In Sunday School this morning, we were discussing Ephesians 4. This is likely no great exegetical insight, but I believe it fits the flow of thought of the passage. Verse 13 sets this as a mark of a rightly ordered church: “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
It is that last expression that is difficult, at least to me. Its difficulty lies in its being very abstract. What hit me, as we were reading the passage, is that Paul may have been using a much more concrete image. The entire surrounding passage is considering the church from the metaphor of Christ’s body; the idea here, then, seems to be this: the standard for the maturity of the church is that it, as a body, has grown up to the point that it fits its head, which is Christ.
Pastor Matt Morrell offered a brilliant modern application of one of Jesus’s parables. The man who plans to build greater barns to hold his bounteous crop, he said, is like the man who builds the two-car garage, and then the shed in the back, and then rents a storage unit down the road.
In that same passage, I was convicted by Luke 12:32: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Jesus’s admonition in the following verses is this: if you really believe that your Father is good, and that it is his delight to give you the kingdom, you would be generous, giving away your possessions to the poor. Thus, our miserliness is our public confession that we disbelieve in the kindness of our Father.