Paul redeploys the Invisible Church in his glorious world mission
Ephesians 4: 12-16
Dr. G. Ernesto Johnson
Rio Grande Bible Seminar
The Epistle of Ephesians opens up new horizons for us to see the sublime greatness of grace to God. The key phrase of the Trinitarian doxology sounds and resounds "to the praise of the glory of his grace" (Ephesians 1: 6, 12, 14).
The Great Design a brief look back
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world so that we would be holy and without blemish before him" (Ephesians 1: 3,4). That sovereign work of grace for our first parents began in creation with the "seed of the woman" (Genesis 3:15), with Abel and the great saints of the Old Testament. It encompasses the Abráhamico Covenant and the promise of the Messiah, the election of Israel under Moses, the Davidic Covenant, the New Covenant of Jeremiah, the incarnation, the Cross and the resurrection and ascension and finally the peak of Pentecost and the inauguration of the Church , the body of Christ.
In the inauguration of the Church, God gives us the final high of his grace to "create in himself of the two (Jews and Gentiles) a single and new man, making peace, and through the cross reconcile with God both in a only body, killing enmity in it "(Ephesians 2: 15,16).
Of course, there was a variety of differences on God's part in his historical dealings with his people at different times, but always in unmerited grace he saved them on the basis of spilled blood and faith; to such God he declared them righteous in his Beloved Son in a true justification, in a personal salvation. "(Abraham) believed it, and that he counted for righteousness" (Genesis 15; 6; Romans 4: 3).
That vast biblical picture already taken into account unites the two Testaments in a single great concept; it transforms the historical division of the two Testaments that often rob us of the unitary perspective of God's love for the whole world. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. Because God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved by him. "
The Focus of the Church, the Body of Christ Leadership under the empowerment of the Spirit
Returning to the theme of the Church, the Body of Christ, God himself constituted the four levels of leadership to facilitate the effective work of the saints all. His purpose was to involve all the saints in the Church, not limiting themselves to a "caste" of human authorities and offices.
"And he himself constituted some, apostles; to others, prophets; to others, evangelists; to others, pastors and teachers, in order to perfect the saints
1) for the work of the ministry,
2) for the edification of the body of Christ, (vv.11, 12).
3) until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ "(vv.11-14).
Take note of the greatness of this Great Design. It makes us return to prayer: "So that Christ lives by faith in your hearts, so that, rooted and grounded in love, you are fully capable of understanding with all the saints what is the width, the length and the depth and height, and know the love of Christ, which exceeds all knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God "(Ephesians 3: 17-19).
The focus of Paul in Ephesians falls first on the Invisible / Mystical Church that currently consists of all those called by God himself in grace, forming part of the spiritual body of the Body of Christ. The second application corresponds to the circunscrito church, an extension of the Invisible Church on earth. The circunscrito church must reflect the Invisible with certain limitations given by the human element of those who profess and those who possess true salvation. Look at the parables of the wheat (those who have) and the tares (those who only profess) (Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43).
The spiritual work of the circunscrito church is the work of all the members, not of a select group. Christ himself spoke of the distribution of the mines according to their wise distribution: have mines, five and one. (Luke 19: 11-27) It is not discrimination but the wisdom that God gives to every believer his precise gift which is indispensable for his glory and the spiritual good of the church. Every believer is valuable and participates in this great work. God measures this grace to each one.
Paul anticipates the maturity of the fullness of Christ Ephesians 4: 13
Three times in this chapter four, Paul uses the word "measure" indicating that according to the infinite wisdom of God, he gives each believer this "grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (v.7). Then he says: "Until we all arrive. . . to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ "(v.13). For the third time in the llamativo (not in the Spanish text)
(v.16). "From whom the whole body, well concerted and united among themselves by all the joints that help each other, according to each member's own (custom-made) activity, receives its growth to be built up in love."
Each saint must fit where God makes him alert, cheerful and committed knowing that he contributes that grace given for the health of the Invisible Church and the circunscrito church. Here comes the quality of walking which will be the main theme to be presented in the other chapters.
This future development of the Great Design will not be completed until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge ("epignosis") of the Son of God. Take note that this word refers exclusively to a deep personal experience with Christ. The preposition added to the verb "to know" emphasizes an active force until reaching a genuine and intimate union with the Son of God. God desires that our relationship with Christ be profound, not that of intellect or doctrine no more, but a surrender of spirit, soul and body according to the doxology of 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
Paul rarely uses this title of "Son of God." It only appears in key passages, such as Galatians 2:20 and Romans 1: 4. Nothing less can be understood than a growing union until the perfect or mature male to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. It will be fulfilled in "the inheritance of the acquired possession, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:14).
In the meantime we are coming to such fullness in the Head, the Holy Spirit faithfully works in the believer, if he leaves he does his work; the focus is the process towards maturity. But what is the obstacle? In short, the old life, the flesh judged merienda on the Cross (Romans 6: 6). The anonymous writer of Hebrews confronts his wavering readers: "Because you must already be teachers, after so much time, you need to be taught again what are the first rudiments of the words of God; and you have become such that you need milk, and not solid food. Everyone who partakes of milk is inexperienced in the word of justice, because he is a child; but solid food is for those who have reached maturity; so that those who by their use have their senses exercised in the discernment of good and evil "(Hebrews 5: 11: 12-14).
Once again Pablo returns to his favorite subject because he sees in it the way to stop being children but men characterized by maturity, spiritual strength. The open secret is that we let the Spirit return us to the Cross and by faith take our position that God gave us in his full grace. Through that spiritual connection to the Head he will minister to us, letting the resurrected life of Christ flow in us. As the head of a human being controls and maintains the whole body in healing and perfect harmony, so will health be "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (v.13).
The believer walks in this hostile environment Ephesians 4:14
The believer leads the victorious and mature life of Christ in the midst of the bombardment of his flesh, the world and Satan. Paul does not turn a blind eye to the spiritual struggle in which we were born again. After giving us the way of walking together with the Head in Ephesians 4 and 5, it will end in Ephesians 6: 10-20 with the spiritual struggle in which we are victorious every day. "Before, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37). Despite the hostile environment, Paul does not give any space to the enemy.
Already in the process of being united to the Head, he assures us of the wide provision in Christ "so that we are no longer fluctuating children, carried everywhere by every wind of doctrine, by the stratagem of men who, to deceive, employ with cunning the tricks of error"
The verbs Pablo uses are very graphic. No child is asked for advice for the simple reason that he has no maturity or judgment; He may possess a certain innocence, but he has not led a life. Rather, he lacks constancy; He gets carried away by the feelings of the moment. Paul compares us to the child "so that we are not fluctuating children carried everywhere by every wind of doctrine. . . . "This verb appears in the narrative in Luke when Jesus and his disciples passed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. "But while they were sailing, he fell asleep. A windstorm broke out in the lake; and they were flooded and in danger. . . They woke him up, saying: Master, Master, we perish! Waking up, he rebuked the wind and the waves; and they ceased, and a bonanza was made "(Luke 8:24).
He goes on to describe the hostile environment in which we live by comparing the cunning of false teachers using all of Satan's machinations. Thus Paul compares cheaters and uses every form of skill by playing with darts to deceive the simple. To warn readers on another occasion he describes them "Because they are false apostles, fraudulent workers, who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. And it is not wonder, because Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of justice; whose end is according to their works "(2 Corinthians 11: 13-15).
Maturity brings discernment to detect the error of truth. In Corinth the problem of not forgiving the repentant would have given Satan an advantage. "So that Satan does not gain any advantage over us; for we do not ignore his machinations "(2 Corinthians 2:11). We must constantly remind ourselves that Satan and his followers are like the great serpent that rose up against God in heaven. They are masters of lies and duplicity.
The Remedy – life transformed into full union with the Head Ephesians 4: 15,16
In the middle of this world penetrated by error and the god of the air, there is an effective and divine remedy. After having painted the demonic environment, Pablo turns 180 degrees and says "but following the truth in love": What an encouraging turn! With three key words: following, truth, love, Paul leads us in victory at all times. Either the truth or the lie! "God is light, and there is no darkness in him" (1 John 1: 5). Jesus says: "(Satan) because he is a empaquetar, and a father of lies" (John 8:44).
In some versions it is translated: "speaking the truth" in love but the verb includes much more than talking, "following or modeling (everything)" always in love. In its essence, the word in the original means: the real the genuine, not falsified, or faked. The believer is stuck to the truth, one of the attributes of God that governs all his actions. Jesus clarifies Nicodemus or John to us "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be manifest that his deeds are done in God" (John 3:21)
Paul uses the gerund that means present and continuous action. It will become the style of our life in Christ. Christ himself said: I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me "(John 14.6) and before he said:" The Spirit is the one who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life "(John 6: 3). Christ, the Head of the Church, becomes our source of life, the resurrected life,
The third word in love is the axis of everything. God is love, a love that always seeks the spiritual well-being of the other, agape love, sacrificial love. We are careful not to define love as the world defines it. It is not sentimental, sensual, selfish. It can be hard love in the sense that evaluates the true need and treated it on the Cross. It was his agape love that judged us on the Cross, "With Christ I am crucified (co-crucified) together, and no longer I, but Christ lives in me; and what I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me "(Galatians 2:20).
Paul gives a wonderful summary in directing our attention to the source of our new life. As organic members of his Body, Christ acts as the head with respect to the physical body. The blood is always sent from the head. Nutrition, guidance and protection for members. The head evaluates each member, be it large, small, important and visible or even of little visible value, treat it with equal care and tenderness. Thus Christ supplies all that we lack. "From whom the whole body, well-concerted, united among themselves by all the joints help each other, according to the activity proper to each member, receives its growth to be built up in love" (v.16).
This important section ends with the harmony and the perfect coordination of the members, drawing from the Head, Christ, their own resurrected life. Once again we see the centrality of the Cross where he loved us for judging the "I" and making the holy resident dwell, Christ in his full glory.
Author: Gordon Johnson
is recognized in Latin America as a lecturer. He has served as a professor at the Rio Grande Bible Seminary, Texas since 1954, being president of the institution for many years as well. He has several degrees among which he received a Masters in Latin American Studies and a PhD in Missiology.
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