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.
Third, the church is to be united in faith and knowledge of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, in order to attain maturity, or mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. What exactly does this final statement mean?
To the measure (μέτρον; metron) specifically refers to a unit of measurement, such as length or volume. It is attached to the corresponding word stature (ἡλικία; helikia) which can refer to the height of a person, their age, or life-span. In this context, it is best to understand it focused upon the idea of maturity.
Paul continues by saying that this measurement of maturity is singularly focused upon the person of Jesus Christ. Fullness (πλήρωμα; pleroma) means a total quantity or completeness.
Pastors who equip their congregation are to do so until they have such a complete faith and knowledge of the Son of God, and achieve a mature personhood, that they can be described as possessing and displaying a complete Christ likeness. A pastor’s work is never done when people in church fall so far short of this goal.
Take the opportunity to personally thank your pastor for all the work which he does each and every week. He will be blessed by your encouragement.
Soli deo Gloria!