Mature Manhood

Compare Colossians 1:28

[Christ] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ

with Ephesians 4:11-13

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors 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 fulness of Christ...

Presenting everyone mature in Colossians means Paul labouring and toiling with all God's energy so that people have "the riches of the glory of the mystery." This is defined as "Christ in you, the hope of glory." That is the definition of Christian maturity in this verse. The job of leaders and preachers is to get everyone to bank all their hope, all their ambition, all plans and decisions on Christ, their hope of glory. Knowing, as we do so, that he will indwell them and transform them, by the Holy Spirit.

Keep the idea that MATURITY = CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY in your mind with regards to the Ephesians passage. In Ephesians we are told that ministries are given to the church so that it builds itself up in love. So that it grows towards mature manhood and away from fickle infancy.

What is mature manhood? Let's keep "Christ in you, the hope of glory" as our working definition. Ephesians adds some deatils about how the process comes about. It says we stop being children who are carried about by each wind of doctrine through having the truth spoken in love. Children are those who aren't stabilised by correct doctrine. God has given the Ephesians 4 ministries to the Church to develop manhood and take people out of childhood. The ministries are about implanting, teaching and witnessing to the true teaching of Christ.

What does it mean, therefore, for the saints to be equipped for the work of ministry? Being equipped in Ephesians 4 means living in right doctrine, growing to mature mahood - which is Christ in you, the hope of glory - unity in the faith with other believers and knowledge of the Son of God.