God the Father desires that all of the believers, as His children, would not remain babes but would grow in Christ to match Him in life, nature, expression, and function (John 1:12-13; Eph. 4:14; 1 Pet. 2:2). The issue of this growth is that the believers corporately arrive at a “full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” which is the built-up Body of Christ as the one new man (Eph. 4:13, 16, 24). Although God is ultimately after such a consummate, corporate expression of Himself, it is the process of growth that is crucial to our experience today and to which we must pay close attention. As we shall see here, we grow by holding to truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
For centuries the strategy of Satan has been to stir up “waves” and “every wind of teaching”, including empty doctrines, natural concepts, opinions, and even biblical teachings in order to inhibit the believers’ growth and carry them away from Christ and the church, the central thought of the Bible (Eph. 4:13, 1:22-23; 1 Tim. 1:3-4). To safeguard against these waves and winds of teachings, the Apostle Paul urges the believers to hold to truth in love, which is to hold to Christ and His Body in the love of God (Eph. 4:15). Although some may care for secular ideologies and others may care for scriptural items such as foot-washing, we must be those who care for the two central matters that constitute the fundamental truth in the Bible – Christ and the church, His Body. Anything else can distract us and eventually carry us away from this central matter in God’s economy (1 Tim. 1:3-7). As we hold to truth, which is Christ and His Body, in the love of Christ we grow into Christ as our head in all things, and this growth constitutes the building up of the Body in love (Eph. 4:16).
The growth of the believers today needs to be firstly “in all things,” and secondly in the Body. To grow up into Christ in all things is to allow the divine element of Christ to increase within every aspect of our being and our living (1 Cor. 15:10; Col. 2:19). Our speaking is a clear example of a “thing” in which we need to grow into the head. Every word we speak should pass through the throne before it comes out of our mouth (Psalms 141:3). Our individualistic nature, our driving, our behavior at work, and our living before our family are other “things” in which we need to grow up into Christ by allowing Him to head us up in those areas of our heart. Furthermore, the fact that we are growing into the Head indicates that our growth must be in the Body. Any kind of apparent growth that is not into the Head is outside of the Body and may cause us to become critical and dissenting, independent of both Christ and the church.
In order to fulfill God’s desire that His children would grow in life to express Him and represent Him, we must hold to truth in love that we may grow up in all things into the Head, Christ. By holding to the truth, which is Christ and the church, we allow Christ to saturate every part of our being with the divine element and thus grow up in all things into the Head within the realm of the Body. The proper individual growth issues in the corporate growth of the Body, which will continue until we all arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, which is the built-up Body, the one new man (Eph. 4:15, 13, 24).
Witness Lee, The Completing Ministry of Paul, Chapter 9 (Print).
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)