Paul continues in this passage, moving on from unity in the Body of Christ into spiritual maturity. In verses 7-10, he discusses the fact that Jesus has risen to the highest position in the heavens, after having come all the way down to earth to be with us, to save us, to show us the way. In the remaining verses, he discusses the fact that this Jesus, who had come down to our level, gave generously of Himself so that we, being led by the apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers might share in His fullness to attain maturity in Him as his Body.
Pay careful attention to the wording here: “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.” (4:12-13) There is purpose in these words, intentional and deliberate purpose, for Jesus has made Himself available to us, and blessed us with His presence not only in body, but now in the Spirit, not simply for our own edification, but to build up the entire Body of believers through us. This is quintessential discipleship. Jesus came and made disciples while here in the body, and then equipped His disciples to make more disciples… now it is our turn to carry this work forward.
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 people in their deceitful scheming.
The goal is for us to help other believers attain this maturity, the maturity that enables us to avoid being tossed to and fro in confusion. How will we help such as these? Surely, being tossed around by our own spiritual immaturity is not part of God’s plan for us.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
We have surely each received amazing gifts and blessings from God of many kinds and types, yet they are given to us freely so that we may use them to build up His church in love. Some are leaders, some are teachers, some are helpers, and many other things, but none have been given gifts merely for their own enrichment. No, we have been blessed that we might bless those around us, and each of us needs to use those gifts intentionally to help build up others for His glory.