“Till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”

How long is this ministry of verse 12 to last?  Verse 13 has the answer.  When will this goal be reached?  It will not be reached until:
1.      We come to the glory of the translation of the Church, the Body of Believers.
2.      The end of this Age.
3.      The last member has been added to the Body of Christ.
3.      The comp of the Body–“The fullness of the body.”

        One of these days the last member will be added to the Body of Christ, making it complete. 

“Till we all come”
Literally:  “until we all may come”–Rather, “attain unto.”  Till all Christians arrive at a state of complete unity, and to entire perfection.These offices are given in order that all may come to a goal that is named just below. They must be continued in some form until that goal is reached. 

“into the unity of the faith,”
Literally:  “to the unity of the faith”–Unto oneness of faith (of trust) in Christ (verse 3) which the Gnostics were disturbing.

        COME INTO:  (Gr.-katantaô eis)–This Greek verb katantaô literally means, “come; arrive; reach; attain.”  These words might better have been rendered as, “attain into.”  We might word it as, “Until we all attain the unity.

That is, until all the Church holds to the same doctrines, and confidence in its Head–the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are all redeemed by the same blood; we are all going to the same Heaven; we have the same joys; we all have the same needs, the same enemies.  Therefore, all believers should feel we are part of the same family; children of the same Heavenly Father. This is one of the great objects to be attained through these offices. In v. 2,

         “and of the knowledge of the Son of God,”
         Literally:  “and of the knowledge of the Son of God”–The oneness of “full knowledge of the Son of God,” in opposition to the Gnostic vagaries.

This is that unity which full establishment in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God gives. The greater the measure of our faith and knowledge, the greater our unity in that faith and knowledge, and thus our unity with God and each other.  

        FULL:   Meaning that the unity of faith is then found, when all alike thoroughly know Christ, the object of faith, and that in His highest dignity as “the Son of God”

        “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
        “may be able to comprehend with all saints what
{is} the breadth and length, and depth, and height;

        “And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:17-19).

        “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge” (II Pet. 1:5).

Not even Paul counted himself to have fully “attained” (Phil. 3:12-14). Amidst the variety of the gifts and the multitude of the Church's members, its “faith” is to be ONE: as contrasted with the state of “children carried about with every wind of doctrine.”

“unto a perfect man,”
Literally:  “to a full-grown man.”  To a state of spiritual manhood both in understanding and strength. One thoroughly instructed; the whole body of the Church being fully taught, justified, sanctified, and sealed.  A full-grown, mature man, in contrast with babes in Christ.


Paul compares their condition then to a state of childhood. The perfect man here refers to the man grown up–the man of mature life. He says that Christ had appointed pastors and teachers that the infant church might be conducted to maturity, or become strong–like a man. Paul is not referring to a state of sinless perfection, (which is really taught nowhere in the N.T.), but to the state of adult manhood as compared with that of childhood—a state of strength, vigor, wisdom, when the full growth should be attained.

PERFECT:  (Gr.-teleiôs)–This word has the connotation of full development. 

        “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect  (teleiôs), yet not the wisdom of this world, not of the princes of this world, that come to nought”
(I Cor. 2:6).

        “Brethren, be not children (paidia), in understanding:  howbeit in malice be ye children:  (nêpioi-infants) but in understanding be men  (teleiôs)” (I Cor. 14:20).

        MAN:  (Gr.-andra)–This is referring to adulthood, as in I Cor. 13:11 where it is contrasted with nêpios (infant), the word for “child.”–“When I was a child (nêpios), I understood as a child (nêpios)…”

This speaks of one thoroughly instructed; the whole Body of the Church being fully taught, justified, sanctified, and sealed. This must be the aim of all teaching, and of all living. If we cannot attain fully to it in the flesh, we certainly can aim at it and grow more and more into Christ's likeness.

“unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”
 Literally:  “to {the} measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”–So apparently here as in Luke 2:52, not age (John 9:21). Boys rejoice in gaining the height of a man.

                 MEASURE:  (Gr.-hêlikia)–Literally:  “stature.”

         No pastor has finished his work when the sheep fall so far short of the goal spiritual adulthood. Paul says that the kind and the measure of the different gifts which Christ bestows upon different Christians are according to His wise eternal purpose, and designed to promote the holiness and happiness of His Church. All these gifts therefore should be so employed as is best adapted to accomplish this end.
         It is a sad thing that many preachers, and multitudes of professing people, are studious to find out how many imperfections and infidelities, and how much inward sinfulness, is consistent with a safe state in religion but how very few are bringing out the fair Gospel standard to try the height of the members of the Church; or determining whether they are really fit for the heavenly army; whether their stature be such as qualifies them for the ranks of the Church militant!  The measure of the stature of the fullness is seldom seen;  but sadly the measure of the stature of littleness, dwarfishness, and emptiness, is often exhibited.

“That we
{henceforth}be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sight of men, {and} cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

         “That we {henceforth}be no more children”

Literally:  “so that we may no longer be infants (nêpioi)”– This should be the aim; to reach a stature such that we are no more children. Children are feeble, inexperienced, and easily deceived.

         Children, literally, infants (nêpioi) here, are opposed to the perfect (mature) man (andra) in the preceding verse; and the state of both is well explained by Paul’s allusions.  We are not to run around like a bunch of crying babies.  God does not want us to be like that; remain in a state of protracted babyhood concerning the faith, and the Word of God.  He wants us to be rooted and grounded in the faith, and in order that we might become that way He has given gifts to the Church. It grieves God when His redeemed one remains in the baby state.  He wants us to become full-grown, mature men and women in the faith, knowing His mind and purposes.  God is a Father with a father’s heart.  He delights to see His children grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Son of God, just as any human parent rejoices when they see their children developing mentally and physically.
         Unfortunately some Christians are just content to remain “babes” (nêpioi) in Christ and never cut their spiritual “eye-teeth” (Heb. 5:11-14).  It makes one wonder how God must feel as He looks upon those who have been members of His family for decades, yet spiritually they are still like little children  (nêpioi), and become affected by every “religious” movement that comes down the pike.  Almost daily it seems that they latch on to some new “theology” or doctrine and are easy prey to the theological con-artists.  Unfortunately, such “babes” become offended when someone attempts to turn them from the crooked road which they are presently following. There has never been a time in the history of the believers when they didn’t need to become “rooted and grounded” in the faith.  New false teachers and teachings seem to pop up every day. Believers are becoming the victims of every charlatan who comes along.  
         Christians are to be children (children of God), yet not absolutely such.  They should have certain qualities of the child; but childish traits should be shunned, as much as certain childish graces should be fostered. Traits to be avoided are the fickleness of children’s volatile moods, shifting like a kaleidoscope, dazzled by the first glittering bauble or flimsy distraction that catches the eyes or ears.  How often do we hear, “why didn’t my pastor tell us this?”–when it is really their own responsibility to study the Scripture for themselves to find out what is in them.  When I have such a question asked of me, I reply, “Why haven’t you found it out for yourself?  You have the same Bible that your preacher has.  Wipe the dust off it and study it for yourself, like you are supposed to be doing anyhow.”

“tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine”
Literally:  “being blown and carried about by every wind of doctrine”–Inwardly, even without wind; like billows of the sea. So the Greek. (Compare Jas 1:6)–“He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”  Tossed about like a wave by every wind of doctrine. It is “doctrines,” (false doctrines) in great part, which have broken up unity.

Never was there a day in the history of the Church when Christians needed more to be “rooted and grounded” in the faith than in this present time, for false teachers and cults are increasing and their doctrines are becoming more plausible. There are “churches” and denominations that are teaching that doctrine is not really important: just everybody coming together as one in fellowship is what is important.  This is a falsehood right out of the abyss of hell itself.  It is in total contradiction to the teaching of the Word of God, such as right here in this verse.

      TOSSED TO AND FRO:  This is a  verb form of the Greek noun kludôn that is used in Luke 8:24 of the raging of the waters of Galilee, and in James 1:6 for the “the wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”       

         The word is used for waves or billows that are constantly tossed about–in all ages an image of instability of character and purpose.  In some it is all wind, even like a hurricane or a tornado. If they are not anchored by full knowledge of Christ, folks are at the mercy of these squalls. With no firmness; no settled course; no helm, the idea is that of a vessel on the restless ocean, that is tossed about with every varying wind, and has no settled line of sailing. So many persons are like this in regard to doctrines. They have no fixed views and principles.  They hold no doctrines that are settled in their minds by careful and patient examination; and the consequence is, that they yield to every new opinion, and submit to the guidance of every new teacher. The doctrine taught here is, that we should have settled religious opinions.
      We should carefully examine what is truth, and having found it, become bonded to it, and not yield on the coming of every new teacher who pops us. We should not close our minds against conviction. We should be willing to follow the truth wherever it will lead us. But this state of mind is not inconsistent with having settled opinions, and with being firm in holding them until we are convinced that we are wrong. No man can be useful who has no settled principles. No one who has not such principles can inspire confidence or be happy; and the first aim of every young convert should be to acquire settled views of the truth, and to become firmly grounded in the doctrines of the gospel.

“by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness”
Literally:  “to the trickery of men, in craftiness to the deceit of”

        CRAFTINESS:  (Gr.-kubeiai)–This refers to the cunning, skill, trickery of men. This Greek word is used only here in the NT.  It is from (kubos), which means “a cube,” or “die” and properly means a dice playing. he words “in the craftiness” refer to the arts used by gamesters, who employ false dice that will always throw up one kind of number, which is that by which those who play with them cannot win.

         Hence it means game, gambling; and then anything that turns out by mere chance or hap-hazardous as a game at dice does. It may possibly also denote the trick or fraud that is sometimes used in such games; but it seems rather to denote a man's forming his religious opinions by the throw of a die; or, in other words, it describes a man whose opinions seem to be the result of mere chance.
        Anything like casting a dice, such as opening the Bible at random to determine a point of duty or doctrine may come under the description of Paul here, and would all be opposed to the true mode, that by calm examination of the Bible, and by prayer. A man who forms his religious principles by chance, can un-form them in the same way; and he who has determined his faith by one cast of the die, will be likely to throw them into another form by another.
         In every local church there are people who must be guarded against.  Paul here describes such by his use of the word  (Gr.-kubeiai), which really refers to men who have the skill to manipulate dice.  Such men are always attempting to lure people away from the true worship and true faith. Paul is really describing religious leaders who come to us in the name of Christ.  These words are in  keeping with Matt. 24:24 where the end of the Age is described by the Lord Jesus Christ“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”  There is really only one way for believers to protect themselves from such deceivers and false manipulators; and that is for each believer to be so engrossed and grounded in the Word of God that when they hear such heresies, immediately the “warning bells” will be going off in their minds.

      CUNNING CRAFTINESS:  This refers to the craftiness which gamblers use.  (See Luke 20:23 for the same word)–“But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, ‘Why tempt ye me?’”

We are told in I John 4:1 to “try the spirits.”  This may be done in several ways:  when these so-called “Bible teachers”  come along…
1.      Find out what their attitude is of the system of teaching is regarding the Bible;
         a.      Whether the Bible is held to be the complete revelation of God; or,
         b.      Whether it is only a partial revelation with another book needed to complete it.

2.      Find out what they believe concerning the Person of Christ; whether He is the eternal Son of the eternal God, born of a virgin, the perfect Man and the perfect God.
3.      Find out what their attitude is toward the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary.
4.      Find out what they believe about the eternal destiny of those who reject Jesus Christ and refuse to believe in Him as Savior through faith in His blood
5.      Find out what they believe about the physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such a test will reveal the true character of the Russelites (known today as the so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses).  Paul tells us that a person cannot be a Christian if he does not believe in the phyrical, bodily resurrection of Christ–That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath reaised Him from the dead, thous shalt be saved(Rom. 10:9).

When false teaching is brought under the lens of the Word of God, its true character is revealed.

“whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
Literally:  “in craftiness to deceit of error”–Craft and cunning, employed by teachers of false doctrine in order to deceive. There can be little doubt that Paul refers to the false teachers against whom he warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:30.

DECEIVE: (Gr.-methodeian)–This word means, “deliberate planning,” or, “system.” It is the root that we get our English word, “method.”

         From this it seems that various arts were used, both by the Greek sophists and the Judaizing teachers, to render the Gospel of none effect, or to adulterate and corrupt it. How well does this describe present America which has become a nation that now has every breed and creed, every ism and wasm and spasm that the rebellious mind of sinful men can imagine.  If one is not thoroughly grounded in the Word of God he is susceptible to such vagaries and blasphemies.  Look around you at how many people are being affected by “every wind of doctrine” being lauded today. Neophytes have always been prone to be ensnared by glib-tongue talkers masquerading in the guise of angels of light.  Paul had himself warned the Ephesians (Acts 20:30) that false brethren would infect their own ranks.  Such propaganda is denounced more explicitly in the Colossian Letter.  Without firm anchor-grounding in Christ, unstable converts to their new faith resemble a rudderless, wave-tossed boat, caught in the swirl of cross currents of false doctrines.
        If all their art fails, their last advice is, to recommend their doctrines upon some private pretended revelation and uncommon impulse of the Holy Spirit: by all which methods they lie in wait to deceive.

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head,
{even} Christ”

“But speaking the truth in love…
Literally:  “but speaking truth in love”–Holding the truth…

         Truth never changes and is never to give way to false doctrine, but it must be spoken in love. Some cling to the truth tenaciously, but forget to speak it in love.  This was the problem for which Christ castigates this Church in Ephesus in Rev. 2:4.  In their fighting for the purity of the Gospel they had lost their first love.  The truth recommended by Paul is the whole system of Gospel doctrine.  This truth they are to teach and preach, and this is opposed to the deceit mentioned above  Scolding and abuse from the pulpit or press, in matters of the faith are truly monstrous.  He who has the truth of God has no need of any means to defend or propagate it, but those which love to God and man provides.

        SPEAKING THE TRUTH:  (Gr.alêtheuontes)–This word is used only here and in Gal. 4:16 in the NT. “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth (alêtheuontes)(Gal. 4:16). In classical Greek it meant, “to be true, to arrive at truth,” and “to speak truth.”  Here the idea is rather that of being or walking in truth.

There may be two ways to look at this phrase:
1.      The believer is to follow the truth in love:

         a.      He is to love truth, live truth and speak truth.
         b.      Christ is the Truth (John 14:6) and the believer must sail his little ship of life with everything pointed toward Christ.
         c.      Christ is the believer’s Compass and magnetic Pole.
2.      In our proclamation of the great doctrines of the Word of God, the Truth of God, let us remember to do so in the love of Christ. 

         Christians are to speak the simple truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Every statement which the believer makes should be unvarnished truth; every promise which they make should be true; every representation which they make of the sentiments of others should be simple truth. This is the only way to avoid error, and this is the way to preserve others from error. In opposition to all trick, and art, and cunning, and fraud, and deception,
         Truth is the representation of things as they are; and there is no virtue that is more valuable in a Christian than the love of simple unvarnished truth.  While speaking this truth we should practice it at all times and under all circumstances inexhaustible love.  Paul says, “Thou I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love…it profiteth me nothing” (I Cor. 13:1-3).  How many of us there are who see to have a profound knowledge of doctrine but are destitute of love and kindness.  By all means speak the truth, but speak it in love.  And let us live out in our lives the things we proclaim by lip. Lives and lips must agree. Truth is never to be sacrificed to so-called “charity;” yet it is to be maintained in charity.  Truth in word and act, love in manner and spirit, are the Christian's rule (compare vv. 21, 24).

         “may grow up into Him in all things…”
         Literally:  “may grow up in Him in all things”–From the state of “children” (nêpioi) to that of “full-grown men” (nêpioi). There is growth only in the spiritually alive, not in the dead. Believers are not to remain children, but rather that in “speaking the truths in love may grow up into Him in all things.”  Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as the “prince of preachers,” once said, “The greatest evidence of the truth of the Word of God is a transformed life.”  Atheists and agnostics cannot gainsay a life transformed by the living Christ. 

         Paul is continuing in his metaphor taken from the members of a human body receiving nourishment equally and growing up, each in its due proportion to other parts, and to the body in general.  The truth of God should be so preached to all the members of the Church, that they may all receive an increase of grace and life; so that each, in whatever state he may be, may get forward in the way of truth and holiness.  In the Church there are persons in various states: the careless, the penitent, the lukewarm, the tempted, the insecure, the little child, the young man, and the father. He who has got a talent for the edification of only one of those classes should not stay long in a place, else the whole body cannot grow up in all things under his ministry.

“Which is the Head, even Christ:”
Literally:  “Who is the Head, the Christ”–The Church’s Head is the One from whom we draw our patience and Christ-likeness.  He is the One who supplies the things for our spiritual development. 

         We are the Body and Christ is the Head. We are to grow up to His stature, so as to be more and more incorporated with Him, and become one with Him.   The word “head,” in the Scriptures, is designed often to denote master, ruler, chief, Eph. 5:23; Col. 2:10. Here it means that Christ is the Ruler, Director, or Lord of the Christian man. This truth was to be regarded in all their feelings and arrangements, and was never to be forgotten. Every Christian should recollect the relation in which he stands to him, as one that is fitted to produce the strictest decorum, and a steady sense of subordination.

“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

“From whom the whole body fitly joined together”–    
Literally:  “from whom all the body being fitted and compacted together”– The body of Christ, composed of many individuals, is one, like a building composed of many parts framed together. 

Paul is portraying the Church is its relation to Christ like the figure of the human body.  As every part of the human body, even the smallest gland and sinew, works for the good of the whole body and is controlled by the head, so is the mystical Body of Christ.  How few Christians realize this great truth; consequently, in the house of temptation they battle on in their own strength, rather than take strength from the risen Head.  And in the hour of sadness, they go many days without grasping the comfort which only the Son of God can give.

        FITLY JOINED TOGETHER: Literally: “being compacted together.” This a derivative of a Greek verb which means, “to be joined together; fit together.”  It really refers to a joint or fastening in the construction of a building, or for the shoulder-joint of the body.

        COMPACTED:  This is from a Greek verb which literally means, “to bring together; unite; hold together.”  This word is generally used of bringing things or people together or of reconciling those who have quarreled.

Both of these Greek words give the sense of a functional unity that is made possible among the member by their unity that is made possible among the members by the direction of the Head.

“which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,”
Literally:  “through every assisting bond, according to the effectual working of one measure in each part”–The Body of Christ not only receives orders from the Head, which is Christ, but also its spiritual nutrients.  This produces a harmony where each member is functioning in his place as he receives spiritual supplies from the Head.  Also, the Body has an inward dynamic whereby it renews itself in love.

“Through every joint of supply;” that is, which affords or ministers mutual aid. The Greek word “joint” here (haphe)–means “anything which binds, fastens, secures;” and does not refer to the joint in the sense in which we commonly use it, as denoting the moving of the limbs, or the joining of two or more bones; but rather that which unites or fastens together the different parts of the frame–the blood-vessels, cords, tendons, and muscles.

The meaning is, that every such means of connecting one part of the body with another ministers nourishment, and that thus the body is sustained. One part is dependent on another; one part derives nourishment from another; and thus all become mutually useful as contrbuting to the support and harmony of the whole. Thus it furnishes an illustration of the connection in the members of the church, and of the aid which one can render to another.          

“according to the effectual working”
Literally:  “according to {the} working”– The vital energy which is in the measure of every part; according as God has measured out to each part its office.

The Church is beautifully compared in this verse to the human body under the direction of the head, and rendered perfect by every member performing its appropriate office, so that there is a common interest, a common sympathy, and what promotes the good of one promotes that of all.

“maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”               
Literally:  “producing the growth of the body to the building up of itself in love”–Modern knowledge of cell life in the human body greatly strengthens the force of Paul's metaphor. This is the way the body grows by cooperation under the control of the head and all “in love” (Gr.agapêi).

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