Remembering as a Prerequisite to Holy Living

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Many people have pointed out the fact that the book of Ephesians has 41 imperatives (commands) in Greek. Only 1 is found in the first three chapters and 40 are found in the last three chapters. Before Paul gives guidelines for living the Christian life (chapters 4-6) he loads them up on truths about what God has done for us through Christ (chapters 1-3). The only imperative in the first three chapters is found in 2:11 where Paul encourages them to “remember.” The “remember” in 2:12 is supplied to make the reading more smooth.

What I gather from Paul’s strategy in Ephesians is that we cannot live holy lives unless we understand what God has done for us through Christ and unless we remember. The hinge verse 4:1 reads as follows, “As a prisoner of the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received…” Once you understand what God has done for you, the urging to let that knowledge result in holiness begins. The old saying goes, “Exodus before Sinai.” God didn’t give the Israelites a bunch of rules while they were still in Egypt. He only gave them the Law after he had graciously released them and started forming a relationship with them. In the same way Paul didn’t give them chapters 4-6 and all those commands first. He only did so after he had reminded them of God’s gracious acts on their behalf. Once you realize what God has released you from you should want to live for him. But all the teaching in the world does little good unless we remember.

Let us remember what God has done for us and let that spur us on to live holy lives.

0 Responses

  1. Great.

    The rules, in effect, are guidlines to how we enjoy the freedom in Christ that we have voluntarily accepted.

    An excellent reminder.

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