Tag Archives: Indicative and Imperative

“We are equally delighted to preach good high practice and to insist upon it” by Charles Spurgeon

“The word ‘conversation’ does not merely mean our talk and converse one with another, but the whole course of our life and behaviour in the world. The Greek word signifies the actions and the privileges of citizenship, and we are to let our whole citizenship, our actions as citizens of the new Jerusalem, be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.

Observe, dear friends, the difference between the exhortations of the legalists and those of the gospel. He who would have you perfect in the flesh, exhorts you to work that you may be saved, that you may accomplish a meritorious righteousness of your own, and so may be accepted before God.

But he who is taught in the doctrines of grace, urges you to holiness for quite another reason. He believes that you are saved, since you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he speaks to as many as are saved in Jesus, and then he asks them to make their actions conformable to their position; he only seeks what he may reasonably expect to receive.

‘Let your conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ. You have been saved by it, you profess to glory in it, you desire to extend it; let then your conversation be such as becometh it.’

The one, you perceive, bids you to work that you may enter heaven by your working; the other exhorts you to labour because heaven is yours as the gift of divine grace, and he would have you act as one who is made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.

Some persons cannot hear an exhortation without at once crying out that we are legal. Such persons will always find this Tabernacle the wrong place for them to feed in.

We are delighted to preach good high doctrine, and to insist upon it that salvation is of grace alone; but we are equally delighted to preach good high practice and to insist upon it, that that grace which does not make a man better than his neighbours, is a grace which will never take him to heaven, nor render him acceptable before God.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Gospel’s Power in a Christian’s Life,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 11 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865), 11: 399. Spurgeon was preaching on Philippians 1:27.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Charles Spurgeon, Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“Indicatives are always the foundation for imperatives” by Sinclair Ferguson

“We have noticed several times already the importance of the shape of the New Testament’s teaching on sanctification and our devotion to God. No matter which apostle’s writings we examine, the same pattern is present with an identical undergirding structure.

Exhortations to be holy are always derived from an exposition of what God has done and provided for us in Christ and through the gift of the Spirit. Indicatives are always the foundation for imperatives even if they appear in the reverse order.

God never throws us back to rely upon ourselves and our own resources. He encourages us rather to grow up as Christians by digging down ever more deeply into the riches of His grace in Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is the rich and fertile soil in which Christian holiness puts down strong roots, grows tall and bears the fruit of the Spirit.

Thus the New Testament always links two things together in an important piece of spiritual logic. The new situation creates the new lifestyle:

God has been or done this–therefore you should be or do that.

Or:

Be this, or become that–because this is who God is and what He has done.”

–Sinclair Ferguson, Devoted To God: Blueprints For Sanctification (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2016), 93.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Holiness, Jesus Christ, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, Sinclair Ferguson, The Gospel

“An utter travesty of the Gospel” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Here is something which is truly important, and something which is basic and fundamental to the whole Christian position. The order in which these things are put is absolutely vital. The Apostle does not ask us to do anything until he has first of all emphasized and repeated what God has done for us in Christ.

How often have men given the impression that to be Christian means that you display in your life a kind of general belief of faith, and then you add to it virtue and knowledge and charity! To them the Christian message is an exhortation to us to live a certain type of life, and an exhortation to put these things into practice.

But that is an utter travesty of the Gospel. The Christian Gospel in the first instance does not ask us to do anything. It first of all proclaims and announces to us what God has done for us.

The first statement of the Gospel is not an exhortation to action or to conduct and behavior. Before man is called upon to do anything, he must have received something. Before God calls upon a man to put anything into practice, He has made it possible for man to put it into practice.”

— D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,  Expository Sermons on 2 Peter (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 23-24.

1 Comment

Filed under 2 Peter, Christian Theology, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Jesus Christ, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel