GROWING UP TO THE FULL STATURE OF CHRIST

Ephesians 4:13 – Growing to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:13 describes precisely God’s intention for each believer. In every conceivable way, the Lord wants Christ to be revealed in us. The measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ is a statement that fills eternity.

Throughout the Scriptures, we find different ages revealed. Noah’s flood was the end of one age and the beginning of another. God’s call in Abraham’s life was the beginning of an age and a new thing God was about to do in the earth. Abraham was the beginning of a nation and became known as “the father of us all” (Romans 4:11-12). The age of faith began with faithful Abraham. From Abraham, God created an entire nation. The nation Israel was named after Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whom God renamed Israel, meaning “prince with God.” Israel came to full age with the emergence of the Christ, God’s promised Messiah. Unfortunately, that generation did not walk in the faith of Abraham. “Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:54).

God’s purpose in all the ages was to reveal His Son and to create a people in the image of Christ Jesus, the Lord. He purposed that all of Israel would come to know Him in faith and be recreated by the Holy Spirit as the sons and daughters of God. He intended through Israel’s recreation in the Spirit that the Gentiles too, would be recreated by the Spirit and be joined with all of Israel as God’s Covenant people in the earth. God’s intent in this age is for Christ to be revealed to the nations though His people born of the Spirit.   

A remnant of Jews believed and became the foundation of the “new creation”. Believing Gentiles were added and “one new man” in the Spirit is filling the earth. “Abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity” (Ephesians 2:15-17). God’s work was completed in Christ. He is the fullness of God. Now we are called to be formed into His likeness and grow up into His fullness, “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ”. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Receive His work into every area of your life today.

GROWING UP TO THE FULL STATURE OF CHRIST

Ephesians 4:13 – Growing to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:13 describes precisely God’s intention for each believer. In every conceivable way, the Lord wants Christ to be revealed in us. The measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ is a statement that fills eternity.

Throughout the Scriptures, we find different ages revealed. Noah’s flood was the end of one age and the beginning of another. God’s call in Abraham’s life was the beginning of an age and a new thing God was about to do in the earth. Abraham was the beginning of a nation and became known as “the father of us all” (Romans 4:11-12). The age of faith began with faithful Abraham. From Abraham, God created an entire nation. The nation Israel was named after Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whom God renamed Israel, meaning “prince with God.” Israel came to full age with the emergence of the Christ, God’s promised Messiah. Unfortunately, that generation did not walk in the faith of Abraham. “Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:54).

God’s purpose in all the ages was to reveal His Son and to create a people in the image of Christ Jesus, the Lord. He purposed that all of Israel would come to know Him in faith and be recreated by the Holy Spirit as the sons and daughters of God. He intended through Israel’s recreation in the Spirit that the Gentiles too, would be recreated by the Spirit and be joined with all of Israel as God’s Covenant people in the earth. God’s intent in this age is for Christ to be revealed to the nations though His people born of the Spirit.   

A remnant of Jews believed and became the foundation of the “new creation”. Believing Gentiles were added and “one new man” in the Spirit is filling the earth. “Abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity” (Ephesians 2:15-17). God’s work was completed in Christ. He is the fullness of God. Now we are called to be formed into His likeness and grow up into His fullness, “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ”. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Receive His work into every area of your life today.

ATTAINING TO A MATURE MAN

Ephesians 4: 13 – Until we all attain to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

As we continue to look deeper into these passages in Ephesians, we see that Paul is calling each believer to maturity in Christ. Christ Jesus is our model as a mature Son. The Lord did not save us simply to get us to heaven. Salvation is about a new man. It is about a man who is created in the image of God’s Son.  God’s intention was not that we would remain children, but to become mature people who are able to handle the Lord’s business well.

The five-fold ministry has been given assignments by the Lord to help in the development of God’s people. For example, the goal of an overseer is to develop those for whom he is responsible as mature individuals who are the image of Jesus in the earth. Jesus supplies the grace for these ministry offices to be able to accomplish their work. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, also supplies grace for each believer so that they can grow up in the Lord.

When Paul says, “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8), he laid the foundation for our entire Christian walk. Everything we do in Christ must come from grace through faith. We cannot do what God is requiring without a supply of grace. Many struggle in the Christian walk as they start out by grace and then try to go farther on their own. As we have seen in previous devotions, our “will” is involved, but the Holy Spirit supplies the grace. As He supplies grace, faith follows. Faith, beloved, is an operation of grace. Faith is not our effort, but His supply of grace.

Growing up in Christ is a continual process developed throughout our entire life. It is our salvation being worked out day by day. Each day we are to receive His grace and then exercise faith in obedience to His work in our lives. Doesn’t that take off a lot of pressure, knowing you do not have to go it alone? Whatever is lacking in your maturity in the Lord, begin to ask for grace to be supplied in that area. Your flesh may resist, the Devil may fight you, and circumstances my create obstacles, but if you press into the Holy Spirit, He will give you the grace to overcome. Faith will rise and you will be victorious in Christ.

Father, help me to fulfill Your plan to grow up into Christ. I claim the maturity You have destined for me. I am willing to accept the trials that will be used by You to cause Christ to be formed in every area of my being. I gladly receive Your grace to do Your will throughout my life.

THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD

Ephesians 4:13 – Until we attain the knowledge of the Son of God.

Knowing Jesus is not simply about an initial salvation experience. It is a matter of growing in relationship with Him until we are at one with His eternal purposes. The apostle Paul came as close as any in the knowledge of Christ. Paul said, “Whatever things were gain to me, I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Paul valued his relationship with Christ far above anything he knew in this life. Paul is the true example of dying and being buried with Christ. He is our example of what it means to live in Christ Jesus’ resurrection power day by day.

The desire of Paul’s heart was, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). To know the sufferings of Christ, one must first partake in the power of His resurrection life. By faith, we receive Christ Jesus the Lord. This is the gate through which we enter into His life. Through “faith” in Him we are accepted by the Father. This is not the end, but the beginning of knowing Him. The Holy Spirit begins to lead us into the “fellowship of His sufferings.” It is in the sufferings of Christ that we begin to truly experience the heart of God.

In Philippians 3:11, Paul speaks of purpose, “in order that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.” At first glance, it may seem like Paul is working to attain eternal life. We know by the study of Scriptures this is not the case. Paul is speaking about the “first resurrection” which every believer has entered through baptism. “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death. Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). Paul was committed to walking in the power of Christ’s resurrection. Walking in His resurrection life comes from knowing Him and the fellowship of His sufferings. Paul’s life modeled this truth.

Father, I ask You to help me attain to the resurrection of Christ daily. I was dead in my trespasses and sins, but I rejoice that I am alive forever more in Christ Jesus. I want to know You more. I ask You to prepare me in my daily walk so I can live in Your Son’s resurrection life.

ATTAINING THE UNITY OF THE FAITH

Ephesians 4:13 – Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.     

The five-fold ministry gifts were given to equip God’s people until the church “attains” the unity of the faith. Paul’s statement about attaining unity is as big a goal as one will find. It is hard to imagine the church in that kind of unity. Perhaps it is what we understand unity to be that is the problem. Unity is impossible in the natural. Biblical unity is the work of the Holy Spirit in the “hearts” of God’s people, not simply in their heads. Today, I have unity with many in the Lord’s church, not based on agreement about everything, but in agreement concerning God’s kingdom purposes.

One reason unity has been difficult to achieve is that, around the second century, church fathers shifted the focus from the “kingdom of God” to the Church. The body of Christ began to be taught that where the Bishop is, there is the church. The apostles taught that the church is the people of God and bishops were “overseers” who provided care for God’s people. The apostles further taught that the kingdom was in the Holy Spirit. He is the center of all that the Father and the Son are doing. This shift set the stage for “ecclesiastical structures” rather than the government of God that the apostles founded. The Reformation brought the church part of the way back to God’s original purpose, but not all the way back. Out of the Reformation came many divisions over doctrine and the government of the church.  

The twentieth century brought a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit reviving the Lord’s church. Unity has been on the increase as the Lord changes the hearts of His men and women. There is more unity today than since the first century. The real shift began to happen around the 80’s and 90’s as the church began to focus on the kingdom of God and not on denominations. Unity prayer was at the foundation of this revival in the Lord’s church. One of the first areas was united prayer for the nations and unreached people groups. Another important shift was united prayer in cities as pastors began to pray together to fulfill the “Great Commission.”  Marches for Jesus took place all over the world as God’s people celebrated the kingdom of God and His Glorious King!

Unity begins in our family, our local church congregation, and our cooperation with what the Lord is doing in our locality. Search your heart today and see if there is any division toward others in the body of Christ. If there is, repent and give it over to the Lord. Ask the Father for grace to live in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of peace with everyone. This does not mean compromise of your convictions. It does mean keeping our hearts right before God and others.