Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man…
It is to continue till the Church shall have arrived at its completed unity. This does not imply that there are still apostles and prophets in the Church. It is the ministry, not these particular offices, that is to continue in the Church. The ministry is to continue till the Church reaches its destined goal, which is here described in three forms.
I. UNITY OF FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD. This implies:
1. That faith and knowledge are distinct from each other in nature, though they are inseparable in the experience of Christian men. Faith is fed by knowledge, and knowledge, especially in the sphere of Divine realities, is based on faith.
2. That religion is not a mere matter of feeling, but intellectual as well, resting upon correct apprehensions of Divine truth.
3. That the central Object of religion is the Son of God, not only apprehended, but appropriated by faith. It is eternal life to know him.
4. That saints have yet to attain to a truer faith and a larger knowledge of the Son of God. All believers, it is true, have "one faith;" yet they are to attain to the unity of faith. Unity is a matter of degrees. The apostle does not, however, say that we are to begin with it, but to end with it. It is to be realized, net in the course of the dispensation, but as one of its blessed results. The unity of the faith includes more than the unity of the Spirit - that unity of mutual kindness and forbearance that will promote the other unity - for it points to the result of the Spirit's continuous working in the Church. There is an absolute truth independent of all our opinions, and the same to every man, whether he believes it or not. We shall not here attain to it; but we shall reach it when we are at length set free from our imperfections and our infirmities. We shall then be of one mind, because we shall be conformed to one image.
II. A PERFECT MAN. This points to the full development of our manhood. We are fragmentary, one-sided, without a true adjustment of powers. The believer is imperfect both in faith and in knowledge, but he is growing into that unity of life which involves perfect knowledge and perfect holiness.
III. THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST. The true standard is conformity to Christ. The stature of the Church is ever expanding, as it receives of Christ's fullness, into that very fullness. The end of this growth cannot be seen in this life. The Bible nowhere represents the perfection of the Church as occurring on earth. It is to be without spot or wrinkle when the day of its glorious presentation comes. Thus the design of the Christian ministry is to labor for the perfection of the Church. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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 fulness of Christ: