Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Ephesians 4:13 says, “Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” This verse is the direct continuation of verses 11 and 12, which say that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers have been given for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministry. We have pointed out that the gifted ones in verse 11 perfect the saints to do the same things that they themselves do. We all can be sent out and we all can speak for the Lord as prophets, preach the gospel as evangelists, and shepherd others and teach them as shepherds and teachers. If we love the Lord, we shall speak for Him as His witnesses. Furthermore, we need to preach the gospel, whether in season or out of season. This is not only the task of the leading evangelists, but of all the saints. Furthermore, we daily need to shepherd others and to teach them. The leading ones set the pattern for these functions, and we follow their example. Hence, all the saints can do the work of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers.
The saints need to be perfected unto the work of ministry. In the New Testament there is a unique ministry: the dispensing of Christ into others for the building up of the Body. In order to carry on the work of ministry, the saints need to be perfected.
The building up of the Body of Christ is not accomplished directly by the leading ones. The direct work of building is carried out by the saints who have been perfected. How different this is from the situation in today’s Christianity! The proper way is for the leading ones to set up a pattern and then train the saints to do what they do. After the saints have been perfected, the leading ones should step aside and allow the saints to do the direct work of building. Every leading one must learn when and how to step aside. Firstly, the leading ones must learn how to perfect others. After this work of perfecting has been accomplished, the leading ones must leave the direct work of building in the hands of all the members of the Body.
In verse 13 Paul did not say, “until you all arrive”; he said, “until we all arrive.” This indicates that Paul included himself with all the saints. It is not good for a few to arrive at the destination and to leave so many others behind. On the contrary, we all should arrive together. Arriving at the three things spoken of in verse 13 is not a matter of a race; it is a matter of all arriving at the destination at the same time.
The Greek word rendered arrive in verse 13 may also be rendered attain to. This indicates that a process is required for us to attain to or arrive at the practical oneness.
The oneness of the Spirit in verse 3 is the oneness of the divine life in reality, whereas the oneness in verse 13 is the oneness of our living in practicality. We already have the oneness of the divine life in reality. We only need to keep it. But we need to go on until we arrive at the oneness of our living in practicality. This aspect of oneness is of two things: the faith and the full knowledge of the Son of God. The faith does not refer to the act of our believing, but refers to what we believe in, such as the divine Person of Christ and His redemptive work for our salvation. The faith is used in this sense in Jude 3, 2 Timothy 4:7, and 1 Timothy 6:21.
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