2. THE THREE-FOLD OBJECTIVE OF THE CHRISTIAN
“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,” verse 13. This is an enlargement of verse 12.
A. The work of the ministry continues until that fulness of faith and knowledge. Not until the glorification of the elect and the fulness of united faith will the ministry end. The restitution of all things and the final damnation of the wicked will end the ministry, Acts 3:21; Rev 21:5-8. When faith will give way to seeing and full knowledge, 1 Cor 13:12; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 John 3:2; Rev 22:4.
B. The precise unity referred to. We are being brought on to perfection by the Word of God. When God finished the creation of man, He was perfect. When the work of the gospel ministry is finished with us we shall be perfect, Jude 24; Eph 5:27. So Paul laboured, 2 Cor 11:2.
C. When this perfection will be reached. When the mystical body of Christ has reached full stature. The word fulness refers to a ship being ladened until full.
We have come to the final, section of the verses that we are presently studying. There are three-three-fold truths in these verses.
1. THE THREE-FOLD PURPOSE OF THE MINISTRY
To what end did the Saviour bestow these gifts upon the church? “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” verse 12. This further argues for the unity of God’s people in that this is the universal and timeless objective of Chris.
A. For the perfecting of the saints. The word is linked to mending, Matt 4:21. Christ by the ministry of the gospel is bringing back again out of the disorder and chaos of sin, His elect. As the Word of God brought order to the creation, Gen 1:2, 31, so God is bringing order out of confusion by His Word amongst His elect people. Shepherd rounding up his sheep.
B. For the work of the ministry. This work is carried on by the ministry of God’s Word. Conversion, growth, correction etc. 2 Tim 3:16-17. This is how the purpose of God is carried on.
C. For the edifying of the body of Christ. For the building up, promoting of the growth of the church, Matt 16:18. This is how that building work is carried on. 1 Cor 3:9. As a builder takes the scattered elements that lie around the building site and bonds them together into one building with form and beauty, so it is with the work of the ministry.
How important it is to attend the preaching of God’s Word! Under it you advance in grace and Christ-likeness.