Indicatives & Imperatives 9


This twin epistle of Ephesians, and one of the four prison epistles, repeats several recurring themes in that letter. It focuses on Christ as the Cornerstone of his church, where church is not a building but a body of people indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Paul urges all believers to be rooted in Christ, living our daily lives –at home, at work and at play – with him foremost in everything. To do anything else is inconsistent, and would be choosing to live our lives without him, completely ignoring this amazing gift.



 The Indicatives

(emphasis added)

Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. (1:6)

For He 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. (1:13-14)

The Son was there before anything was made. And all things continue because of him. He is the head of the body, which is the church. He is the beginning of everything else. And he is the first among all who will be raised from death. So in everything he is most important. God was pleased for all of himself to live in the Son. (1:15-19)

You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. (1:21-22)

God decided to let his people know just how rich and glorious that truth is. That secret truth, which is for all people, is that Christ lives in you, his people. He is our hope for glory. (1:27)

In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (2:3)

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (2:9-10)

In Christ you had a different kind of circumcision, one that was not done by human hands. That is, you were made free from the power of your sinful self. That is the kind of circumcision Christ does. (2:11)

For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. (2:12-14)

Our relationship with Christ has given us the freedom to choose. We no longer are chained to our former, unfruitful lives of being run by our opinions and feelings. If we cling to the Spirit, we are assured, not of a pain-free life, but of the constant accompaniment that leads to discernment, hope, wisdom, correction, mercy, everlasting love and life, and peace beyond comprehension. It will lead to our true colors as we mature in our identity in Christ. (For more on our true colors in Christ, see God is Revealing Our True Colors on In My Father’s House by Mel Wild.)


The Imperatives

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. (1:23)

Don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services or holy days [or head coverings or tattoos or what to wear to church – my addition]. (2:16)

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they are of no value in conquering a person’s evil desires. (2:20-23)

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, 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. (3:1-2) [More on this in two weeks on Philippians.]

Therefore, put to death whatever is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry. (3:5)

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. (3:8)

I can’t help but point out that nearly every time Paul mentions sexual immorality, he also remarks upon covetousness and filthy language. He doesn’t single out one as more egregious than the other, but links them together as equal forms of idolatry. It seems we should take note.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (3:12-13)

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (3:14)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. (3:15)

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. (3:18-21) [For more on this, see Ephesians 2]

Servants, obey those who are your earthly masters; whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Masters, treat your servants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. (3:22-23, 4:1)

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (4:2)

Use your heads as you live and work among unbelievers. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down or cut them off. (4:5-6)

You see, none of this comes down to whether we get or don’t get tattoos; whether we’re Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, or Pentecostal; whether we believe in a rapture or believe heaven is coming to earth.

It all comes down to whether we believe in the gospel of Jesus and walk it out in our daily lives. He came to earth in the form of God to redeem all of creation. He preached repentance, love and mercy, forgave our sins, saved us by dying on the cross, rose again to conquer death, returned to the Father and sits by His side. With the free gift of grace He abides in us through the Holy Spirit until He returns to us again.


  1. It would do alot of folks good to read God’s Word for themselves and follow the word of God. To many folks following someone else Susan. Jesus has made the way for us. Trust and obey, God will do the rest. I enjoyed the reminder its not what you wear but what’s in your heart. Keep the eyes on Jesus and his word. God speed Susan.

    Much love Tom


    1. Absolutely agree, Tom. I so wish everyone would get a study Bible that has the words of Jesus in red words. If we’d all take the time to read and study what he said rather than listen to someone else’s interpretation of what he said, we’d realize he emphasized love and acceptance, grace and mercy for all.

      Love and blessings to you, my brother.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Acceptance for all yes. However tolerence for living in sin and using God’s saving grace as a excuse to do so no. The book of Jude explains this well. We are called to live a holy life separate from the world’s thinking. We also must love others and be kind not judging others. This is how we win them to Christ. God will do the judging. We have to be careful not to allow ourselves to write our own bibles salvation, but read the word of God and trusty Holy Spirit to reveal the word to us. Carolyn and I both were talking today that the closes thing to God’s heart is the lost person. It is of the upmost importance to reach these folks for Christ. This brings Glory to God. Thank you for allowing me to preach on your blog. I will stop now. Susan may God reveal his love to all of us that we may know him and his will.
        Thank you for laboring for the Lord.

        Much love Tom


      2. Oh, Tom, you can preach here any time! Consider it an open invitation. I absolutely agree with what you’re sayin’. You have such a gracious way about you, and after all, you’re a part of my church, man. I think you wrote the keys to the kingdom: “We also must love others and be kind not judging others.” As I say often when you comment here, Tom, Amen brother. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh bless you Susan your kindness and grace is evident of who lives within you. Glory to God.


  2. Another good one, Susan! Colossians, like Ephesians, is so over-the-top on telling us about the real us. Our life is now literally placed inside Christ’s all-encompassing life. And we walk in it, not by striving, but by simple believing. It’s effortless rest in Him.
    And I love how you ended this. Amen and amen! It’s not the outer stuff, what church we go to…it’s what’s going on inside our hearts. It’s letting the Father love through us–that’s true unity of the Spirit. Blessings.


    1. Thanks, Mel. It’s amazing how much intimacy I feel toward Him through the writing of this series. The gospel is so pure, so beautiful – when it is unobscured by dogma or other stumbling blocks, it’s a welcome light by which to warm our hearts and lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is so true.


  3. Dave Burns · ·

    Reblogged this on Uncarvedbooks.


    1. Thank you and bless you, Dave.


      1. Dave Burns · ·

        Likewise : )


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