Previously: Ephesians 4:4-12, gifts for growth
… till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Eph 4:13
We have to go through a growth process in order to arrive at the unity of the faith, because unity of the faith requires wisdom and maturity. The unity of the faith does not necessarily mean everyone will believe exactly the same doctrine (of course, I am talking about collateral doctrines like what predestination means, or when the rapture is going to occur; that people of sincere faith can disagree on those things in good conscience. I am not talking about the major doctrines that define Christianity).
The unity of the faith means that people who have faith in Jesus Christ, will come together in unity, and will love and serve each other and stop rejecting and dividing from each other just because someone disagrees with someone else on an issue.
For example, there is a disagreement today among sincere believers on what role the Holy Spirit plays in the church today. What role the Holy Spirit plays in the church is an important doctrine, but what someone believes about that is not going to save them or cast them into Hell if they have it wrong.
Salvation is by grace through faith, not works, and not doctrine. Correct doctrine does not save a person. In fact, a person could have completely correct head knowledge and beliefs about everything in the Bible, and not be saved, if they haven’t repented and submitted their heart to Jesus Christ to be transformed by Him!
… that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— Eph 4:14-15
Some of us who have been Christians for thirty years or more are still like children in the faith, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Someone can be taught biblical doctrine, but because they have remained a child, when a different doctrine comes along, they fall for it. If they get straightened out in their beliefs, but then another doctrine comes along that sounds convincing, they fall for that. And over and over and over again, always unstable, sometimes here, sometimes there, for as long as they remain a child.
To grow out of that childishness, we must feed our hearts and minds continually on the word of God, because the mature man knows and speaks the truth. The truth in contained in the word. The word of God is the pure milk which causes growth (1 Pet 2:1-2). If we feed our flesh which is going to perish, every day, three times a day or more, ought we not to feed our hearts and minds at least every day, and even, several times a day, on the pure milk of God’s word?
The second part of growing into maturity, is of course, not characterized just by truth, but also by love. Love is just as important as truth. You know, the reason the enemy assigns spirits of self righteousness and pride to people who have knowledge of the truth, is because truth delivered harshly will be rejected because of the harshness. Truth does not profit, then. In order to be truly mature, we must cultivate love and gentleness every bit as much as the knowledge of the truth, so that the truth we deliver, can be received.