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.
Second, the church is to be united in the faith and knowledge of the Son of god, Jesus Christ, in order to attain maturity, or mature manhood.
Mature (τέλειος; teleios) means to be genuine and truthful. In other words, the believer in Christ is called to maturity and not hypocrisy. The believer is to be genuine in their walk of faith and not a private, or public, pretender.
Manhood (ἀνήρ; aner) is another way of saying personhood. This refers to every person in Christ. It matters not if you are young or old, rich or poor, a man or a woman, an adult or a child. God expects and demands biblical and spiritual maturity of His children. This is the ongoing goal in sanctification.
Puritan Matthew Henry writes concerning the phrase mature manhood that it is “our full growth of gifts and graces, free from those childish infirmities that we are subject to in the present world.”
Take time today to ask God in what areas of your life in Christ that you need to mature. Ask a good friend who you trust to give you an honest answer. You may not like what you hear, but often we do not like what we need.
Soli deo Gloria!