Saturday, January 18, 2014

Contrary Kingdom

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:11-16
Contrary to the ideals of American heritage in which we focus on the individual, Paul begins by focusing on the community and on our corporate life together (4:1-16). Then, and only then, from 4:17 onwards, does he deal with day-to-day life as individuals. Even then, he is concerned largely with relationships. Individualism runs strong in Western culture and the American dream. We exalt the individual who can rise from circumstances of great deprivation or poverty and excel in sports, education, or acting, to become a national idol or even the president. There is, however, a strong emphasis in this text, as well as elsewhere in the Scriptures, on our belonging to a community and on our corporate role and responsibilities before considering our role as individuals.

--Stephen J. Wellum and Peter J. Gentry, Kingdom through Covenant

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