As we read Paul's letters, three major goals shine out to
challenge us. Let us look first at that vitally important
goal; our attaining to spiritual maturity.
In writing to the Colossians, Paul expresses the climactic
purpose of his ministry with these words,
"Him (Christ) we preach and proclaim, warning and
admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in
all wisdom that, we may present every person mature;
full-grown, fully initiated, complete and perfect;
in Christ, the Anointed One." Col 1:28 Amplified NT.
Then he adds,
"For this I labor, unto weariness, striving with
all the superhuman energy which He so mightily
enkindles and works within me." Col 1:29 ANT.
To the Philippians, he wrote,
"And I am convinced and sure of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you will continue
until the day of Jesus Christ, developing, and
perfecting, and bringing it to full completion
in you." Phil 1:6 ANT.
How meaningful are his words to the Churches in Galatia,
"My little children, for whom I am again suffering
birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently
formed (molded) within you.” Gal 4:19 ANT.
Our receiving “Christ in you” at salvation, gives
us justification unto eternal life; but “Christ formed
(molded) within you” speaks of a progressive growth
unto complete sanctification, until the goal of Romans 8:29
is finally reached,
"For those whom He foreknew, He also destined from
the beginning to be molded into the image of His
Son, and share inwardly His likeness, that He might
become the first-born among many brethren.” ANT.
The word “abortion” is defined as "a failure
in any thing during progress and before maturity; to fail
of complete development.” This brings to mind Luke 8:14,
"And as for what fell among thorns, these are
the people who hear, but as they go on their
way, they are choked and suffocated with the
anxieties, and cares, and riches, and pleasures
of life, and their fruit does not ripen; come
to maturity and perfection." ANT.
Notice that there is fruit, but this fruit neither ripens
nor comes to maturity. The Gospel of Mark gives the stages
of development that will lead us into spiritual maturity,
"The earth produces by itself, first the
blade, then the ear, then the full grain
in the ear." Mark 4:28 ANT.
Let us take heed lest we abort the growth of the Seed (Christ)
in our experience.
Another goal that we are to embrace is that of “unity.”
The word "together” is a key word in Paul's letter
to the Ephesian church. He stresses first our togetherness
with Christ, and then goes on to tell us that we are “built
together” (welded together) as an habitation of God
through the Spirit."
This unity goes far beyond our emotional feelings, our being
members of the same church, or any other human relationship.
The Word of God calls it "The Unity of the Spirit."
We read in Ephesians 4:3,
"Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and
keep the harmony and oneness of the Spirit,
in the binding power of peace" ANT.
We, in ourselves, cannot produce such a unity. Jesus fully
accomplished it at Calvary. It was demonstrated on the day
of Pentecost and in the early church; but we of His Church
today are admonished to guard and keep it.
The most familiar words on this great goal are found in the
prayer of Jesus to the Father, which we read in John 17:23,
"I in them and You in Me, in order that they may
become one and perfectly united, that the world
may know and recognize that You sent Me, and that
You have loved them, even as You have loved Me.” ANT.
This is more than an inner spiritual union. Rather, it is
a union which the world can observe, in order that they might
know that our Saviour was indeed the Sent One.
Finally, there is the goal found in Ephesians 4:11-13; An
This last goal is clearly summed up in Ephesians 4:13, which
connects it with the first goal,
"... that we might arrive at really mature manhood;
the completeness of personality which is nothing less
than the standard height of Christ's own perfection;
the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
and the completeness found in Him." ANT.
As the priests under the old covenant had to be washed, clothed,
and anointed; in order for them to minister unto the Lord,
and on behalf of Israel, even so, we who have been washed
need the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as never before, to
minister unto the Lord, on the behalf of the Church and the
As we rightly respond, these three goals will help us to
keep moving forward, and growing both spiritually, and numerically,
into full spiritual maturity.