The pursuit of Christian unity (ecumenism) is a noble quest, but it doesn’t end with a unified church alone. The unity of Ephesians 4:1-6 leads to the maturity of Ephesians 4:7-16. The result of Christian unity ought to lead to authentic discipleship and conformity to the image of Christ for all involved. If not, then the unity we are pursuing might have lost its moorings.
The unity we embrace has substance – it is a unity of “faith” and “knowledge of God’s Son” (Eph 4:13). As a unified church we fix our gaze on our God and Savior, delighting in him as we grow to know and love him more and more.
Ours is a unity focused on the truth of Christ, with false portrayals of him being rejected (Eph 4:14). Our unity and growth brings theological maturity in the form of discernment and love for God’s truth.
The maturity we grow into is the maturity of Christ – “let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ” (Eph 4:15 – HCSB). As a unified church, our experience begins to reflect more and more the divine character and fullness of Christ, in whom all the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 2:9).
God has designed us to grow into maturity as a body, with each member contributing to growth – “From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part” (Eph 4:16).
Christian unity centered in Christ needs to be a top priority for the church. Without it, we can’t become who we were called to be.