But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:7-8
In light of the high doctrine, rich indicatives, and glorious truth revealed in the first half of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, Paul begins the imperatives in the second half of the epistle with the general admonition to walk worthy of the calling to which you were called (Eph 4:1). We can look at the second half of the epistle as explaining to us, ‘how to’ walk worthy of the calling. The emphasis of the first six verses of chapter 4 is that we walk worthy of the calling by making a diligent effort to make visible, the unity of the body, which is founded on seven invisible truths that bind us together.
But when the New Testament speaks of unity, it never suggests uniformity; on the contrary, the unity of the church, far from being boringly monotonous, is exciting in its diversity. We have already discussed how the church of Jesus Christ is made up of people from every tribe, tongue, nation, generation, gender, and social and economic status. But also, all Christians differ in the character and complement of gifts which they receive from the ascended Christ. While ‘saving grace’ is the same for all, what some call ‘service grace,’ or the God-given ability to employ a special gift in serve of the church, is given in varying degrees. These ‘Spiritual gifts’ or ‘grace gifts’ are intentionally disbursed by Christ in a varied manner, so that no one person gets them all. Christ’s body then displays its unity as each member employs his or her special grace gift(s) for the benefit of the whole and the glory of God. In fact I propose that the goal to become a mature church is approached as we successfully unite the invisible, inviolable unity of the Spirit, with a visible outworking where each member utilizes their gifts to love and serve one another.
Descriptions of the variety of these gifts are found in a few places in Scripture. If you compare and contrast Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 and our text (Ephesians 4:7-12), you come up with at least 20 different gifts, given in varying degrees, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. The exalted Lord is sovereign in the distribution of these gifts – the rule of distribution is not merit, nor human capacity, nor even our asking, but His own good pleasure. The gifts will vary, but what is for sure, is that each one in the body has at least one.
Are you aware of what gift of gifts God has given to you? How does Paul make it clear in this text that unity is not uniformity? Are you able to understand that your brothers and sisters are different than you because a the different variety of gifts they have received? Are you using your gifts toward the goal of maturity and mutual edification in the body of Christ?
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11
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