In the unity of the faith - Jews and Gentiles being all converted according to the doctrines laid down in the faith - the Christian system.
The knowledge of the Son of God - A trite understanding of the mystery of the incarnation; why God was manifest in the flesh, and why this was necessary in order to human salvation.
Unto a perfect man - Εις ανδρα τελειον· One thoroughly instructed; the whole body of the Church being fully taught, justified, sanctified, and sealed.
Measure of the stature - The full measure of knowledge, love, and holiness, which the Gospel of Christ requires. Many preachers, and multitudes of professing people, are studious to find out how many imperfections and infidelities, and how much inward sinfulness, is consistent with a safe state in religion but how few, very few, are bringing out the fair Gospel standard to try the height of the members of the Church; whether they be fit for the heavenly army; whether their stature be such as qualifies them for the ranks of the Church militant! The measure of the stature of the fullness is seldom seen; the measure of the stature of littleness, dwarfishness, and emptiness, is often exhibited.
Till we all come - Until all Christians arrive at a state of complete unity, and to entire perfection.
In the unity of the faith - Margin, into. The meaning is, until we all hold the same truths, and have the same confidence in the Son of God; see the notes on John 17:21-23.
And of the knowledge of the Son of God - That they might attain to the satire practical acquaintance with the Son of God, and might thus come to the maturity of Christian piety; see the notes on Ephesians 3:19.
Unto a perfect man - Unto a complete man. This figure is obvious. The apostle compares their condition then to a state of childhood. The perfect man here refers to the man “grown up,” the man of mature life. He says that Christ had appointed pastors and teachers that the infant church might be conducted to “maturity;” or become strong - like a man. He does not refer to the doctrine of “sinless perfection” - but to the state of manhood as compared with that of childhood - a state of strength, vigor, wisdom, when the full growth should be attained; see 1 Corinthians 14:20.
Unto the measure of the stature - Margin, or age. The word “stature” expresses the idea. It refers to the growth of a man. The stature to be attained to was that of Christ. He was the standard - not in size, not in age - but in moral character. The measure to be reached was Christ; or we are to grow until we become like him.
Of the fulness of Christ - see the notes on Ephesians 1:23. The phrase “the measure of the fulness,” means, probably, the “full measure” - by a form of construction that is common in the Hebrew writings, where two nouns are so used that one is to be rendered as an adjective - “as trees of greatness” - meaning great trees. Here it means, that they should so advance in piety and knowledge as to become wholly like him.
This life is your sowing time. Will you not pledge yourself to God, that your seed sowing shall be that which will produce, not tares, but a harvest of wheat? God will work with you; He will increase your usefulness. He has entrusted to you talents that in His strength you may use to produce a precious harvest. CT 491.1
To those who with steadfast perseverance strive to reveal the attributes of Christ, angels are commissioned to give enlarged views of His character and work, His power and grace and love. Thus they become partakers of His nature, and day by day grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. The sanctification of the Spirit is seen in thought, word, and deed. Their ministry is life and salvation to all with whom they associate. Of such ones it is declared, “Ye are complete in Him.” Colossians 2:10. CT 491.2
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The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive. When in conversion the sinner finds peace with God through the blood of the atonement, the Christian life has but just begun. Now he is to “go on unto perfection;” to grow up “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Says the apostle Paul: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14. And Peter sets before us the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.... If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” 2 Peter 1:5-10. GC 470.1
Those who experience the sanctification of the Bible will manifest a spirit of humility. Like Moses, they have had a view of the awful majesty of holiness, and they see their own unworthiness in contrast with the purity and exalted perfection of the Infinite One. GC 470.2
The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. His long life was filled up with noble service for his Master. He was a man “greatly beloved” (Daniel 10:11) of Heaven. Yet instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he pleaded before God in behalf of his people: “We do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies.” “We have sinned, we have done wickedly.” He declares: “I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people.” And when at a later time the Son of God appeared, to give him instruction, Daniel says: “My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” Daniel 9:18, 15, 20; 10:8. GC 470.3Read in context »
The change of heart by which we become children of God is in the Bible spoken of as birth. Again, it is compared to the germination of the good seed sown by the husbandman. In like manner those who are just converted to Christ are, “as new-born babes,” to “grow up” to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. 1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 4:15. Or like the good seed sown in the field, they are to grow up and bring forth fruit. Isaiah says that they shall “be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3. So from natural life, illustrations are drawn, to help us better to understand the mysterious truths of spiritual life. SC 67.1
Not all the wisdom and skill of man can produce life in the smallest object in nature. It is only through the life which God Himself has imparted, that either plant or animal can live. So it is only through the life from God that spiritual life is begotten in the hearts of men. Unless a man is “born from above,” he cannot become a partaker of the life which Christ came to give. John 3:3, margin. SC 67.2Read in context »
You are connected with the office of publication. In this position your peculiar traits of character will be developed. The little courtesies of life should be cherished. A pleasant and amiable temper, blended with a firm principle of justice and honesty, will make you a man of influence. Now is the time to obtain a moral fitness for heaven. The church to which you belong must have the refining, elevating grace of Christ. God requires His followers to be men of good report, as well as to be pure, elevated, and honest; kind, as well as faithful. It is essential to be right in the weightier matters; but this is no excuse for negligence in things apparently of less importance. The principles of the law of God must be developed in the life and character. An amiable temper, combined with firm integrity and faithfulness, will constitute a moral fitness for any position. The apostle Peter exhorts: “Be courteous.” 4T 367.1
We must be learners in the school of Christ. We cannot imitate His example unless we are pleasing in disposition and condescending in deportment. True Christian politeness should be cultivated. No one else can lessen our influence as we ourselves can lessen it through the indulgence of uncontrollable temper. A naturally petulant man does not know true happiness, and is seldom content. He is ever hoping to get into a more favorable position, or to so change his surroundings that he will have peace and rest of mind. His life seems to be burdened with heavy crosses and trials, when, had he controlled his temper and bridled his tongue, many of these annoyances might have been avoided. It is the “soft answer” which “turneth away wrath.” Revenge has never conquered a foe. A well-regulated temper exerts a good influence on all around; but “he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” 4T 367.2
Consider the life of Moses. Meekness in the midst of murmuring, reproach, and provocation constituted the brightest trait in his character. Daniel was of a humble spirit. Although he was surrounded with distrust and suspicion, and his enemies laid a snare for his life, yet he never deviated from principle. He maintained a serene and cheerful trust in God. Above all, let the life of Christ teach you. When reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not. This lesson you must learn, or you will never enter heaven. Christ must be made your strength. In His name you will be more than conqueror. No enchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel, will prevail. If your soul is riveted to the eternal Rock, you are safe. Come joy or come sorrow, nothing can sway you from the right. 4T 368.1Read in context »
In this season of conflict and trial we need all the support and consolation we can derive from righteous principles, from fixed religious convictions, from the abiding assurance of the love of Christ, and from a rich experience in divine things. We shall attain to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus only as the result of a steady growth in grace. 5T 105.1
Oh, what can I say to open blind eyes, to enlighten the spiritual understanding! Sin must be crucified. A complete moral renovation must be wrought by the Holy Spirit. We must have the love of God, with living, abiding faith. This is the gold tried in the fire. We can obtain it only of Christ. Every sincere and earnest seeker will become a partaker of the divine nature. His soul will be filled with intense longing to know the fullness of that love which passes knowledge; as he advances in the divine life he will be better able to grasp the elevated, ennobling truths of the word of God, until by beholding he becomes changed and is enabled to reflect the likeness of his Redeemer. 5T 105.2
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