As I continue to read Because He Loves Me, I again highly recommend this book. The first half of the book spoke of who we are in Christ and reminded us what salvation is and what it has accomplished for all who believe.
In chapter 7 the author begins to describe our responsibilities as well. Now, I am a pastors wife, have served on the mission field and have my master’s degree from seminary, but I have never so fully grasped and understood or seen it so easily explained as the author did in this chapter. In chapter 7 Elyse describes the indicative vs the imperatives of Scripture and why this is so important. As I began to grasp this and discuss this with my husband I got so excited and sat down immediately with my Bible and began to pick apart the book of Colossians looking for all the indicative and imperatives.
Now for those of you who are not reading this book, an indicative is the “actuality” of who we are in Christ. The indicative tell us what Jesus has done and accomplished. The imperatives are the “commands”. These tell us as Christians the things we are to do. Yet, as the author pointed out, we do the imperatives not to earn salvation or to add to. We do the imperatives because of the indicative. I’m sure I have lost many of you, but bare with me, because this is so good.
So in my study of Colossians, Paul begins the first 2 chapters focussing on the indicative, what Christ has done.
1:13-14 “For He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
1:19-20 “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross, through Him..
1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.
2:10-12 and in Him you have been made complete and His is the head over all rule and authority and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
2: 13-14 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out-of-the-way, having nailed it to the cross.
Then in chapters 3 and 4 He lets us know because of what Christ has done, the imperatives or commands we are to do.
3:1-4 Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3:8 Put aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech from your moth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according the the image of the One who created Him.
3:12-16 Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other………… Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts, be thankful, let the word of Christ richly dwell with in you, teaching and admonishing one another.
3:18-21 Wives be subject to your husband, Husbands love your wives, children obey your parents, Fathers don’t exasperate and slaves obey.
4:2-5 Devote yourself to prayer. Keep an attitude of thanks, pray for open doors for the spread of the Gospel, conduct yourselves with wisdom to outsiders, and let your speech always be with grace.
Now, I’m sure I missed some indicative statements and imperatives, but you get the point. The indicative tell us who we are in Christ, they tell us what we have been saved from, they let us know what Christ has accomplished. These fuel the imperatives. Paul begins the letter to the Ephesians in a similar way, the first few chapters full of the indicative, followed by the imperatives. Why? Because this is so very important. So often we seek to obey and fulfill the imperatives, the commands of God. We try in our strength and fail. We are motivated by self to be a good person and fail. We want to do whats right so we try and we fail. The imperatives can’t fully be realized apart from the indicative. Paul begins these and other letter telling us who we are in Christ. He does this first, hoping we will grasp the greatness of our God, praying we will understand what Christ has accomplished and how great a salvation we have. He wants us to understand the fathers great love and be motivated by this.
Paul got it, He understood who he was in Christ, he understood what he had been saved from and the great salvation he had received. Because of this, he lived a life motivated by these things which fueled his obedience to the imperative or the commands. He knew whatever the Lord asked was worth it. He recognized what Christ had already accomplished through him and that because of this, he could obey, he could count it joy, he could suffer and praise the Lord. He could do all this and more, because Christ was in Him.
Colossians 2:29 “For this purpose also I labor striving according to His power, which mightily works within me!!”
Paul knew the imperatives were attainable because the indicative were already accomplished. Oh if we could only like Paul grasp the great salvation. If we could fully understand the Fathers great love toward us. If we could fathom the reality of what we have truly been saved from. Then we would indeed be motivated to do whatever He asked of us. No longer would we have to beg people to step up and serve, no longer would we have to guilt people into doing the things of God, no longer would we have such a small amount of people leaving houses and lands to go to the mission field. People would be lining up to go, lining up to serve.
I know I have not fully attained this and don’t want to pretend I have. Yet, I truly desire to grasp the deep, deep love of Jesus. I truly desire to understand who I am in Christ and what I have been saved for. For I truly believe when we understand this, our love for Him will grow and as it grows we will desire to live a life worthy of the Lord in all areas of our life.