform to that ultimate standard (Christ) the more pleasing we are unto God, Paul, speaking of Himself in this connection says, Phil. 3:12-14 "not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one that I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
One day the goal will be reached, the virgin bride will face her Lord blemishless and spotless.
Vs. 14 "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.
While the church cannot attain her goal in the absolute sense prior to the rapture, the church can make great progress toward the prescribed end. What this relative success results in is emphasized for us in Vs. 14. Growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ brings many precious benefits, and chief among these benefits is doctrinal stability. It is this benefit which Paul singles out and highlights, yet many in our times claiming to be Baptist hate the word "doctrine", they are, to say the least, inconsistent with their assumed designation. There can be no spiritual maturity apart from the study of bible doctrine. Paul classes those who are doctrinally Unstable, "children."
"Tossed to and fro," brings to our imaginations view a ship upon a tempestuous sea, tossed to and fro, and in momentary danger of capsizing. The ship is helplessly subject to the merciless storm, and the unrelenting waves sweeping over the bow makes all effort to keep the rigging intact futile. And so it is with those claiming to be Christians who have not fortified themselves against the raging, violent, and shifting Currents of false doctrine. How can such an unstable Christian "give an answer to every man that asketh" him a reason of the hope he has in Christ? (1st Pet. 3:15), I have had Pentecostals tell me that they were earlier in their life, Baptists. I doubt if they were ever Baptists. In the New Testament sense, but it goes to show what can result from doctrinal instability.
"By the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie
in wait to deceive." The Christians which are unsettled in the
doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles are easy prey for
the religious charlatans abroad in the land.
1st Pet. 5:8 "be sober, be vigilant; because your
adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom
he may devour." The Devil walks about in the persons of false
teachers and prophets and they find their prey in doctrinally
Vs. 15 "but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."
"Speaking the truth in love," those who have been blessed with advancement in grace and truth are commanded to proclaim that truth, and they are ever to have love for the souls of their hearers. This love will be generated by the Holy Spirit, and will not parade in a cloak of sickly sentimentality. It is the kind of love that will "...reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2nd Tim. 4:2). It is not only a love that speaks, but it is a love which speaks uncompromisingly.
"May grow up into Him in all things," the church is to teach "all things whatsoever" her Lord has commanded Matt. 28:20. And these things are necessary to spiritual growth, and proper spiritual growth enables one to "quench all the fiery darts of wicked." (Eph. 6:16).
"Which is the head, even Christ," three times in the Ephesians Epistle Paul speaks of Christ as the head of the church 1:22, 4:15, and 5:23. I wonder if this emphasis by the Spirit on the headship of Christ is not to counter the effort Satan to set up his puppet as the head of the church. While the world of so-called Christendom will gladly receive the devil’s counterfeit head, the true churches of Christ, have never, and will never acknowledge any head, save Christ.
It is from the head that the body gets all of its direction, He dictates to the body, and the body without variance submits with all of its strength. Thus it is, that Paul says, "The church is subject unto Christ" Eph. 5:24.
In proportion to the measure of the subjection of the church to
Christ, is the power of the church. So let us strive to strengthen
the cords which bind us to our gracious head, and thereby we shall
grow up into him in all things.