August 21, 2009

Unity and Maturity

Ephesians 4:11-13

[May] we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature…
Ephesians 4:13


Contributing our individual and communal gifts to the life of the church is an important part of Paul’s teach-ing to the Ephesians. But Paul is interested in more than telling us what we can and should do. The goal he has in mind is that we increase in unity, knowledge, and maturity. This is no small objective.

Unity is a big word and an even bigger concept. Unity here does not mean uniformity or sameness. Rather, Paul understands that the unity he encourages, and the unity we are to strive for, is “unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.”

We never can say that we have “arrived” when it comes to faith and knowledge. Growth in both is desirable and worthwhile. Yes, faith is a gift from God, a gift that comes to us through the Spirit who lives within us. But our faith can be nurtured through spiritual disciplines, including the development of our understanding of spiritual truth. We may even suggest that the Lord can use our increase in knowledge to strengthen our faith. Maturing Christians are those who thoughtfully reflect and study how to reach for greater depth in both faith and knowledge.

What does it mean to be mature in Christ? We don’t set our own standards. Instead, God sets the goal: “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Help us, Lord, to strive for greater unity and knowledge. By the presence of your Spirit, help us to grow toward knowing the “whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Amen.

About the author — Peter Borgdorff

Dr. Peter Borgdorff has been a pastor and administrator in the Christian Reformed Church for 40 years, most recently serving as executive director till his retirement in 2006. He and his wife, Janet, have five children and 14 grandchildren.

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