Christ gave those gifts to prepare God's holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.
This work must continue until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son of God. We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection.
Then we will no longer be babies. We will not be tossed about like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to fool us. They make plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong path.
No! Speaking the truth with love, we will grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head.
The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love.
In the Lord's name, I tell you this. Do not continue living like those who do not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing.
They do not understand, and they know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives.
They have lost all feeling of shame, and they use their lives for doing evil. They continually want to do all kinds of evil.
But what you learned in Christ was not like this.
I know that you heard about him, and you are in him, so you were taught the truth that is in Jesus.
You were taught to leave your old self -- to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do.