“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)
One of the strongest statements of the Trinity in the Bible is found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He begins the letter by referring to the contribution of each of the three persons, God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, to our salvation. He tells us that each of the members of the Trinity engaged in an eternal plan to rescue us from sin and destruction. They cooperated with one another to ensure that we received eternal life.
The Trinity, however, is important for another reason. It helps us to understand our own meaning and identity as human beings. The Bible tells us that God created us “in His image” and it reminds us that the goal of our salvation is to be “conformed to the image of Christ” (Genesis 1:27, Romans 8:29). Here we learn that we are meant to relate to one another as God relates within Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God made us to enter into personal relationship with Him and with one another. This means that our supreme goal as Christians is to deepen our personal relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters.
Of course, the primary way that we build our personal relationships is through communication. The Scriptures remind us that speaking with one another is essential for our growth in personal relationships. So it’s not surprising that Paul reminds us that personal communication is the way that we are to “grow up in every way…into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). This means that we must all become involved in encouraging one another to grow in godliness through thoughtful and well-directed speech.
This is not always easy to do. In the modern church scene, people often have little commitment to others in their local congregation. They are often attracted to a stand-off form of Christianity which does not require the kind of self death that Jesus expects of his followers. These people go to church for what they can get – easy friendship, programs and the opportunity to feel good. They are always subconsciously asking a question: “What can church do for me?” They don’t want to get overly involved with other people’s problems.
However, Paul reminds us that our growth as persons always takes place in the context of the personal relationships within the body of Christ. This means that we must be committed to Christian conversations – offering words of challenge, stimulation, encouragement and edification to one another. It is through our conversations that we grow in spiritual maturity and advance God’s work in the local church. We are all called to be counsellors.