13 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;
The phrase in this study refers to the definitive goal for both the individual and the church.
to a perfect [full-grown] man,
“To a perfect man” explains “the knowledge of the Son of God” and controls its meaning. Maturity is the end under consideration when a believer reaches the definitive point of his development—conformity to Christ.
The following reference to “stature” concerns the standard of what it means to reach the stage of maturity. This is the mature man or the spiritually full-grown Christian or church. The third goal, then, for a church is to reach the stage of maturity or become a full-grown entity. Infanthood is not the standard for the corporate body of Christ.
The “perfect man” is the believer or church who has reached the stage of maturity or edification construct. To reach the stature of “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” requires a process of maturity over a period of time. When this happens, the believer reaches “full measure” in Christ. A mature man stands in striking contrast to the baby Christian.
The idea here is of the church’s corporate maturity. The mature church is one that reaches the distinctives of its purpose (He 12:23). The goal is a corporate state of maturity. We grow both individually and corporately.
A church can reach the stage of organic completeness. The consummation is the completeness of the whole body. This would involve maturity of individuals as well. It is impossible to have a mature church without mature individuals.
To reach the ultimate stage of maturity, a church or believer requires a maximum or full amount of truth in the soul and its application to the life.
We need to remember that maturity is relative and not an absolute (Php 3:12). Finite Christians or churches can never measure up to an absolute God. We will continue to grow even after we reach the stage of maturity. However, it is possible to reach a complete stage of maturity.
Php 3: 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
The aim of constructing a building is to produce a finished product, an edifice. God, the Architect, gave us the blueprint of the completed building. Leaders, as contractors, build out the blueprint— “the measure of the statue of the fullness of Christ,” which is spiritual maturity. This is a “perfect” or mature man or church that reaches a stage of spiritual completion.
The Bible gives us a definable goal for the believer’s growth in time on earth. It is possible to distinguish a mature from an immature believer. The Bible is clear that we can classify certain Christians and churches as mature.
The means of spiritual growth is the believer’s consistent reception, retention, and recall of biblical truth in whatever situation he finds himself. Individual Christians in the body must grow if the church is to grow.