In Ephesians 4:13 it states “This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” (NLV)
What is going to continue? The previous verses tell us, it is the giving of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These are the gifts of grace given to the Body of Christ in Christ’s ascension. These are not given before Jesus ascended, but in his ascension, that is while he is seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven.
And it is going to continue until we reach the intended state of believers and churches. God wants us to be mature in the Lord, and to measure up to his standards of unity.
If it was just human standards of unity, then simply having us all join occasionally for ecumenical events, and getting along without any squabbles would suffice. Yet God’s standards of unity involves the heart, mind and will. We are to be joined in our will, that is our choices. We are to be united in mind, that is our thought and understanding. We are also to be united in heart, which is how we love and feel about other believers.
We have an example of such perfect unity within the Godhead. The trinity itself is a fully functioning relationship of love, unity and cooperation, demonstrating for us how the church should be. (see John 17:20-26)
Seems impossible doesn’t it?
The early believers in Jerusalem were of one heart and mind, and the power of Pentecost has demonstrated to us that such things are possible even on earth. (see Acts 4:32)
Later in Paul’s other writings we see him appealing to Jews and Gentiles to be of one mind. This deeper type of unity is Paul’s regular appeal in many of his letters.
Join me in prayer for unity, and an understanding of what a deeper unity requires.