For the Perfecting of the Saints

 

Elder George D. Walker (dec)

 

In the Apostle Paulís writing to the church at Ephesus in chapter 4, verses 11 thru 13 he says; And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in 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.


When I begin to think about all the things that Christ gave to the church, just in this portion of God's word, I have to bow my head and say thank you Lord for all your goodness, love, mercy, and grace. Then I begin to add all the other blessings such as redemption, justification, atonement, glorification, and all the things that were fulfilled in Christ through his birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection. Oh! What a great God we have that has blessed us with all these blessings in Christ Jesus.

 

All the blessings that we have, rather it be election, redemption, justification, glorification or the gifts that God has placed in his church, all of these are stored up in Christ. In verse 11, he says; and he gave some, apostles, and some prophets. We as Primitive Baptists have never held the position that we still have the office of apostles, or prophets in the church today, but rather that the foundation that we build on is based upon the apostles, and prophets, as Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. To conclude verse 11, He says; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. In the sense of this text, the word evangelists carry the ideal of preachers of the gospel, or the bearer of good news. Then he says; pastors and teachers. Pastors and Teachers are the same gift. When the Lord calls a man to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and places him as a pastor and overseer over the church, he also qualifies him to teach and instruct the children of God.

 

So then, what is the purpose of these gifts in the church? In verse 12, the apostle Paul says; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. These gifts are for the perfecting of the saints. The word perfecting carries the thought of being complete and perfectly joined together in unity. As one of the writers said; Let this mind be in you, which is also in Jesus Christ. For the work of the ministry; That we might labour as servants of Christ, that we might serve one another in love, that we might have the same goal in mind, that we would give praise and honour to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then Paul says; for the edifying of the body of Christ; the word edifying carries the thought of a building up, a growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. That we would be more Christ like, that we would think more of others than ourselves, that we may grow strong in the Lord.

 

Then in verse 13, he says; till we all come in 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. All these gifts in the church are for the purpose of bringing us to a oneness of our belief and assurance of the truth, for there is only one Lord, one faith and one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and in you all.

 

This is for us to have the knowledge of the Son of God. This knowledge is when you come into full discernment, or recognition of the Son of God. When we speak of one Lord, we are speaking of the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

Then Paul says; unto a perfect man. That is, that you might be complete in labour, not only in your labours, but also in growth, in your mental and moral character, that you might come of full age. Then he says; unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. He is saying that in a limited portion you might reach maturity and be completely filled up of Christ. Oh! How thankful we ought to be in the church, that God is still calling ministers to bear the good news and placing them as overseers of local churches, that we may grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Then we can have a peace that passeth all understanding.