But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 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: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, anal carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby 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: 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. The subject is - Moral restorative influence the gift of Christ. The "grace" mentioned in the seventh verse refers undoubtedly to the spiritual influences of God in the salvation and perfection of man. There are four things in this remarkable passage concerning this grace, this restorative influence.
I. THIS GIFT IS COMMUNICATED BY CHRIST. "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. The expression, "according to the measure of the gift of Christ," means, I think, that its bestowment is entirely according to his sovereign purpose.
1. Borne have a higher measure of grace than others. Some have wider and clearer views of truth, a richer experience of Divine love and faithfulness, broader and stronger sympathies, more soul-uplifting hopes and aspirations than others. There are babes in Christ and there are men in Christ. Some are qualified to be ministers, martyrs, apostles, etc. Some are only fitted for a humble place in his vineyard.
2. This measure is determined by the will of Christ. It is according to "the measure of the gift of Christ," not according to the measure of a man's capacity, merit, or effort. The fact removes all ground for boasting in the most distinguished in his Church. By the grace of God each disciple is what he is.
II. THIS GIFT IS COMMUNICATED BY CHRIST AS THE RESULT OF HIS WONDERFUL HISTORY. "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive."
1. His history was a history of wonderful triumphs. "He led captivity captive." He achieved the most brilliant victories. He triumphed over "principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly." He triumphed over death, rose from the grave, and became the Prince of life. He triumphs over the enmity of the human heart and brings the souls of the rebellious into captivity to himself.
2. His history was a history of wonderful changes.
(1) It involved the lowest descension. "He descended into the lower parts of the earth." He not only came down to the condition of humanity, but he took his place in the lowest social grade. "He made himself of no reputation," etc. He descended even into the grave and Hades.
(2) It involved the highest ascension. "He ascended on high ... ascended up far above all heavens." How many heavens are there? Who can tell the height of the lowest? He is "far above" the highest. He thus descended and ascended in order that "he might fill" all human things with his spiritual influence, fill all human souls with his ideas, principles, and aims.
III. THIS GIFT IS COMMUNICATED BY CHRIST IN A GREAT VARIETY OF MINISTRIES. "He gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." "Apostles." No one was an apostle but those immediately appointed by Christ, who had seen him after his resurrection and endowed with a special inspiration. "Prophets." Those who, being divinely inspired, taught in the name of God. "Evangelists." Probably itinerant preachers, missionaries, such as Philip. "Pastors and teachers." Overseers and instructors. All who in any way promote spiritual Christianity in the world, flora those who were the most feeble in power to those of loftiest capacity, are the gift of Christ. He calls them, qualifies them, and appoints them their respective spheres.
IV. THIS GIFT IS COMMUNICATED BY CHRIST IN ORDER TO PERFECT HIS CHURCH. "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry." Spiritual perfection is the grand aim of all.
1. Perfection in service. "For the work of the ministry." The twelfth verse teaches that a perfect ministry implies a perfect character. There is no perfect service where there is not a perfect character. A man must be good to do good.
2. Perfection in unity. "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." This may mean oneness or harmony of mind in relation to the doctrine and spirit of Christ, a common thought and sympathy in relation to the Son of God.
3. Perfection in character. "Unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Christ is the Standard of excellence, and perfection of character is conformity to him. His character is the measure. To be Christ-like is to be perfect.
4. Perfection in strength. "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine."
(1) The strength of firmness...Possessing power enough to stand against all the winds and waves of religious opinions. There are some men at the mercy of every new doctrine. Their souls have no anchorage; they are not" rooted and grounded in the faith."
(2) The strength of determination. "By the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness." The ideas seem to be not influenced by the mere contingencies of sentiment nor the craftiness of heretical teachers.
5. Perfection in Church growth. "Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ." The two verses teach:
(1) That Church growth is an advancing assimilation to Christ. "We may grow up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ." The true growth of the soul is progress towards a perfect conformity to Christ.
(2) That Church growth requires the loving exhibition of truth. "Speaking the truth in love." There is a truth, a reality in the gospel, and the ministry of this truth in love is necessary to promote the true growth of the Church.
(3) That Church growth is in every part dependent upon its vital connection with Christ. "From whom the whole body fitly joined together," etc.
(4) That Church growth requires the healthy action of all its members. "By that which every joint supplieth," etc. - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.