Equipping the Saints
“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” Eph. 4:12
This is a most significant scripture and to fully understand it, we need to return back to Eph. 4:8, which is from Psalm 68:18. It reads, “Therefore He says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”
Since Psalm 68 is a Messianic Psalm, it speaks of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ – which effectively took captivity captive and gave gifts to men. This is an indication of the VICTORY secured by the Lord: He took the enemy hostage. Christ’s work and victory provided gifts for us to experience His victory in our own lives and share it with others.
Let’s return to Eph. 4:12 and seek to understand this text in context. Verse 11 addressed how Jesus gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for a purpose. The purpose is made clear in Eph 4:12:
- For the equipping of the saints;
- For the work of the ministry; and,
- For the edifying of the body of Christ.
The equipping of the saints can be viewed as the perfecting of all believers. Therefore, Jesus places some among the body to equip, train, and perfect the entire body. The saints are being equipped to do the work of the ministry, that each one has been called to do. It is important that we know in our spirits the work of the ministry that we have been called by the Lord to do. It is easy (sometimes!) to do a “good work” but is it a “God-work?” “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it,” according to 1 Thess. 5:24. Often times the Lord will use those He has placed to work through in the equipping and discipleship process.
The third aspect of this purpose is for the edifying of the body of Christ. Paul is describing the process of edifying, or building up, the church.