A short New Testament Greek lesson may help us better appreciate Paul’s message to the church.
The indicative mood presents the action or the event as something real or certain, in other words as an objective fact.
The verb form used both in English and Greek to give commands is called imperative.
When Paul gives a command (imperative mood), he essentially tells the church “become what you are” or what is an established fact (indicative mood).
Real and Certain Events
This is a sample summary of events that are real and certain concerning the person and work of Christ.
— Colossians 1.15-16 – He is the image of the invisible God . . . for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.
— Colossians 1.19 – For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
— Colossians 2.3-4 – Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Followers of Jesus can identify real and certain events that apply to them.
— Colossians 1.13-14 – He [Jesus] has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
— Colossians 1.21-22 – And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
He has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him.
— Colossians 1.27 – Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Applying the Facts
There is a certain assurance that followers of Jesus can rely upon.
(1) Jesus is the ultimate power in the universe. We can fully rely on Jesus for everything that pertains to life.
(2) Our status dramatically changed the day we made the decision to follow Jesus in faith.
With these truths in mind, we should challenge ourselves to live up to who we are in a relationship with Christ.
In theological language, the indicative is the foundation of the imperative.
In other words, we should become what we are!
In the early verses of Colossians, Paul stated the indicative – the facts of who Jesus is and the change in our lives that a relationship with him produces.
He now applies the indicative and commands certain behavior from followers of Jesus (the imperative).
Colossians 2.6-7 – As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to walk in him,
Rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
We can paraphrase Paul’s message, “Since Jesus has made such a profound difference in your life (the indicative), now show it by how you conduct your life (the imperative).”
Colossians 2 and 3 outline what the Christian’s “walk” will look like. The next few articles will unpack essential elements of the Christian walk.
When we “become what we are” in our Christian walk, we will find ourselves rooted and grounded in a relationship with Jesus.
If you have ever attempted to remove the roots of a tree, you know the importance of deep roots.
I drove along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi a year after Hurricane Camille ravaged that area.
Large ships were beached on the shore and motels were swept off their foundations like Monopoly pieces thrown to the floor.
What remained were old gnarled trees that had stood the test of time. Their roots enabled them to withstand the second most powerful hurricane to ever hit the coast of the United States.
When we recognize who we are in Christ (the indicative) and become what we are (the imperative), we put down roots that enable us to withstand whatever comes our way.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. Rudy adds a great perspective to the discussion. You can listen to the video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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