… unto the end
that we should all attain to
the unity of the faith
and of the realization of the son of God,
to a mature man,
to the measure of the stature
of the complement of the Christ,
In the previous blog I showed that the five gifts that Paul mentioned in Ephesians 4:10 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) related to the immature phase of the ecclesia. They were given with a view to the preparation for maturity. The gifts refers us to the men who have given us the Greek Scriptures of the Bible. With the availability of the entire seventy Scriptures, the stage of immaturity is finished.
During the immature stage of the ecclesia "the unity of the faith" was not yet realized. Indeed, "the unity of the Spirit" was (Eph.4:3) – the one Spirit by which each member of the body is sealed (Eph.1:13; 1Cor.12:13), but with respect to the content, faith was only fragmentary. The ecclesia lacked a written basis of faith and depended on a single letter here or book there. At the end of their lives, the apostles diligently worked to combine the whole: the manifesto of "the unity of the faith" – "the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 2:20).
from duality to unity
But there is more. Paul shows in Ephesians 2, that the ecclesia is composed of two groups: the circumcision and uncircumcision (Eph.2:14-16), or: composed of Jews and Gentiles. In the beginning there was only "the gospel of the circumcision" that was preached by the twelve. When Israel rejected the Evangel, God called a thirteenth apostle and entrusted to him "the gospel of the uncircumcision" (Gal.2:7). While the first was strictly concerned with Israel, the group that was formed through Paul's preaching was in particular a gentile gathering. Paul makes it clear that in the one Body (whereof only he speaks!) these two groups have become one. The wall that separated the two groups ("the law of commandments"; Eph.2:15) was nullified. This gave "the circumcision" (the Jew) a very profound message to process. Also, a man like Peter, "apostle of the circumcision", has had considerable difficulty with it, although, eventually he fully acknowledged the truth of all the letters "of our beloved brother Paul" (2Pet.3:15,16).
The recognition that "the circumcision" had no separate, leave alone, a privileged position in the body of Christ, means an annulment of the duality. The two groups are now united into one body. This too, is "the unity of the faith" which was attained, when Paul completed the Word of God (Col.1:25).
Translation: Peter Feddema