“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature (teleios) manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The message in Scripture is that God created us in his image, which means he gave us an integrated collection of attributes that are a reflection of his own characteristics. At Creation these attributes in man functioned together in an integrated way. Man was fully teleios, which means whole, complete, and integrated.
However, at the Fall the attributes became disintegrated. The attributes continued to function, but in a distorted and broken way. Man was no longer teleios.
The good news, of course, is that through Christ we are reconciled to God, redeemed, and made new in the image of God. Through the process of spiritual growth and discipleship, teleios is being restored in our lives.
Because of its importance, I want to repeat something I wrote yesterday: Teleios is very specific; it is how God designed you to function and operate. It represents the wholeness of the image of God in you. You are at your best when you do your jobs with teleios, and when you love your family with teleios. This is not an abstract theological concept. It is practical, specific, day-to-day skill for how to live and work.
Consider the importance of just three of the attributes of God’s image in your life. Consider how much of your effectiveness at work and home is determined by the way you:
- Communicate and interact with others.
- Think and make decisions.
- Manage your emotions.
What happens at work or at home when you do not communicate clearly? What happens when you don’t invest the time to think effectively? What happens when you mismanage your emotions and are guided by deficient or defective impulses?
There is a teleios way to live and work, and there is a broken way to live and work. Jesus is in the process of restoring in us the teleios way.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3.17-18)