The Berean Expositor
Volume 14 - Page 78 of 167
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#70.
The Measure of the Gift of Christ (Eph. 4: 7-11).
pp. 86 89
The unity of the Spirit is followed by the diversity of its members. In the unity the
emphasis is upon the fact that there is one body, one Spirit, and one Lord of all; but in
the next section, which comes under the heading "The measure" (see structure, page 49),
the theme is the variety of the gifts of the Lord, and the individual responsibility of each
member to use the gift as unto the Lord.
We feel a necessity here to correct a wrong impression which our remarks may give.
The gift of Christ which is here the "measure" must not be confounded with the "gifts"
possessed by the early church. If we omit the parenthesis of verses 8-10, we shall find
that the gifts are specially qualified men, and not "gifts" to individuals:--
"But unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ
. . . . . and He gave some, apostles (not apostolic gifts); and some, prophets (not the gift
of prophecy); and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers" (Eph. 4: 7, 11).
This fourfold ministry must be looked upon as the gift of the ascended Christ to the
church of the one body, and viewed in a different light from the gifts distributed by the
Holy Spirit among the saints during the period of the Acts. Gifts of persons rather than
gifts to persons seems to express the difference. There is, however, one thing common to
all the gifts, whether of the earlier or later dispensations. In Eph. 4: 7 it is indicated by
the word "measure"; in Rom. 12: 6 the same principle is found in the word "differing",
in I Cor. 12: 11 it is indicated by the word "severally"; in Matt. 25: 15 it is seen in
the expression "several ability". Let us see these verses together:--
"But unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of
Christ" (Eph. 4: 7).
"Having then gifts different according to the grace that is given to us, whether
prophecy, let us prophecy according to the proportion of faith" (Rom. 12: 6).
"But all these worketh that one and self-same Spirit, dividing to every severally as He
will" (I Cor. 12: 11).
"And unto one He gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to everyone
according to his several ability" (Matt. 25: 15).
There is great comfort here in the midst of this atmosphere of responsibility. While
the Lord expected the man who had five talents to produce another five talents, He was
just as pleased with the man who had produced two talents with his two. And had the
servant who had but one talent produced another one, he too would have received the
"well done", and have entered into the joy of his Lord. It is evident that the principle of
"percentage" is recognized by the Lord. The apostle is under the great responsibility of
rightly using the apostolic gift, but we who have no such gift need not feel concerned
because our experiences and the results of our labours do not appear comparable with
those of the apostle. If we are as faithful as the great apostle in any small degree, the
"well done" is equally assured. Therefore let us not merely think of the gift, but also of
the "measure of the gift", and according to that measure seek to fulfil the purpose and
good pleasure of the Lord.