Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Note - October 5

On Sunday I brought up one of my favorite principles of the New Testament letters – that moral imperatives are grounded in redemptive indicatives. As I said, that’s a fancy way of saying that commands of obedience are first rooted in truths of salvation. Or, to put it another way, we obey God because of what God has already done in Christ. We love because He first loved us. The principle is important because it shows that God does not give us a list of commands in a vacuum. Rather, He always first provides the truth and reality of salvation. Think of the ten commandments. They don’t start with commandments. Rather, they start with a reminder that God is the one who redeemed the Israelites out of Egypt. This puts everything in the right priority and order. God saves first. Then, because of God’s salvation, we follow in obedience. It is not the other way around – that we obey God and then God saves us. That would be salvation by works. And that is antithetical to the gospel. The gospel teaches us that God saves not by our works, but His, and through Christ. So God’s work in salvation always comes before our work in following and obedience. And His work in salvation provides the motivation, power, reason, and ability for our work in obedience. So, as you read the New Testament – especially the epistles and the letters of Paul – watch for this pattern. Look for the commands and demands of Scripture. Once you find those, then look closely by for the “redemptive indicative.” You will see it again in this Sunday’s text. Wherever there is a call for obedience, there is a reminder that God has already been at work for you in Christ.

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