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In the seminar my wife and I attended last Saturday, the seminar speaker, Voddie Baucham, set forth three cardinal indicatives in the book of Ephesians. These three empower and motivate all the imperatives, which are found in chapters 4-6. These cardinal indicatives are:

  • Christ is the head of His body
  • The body has unity
  • The body brings glory to Christ

Let us look at each one individually.

First, it is not possible to read chapters 1-3 and fail to see the headship of Christ. While there are many allusions throughout the book, the conclusion of chapter 1, is sufficient to explicitly demonstrate Christ’s headship.

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (vv. 20-23).

The third of these three cardinal indicatives is found in many places, but especially in 1:6.

   To the praise of the glory of his grace” and in 3:21 “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Let us look more closely how the second indicative (the unity of the body) interacts with one of the imperatives, speaking the truth. We can see this several places but let us look specifically at 4:11-25.

The imperative is given positively, to speak the truth, in verse 15 and negatively, to put away lying, in verse 25. Immediately before Paul writes the imperative, he proclaims the work of Christ in the unity of the body in verse 13:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.

After Paul writes the imperative, he finishes with the same idea of unity in verse 25b, “for we are members one of another.” Paul presents the demand of the law enveloped, as it were, in the context of the unity of Christ’s body. Paul says, in effect, ye are one; do not act to injure the unity that Christ has provided, ye are one.

Taken as a whole, the message is: Christ is head over the Church and ye are one in Christ thereby to glorify Christ; therefore, do not act against the unity of Christ’s body by lying but, rather, reflect the unity of the Church and the headship of Christ by speaking the truth in love, for in so doing, you glorify Christ your head.

Grace leads to law-keeping. It is neither the other way around, nor does grace lead to disregard of the law.

Eph 5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light”.

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