Spiritual gifts a means of unity

Spiritual gifts a means of unity

In Ephesians chapter four Paul gives us a glimpse of what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant for.  Paul starts out with humility, tolerance and love:

Eph 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
Eph 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Paul then goes on to emphasize oneness:

Eph 4:4 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

And from oneness to the spiritual gifts:

Eph 4:7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

The reason for the spiritual gifts, Paul says, are for building each other up until we all attain to unity:

Eph 4:12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Eph 4:13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

So if the equipping of all of the saints is the result of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the goal then is unity, let’s think about how this impacts us and what value there is in the gifts of women:

1.  If the gifts of the spirit bring unity, then why are women’s gifts not being used for the benefit of the entire body of Christ?

2.  How do we attain to the unity of the faith without all of us working together for the benefit of the entire body?

3.  Do we have one side of the body of Christ being built up and edified and the other side missing some of the nourishment that is provided for the body?  When we hold back women’s gifts from the benefit of men, are we not guilty of keeping the men malnourished by holding back some of their nourishment?

If we say that women have nothing that a man needs, then are we not guilty of saying that women’s gifts are not necessary for anyone?  If men can get all they need from men alone, then women too can get all they need from men alone.  Women’s gifts then with this reasoning, are not really needed because women’s gifts provide nothing that is not already provided by men.  But that is simply not the case.  The Holy Spirit has given each one gifts that are unique and are necessary for the nourishment of the body. When all of us are set free to operate in the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us, then we will all attain to the unity of the faith.  The mature body of Christ needs complete nourishment and women’s gifts are required for the edification and the building up of the entire body of Christ.

3 thoughts on “Spiritual gifts a means of unity

  1. I do not see the unity of the faith coming about until the Lord returns, but I could be wrong and hope I am. But the emphasis is to strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit, which as I see it means maintaining fellowship, if not agreement, with other believers.

    On a side note, as there are many baptisms in Scripture, one needs to discern which one is the “one baptism”. My understanding is that this is when one becomes a believer and the Holy Spirit baptizes them in Jesus.

  2. Don,

    Regarding the unity of the faith – I do think that God has promised in his word that we will have unity before Jesus comes. In Ephesians 4:11 God’s gifts are given for equipping, building up and bringing about unity (verse 13)

    Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

    If it was only a unity that was attained when Jesus comes, why would we need the gift of Pastor and teacher now for equipping and building the body? We would all be equipped and built up and unified when Jesus comes, right? However, and I humbly say that I could be wrong, but I do believe that the verses all go together and the gifts and equipping are what will bring about unity – not the coming of Jesus. What the coming of Jesus will bring about is our perfection. When all of us are functioning as we should, then the functioning in the body will cause growth and unity. I personally believe that the fullness of unity is waiting for the full acceptance of women’s ministry and gifts (and we can include the acceptance of anyone who has been shunned and disregarded in the body of Christ). What will be the catalyst that will bring this about? I don’t really know but perhaps persecution will be used. When we are all persecuted, we will stop fighting each other 🙂

    Regarding the one baptism – I do believe you have it right. What joins us together in the body is the Holy Spirit’s work that brings us into relationship with God (Jesus) and each other.

  3. I see Christian history as declining from the second century onwards as more and more truth was lost, until the reformation which started to restore some truth to the church. As Isee the truth of woman as elders being lostin tha second century, it is very exciting to me to see this truth being restored.

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