11 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 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 4:11–13 (ESV)
How long will God choose to use those who equip the saints to do the work of ministry (vs. 12)? The Apostle Paul provides us with the answer in Ephesians 4:13.
Ephesians 4:13 begins with conjunction until (μέχρι; mechri) meaning to the point of conclusion or to the degree of completion. The equipping of the saints is to continue until something has been accomplished.
Until we all attain. By using the personal pronoun we Paul includes everyone within the church, including himself, in this task to be completed. In case anyone may question this all-inclusiveness, the apostle adds the adjective all. No one in the church is exempt from this process. Paul lists three things that are the biblical goals for those who equip the saints and for the saints who are the equipped.
First, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. The church is be united in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God: Jesus Christ.
Unity (ἑνότης; henotes) refers to a unanimity, or oneness, within the church. This unity is to solely be focused upon the faith.
Within this context, faith (πίστις; pistis) focuses upon the doctrine of revealed truth that comprises biblical teaching. It is this God-given doctrine of which believers are to trust in, commit to, depend upon and of which we are to worship God. This is particularly true as it relates to the complete content of the biblical gospel. One pastor comments that, “Oneness and harmony among believers is possible only when it is built on the foundation of sound doctrine.”
Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις; epignosis) means a full and definite understanding of not only what God has revealed in His Word, but also of what Christians are to trust, commit, depend and of which they are to honor the Lord.
Paul says this understanding is to be primarily focused upon the Son of God: Jesus Christ. This would include Jesus Christ’s eternality (John 1:1-2), His incarnation (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Matthews 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-21; John 1:3-14; Hebrews 2:14-18), His sinless life (John 8:464; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:14-16), His substitutionary death on the cross (Romans 3:21-26; Romans 5:89-10; I Peter 2:22-25; I John 4:7-11), His resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24; John 20; Acts 2:1-36; I Corinthians 15), and His ascension to the right hand of God the Father (Acts 1:1-11).
Are you committed to understanding and having faith in these essentials truths of the Gospel? If so, you evidence that you are pursuing the goal of unity within the church.
Soli deo Gloria!