JohnSWilson3 Blog


“…the measure of the gift of Christ.”
December 20, 2010, 3:29 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

Continuing Paul’s thought related to “being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit” (1) in his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul qualifies the reason the brothers and sisters can “keep the unity of the Spirit” because each of them and us has been “given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (2) How we need to know the grace that has been give to us because of being in Christ! Paul earlier said that in Christ we have been “lavished” with “the riches of God’s grace” “with all wisdom and understanding.” It is because of His glorious grace that we are no longer ourselves, we have “died with Christ” and now He is “our life.” That is God’s Grace, that is His Gift! “The measure of the gift of Christ” that has been given to each us is Christ Himself! As Paul told the church in Corinth: Oh “the surpassing grace (that) God has given” us. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

Christ gave Himself to us, to live in us, to be our life, “in order to fill the whole universe,” to make “known” “the manifold wisdom of God,” “to show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” The Son wants to show forth His life to “the whole universe” through us, His Bride! Therefore this grace that we have been given, Christ Jesus our Lord Himself, is not for us individually but for us as His body. “The body is not one member but many.” We are all “members of one body,” Christ! We are called to express the life of Christ! As we are being built together by Christ we “become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” It is Paul’s prayer that describes this life together: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” “The measure of all the fullness of God” is “the measure of the gift of Christ,” Christ wants His life to be fully displayed through His body! To do so every member must function, must participate, being able to “approach God with freedom and confidence” with Christ alone as Head of “his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” When we function, live by His life together, we in reality share Christ with one another, the measure of the gift of Christ that He has given each of us, something different about Himself, so that as each member functions in the body something of Christ’s life is revealed to the body so that the whole body “is fitted together” and “built together” “in him” and we “become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Wow!

This life together as a body needs the experience of Christ living through His people. We must learn Christ together who lives in us. In order to function by His life in the body, to be His expression to the world, God moves, flows, through His body to enable certain people at certain times to function in such a way as to help His body live by Christ’s life. It is at this point many will place a key emphasis on describing the leadership in the church. I am not so inclined. In fact the very word “leader” or “lead” in the church is a confusing word and full of worldly thoughts and mindsets that focus on titles, position, and prestige creating division in the body of Christ. I prefer to throw the word “leader” out since it is never used in the New Testament to describe functioning in the body of Christ. It is used either in a derogatory sense by Christ or of Christ Himself. To fulfill God’s eternal purpose He sends His Son out through “some” who have lived by Christ’s life in the body to share His life with those who are “separate from Christ” and will believe the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. These are the ones from the body who are “sent forth” (3) as “a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace.” God sends His Son out through some who “speak forth or openly” (4) “the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.” God also sends His Son out through some who share the message of the good news of Jesus Christ to others (5). These whom the Son lives through to function in the area of apostles, prophets, and evangelists could be any whom God sends to share the life of His Son to others who are “without God in the world” or to individual churches to “be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” God is fitting together and building up His body in every place, where He can find a place to dwell, so that His Son, through some, might be sent out sent out, speak the mystery of Christ, and share the message of the good news of Christ. It is all about Christ filling “the whole universe”!

In the body Christ His Spirit flows through each member to one another. Christ so loves His church, His dwelling place, that He cares for His family through some (6) and He instructs His family about Himself and how to live by His life through some. In fact every member can be used by Christ whenever He desires to care and teach one another about Christ and living by His life of love. His life of love is demonstrated in living by the Spirit and not walking in the flesh, serving “one another in love.” That is how Christ perfects the saints, that is how He builds His body! That is how we will all “arrive” “at the unity of faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God.” When the entire body is functioning by the life of Christ, living by His Spirit and not the flesh, sharing that measure of Christ in us to one another, He will “show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” and we will express ‘the manifold wisdom of God…to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” The body of Christ actually showing forth the Son, fully expressing His resurrection life to each other and the world around us! That is what becoming “mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” is all about! How important it is to have been “rooted and established in love” to have a sure foundation in Christ Jesus, to know how to live by His life together in an organic way!

When we really know how to live and express Christ together, the measure of the gift of Christ, “then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, being fitted together and being brought together through every band of supply, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Brothers and sisters we have a “worthy walk” that we have been called to, to live by the life of Christ. It is about Him, bearing the fruit of His Spirit in our lives so that the Son is shown. If anything diverts us from this we have not so learned Christ. What is the measure of the gift of Christ in you? The gift is Christ Himself! Let Him dwell richly in your hearts through faith as you love one another.

(1) Literal translation from Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 569.
(2) Ibid.
(3) The literal translation of the word, apostle, “apostolos” from W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 30.
(4) The literal translation of the word, prophet, “prophetes” from W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 493.
(5) The literal translation of the word, evangelist, “euangelistes” is “a messenger of good” from W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 208.
(6) The literal translation of the word, pastor, “poimen” is “shepherd” but in the New Testament is used only “in its natural significance,” “metaphorically of Christ,” and only once here in Ephesians. There is no evidence that this or any of the other words in this list designated a title, position, or office for someone or certain people in the body of Christ in the early church as described in the New Testament. As such we can only look at the word in its function which is that of caring for others. W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 569.

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2 Comments so far
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This is body-life expressions. You’re good at sighting things in the Scripture John. Wish, I am as good as you! Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts. This is good and encouraging – pointing onto the centrality of Christ and how we His children can enjoy it’s blessings!

Comment by molongnacua

appreciate the kind words Molong, blessings brother!

Comment by John Wilson




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