The Indicative, Imperative and Promise.

The Trinity embodies the spiritual reality of three; Father, Son and Spirit. Some theologians have called them, The Lover, the Loved, and the Beloved. This is a template for God’s relationship to the world and also for the relationship between two friends or married lovers. Jay Mooney sparked a thought in me on the nature of the threefold nature of our walk in Christ.

In times of struggle or when we are in the valley we need to remember that more of Scripture is about telling us who we are than what we are to do. Throughout the Pauline letters Paul is constantly using the prepositional phrase – “in Christ.”

So this morning I wan to remind us that in ministry and in the Christian life we are supposed to put our justification before our sanctification. What does that look like? Our adopting, our union with Christ, our participation in the Kingdom of God when we are focused on our justification “in Christ,” only then can we truly discover our obedience. It is not simply to try harder and get stuck in the cycle of recommitment, struggle, rededication, spiritual fury and falling out. Remind yourself there is security, solidarity, and peace in the fact that you aren’t first the lover but the loved. He has saved you from your own darkness. Its who you in Him are first, what you do second and what he promises you (the reward) that’s third.

This has sometimes been called the indicative, the imperative and the promise.

The indicative is a statement of fact. In the Scripture it is the explanation of our present reality – why the world is the way it is – and also who we are. One of those realities is that God so loved the world.

The imperative is often part of our preaching but it takes up less space in the Scriptures. The imperative is a statement of command or duty. It’s a call to action based on our indicative state. It’s the “whosoever will believe on him” It’s the call to ignore the siren’s scream of compromise and take up ones cross to follow the Master. And finally there’s the promise.

The promise is predicated on the imperative. I like to think of the promise as an “If, then” if you will believe, then the promise for you is life ever lasting.

With that thought a couple of thoughts and passages to meditate on:

Father, Son and Spirit are the members of a divine community, unified by common divinity and singleness of purpose. The Trinity portrays God as a community of love and mutuality.

The Spirit is the loving, self-communicating, out-fanning, and outpouring presence of the eternal divine life of the triune God.

Persons in the Trinity are individuals in relationship and communion, not in isolation. The Divine Dance….

The Spirit is more than God’s presence: the Spirit is a Person in fellowship with, but distinct from, Father and Son. Called the Paraclete (Comforter) in John’s gospel, the Spirit is personal agent, teacher and friend.

The fact is that Christ did not first establish the church and add the Spirit secondly. As Jesus was conceived by he Spirit in Mary and empowered for mission in baptism, so the church is birthed in a baptism of water and fire. The Spirit is the womb of the church on the Day of Pentecost.

I use the sponge illustration with students to talk about Spirit Baptism. I always ask this question: Is the water in the sponge or the sponge in the water?


(Christ in me, Me in Christ) Walk in the Spirit, Spirit in Me.


1 Peter 2:10-12: “Once you were not a people, but now you are. Once you had not received mercy, now you have it. Friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live good lives…”

) The church rides the wind of God’s Spirit like a hawk endlessly and effortlessly circling and gliding in the summer sky. Isaiah 40:30-31: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Community is also central to the purpose of God because it allows the relationality of the Trinity to be reflected into the created order. The Spirit is the source of meaningful friendship among humans in history and the bond of love between Father and Son in eternity.

Karis, Charism, Charity….

Grace – Unmerited favor

Gift – grace freely given

Charity – The love of Neighbor (Second Greatest – According to Jesus)

Charity is the goal and impetus of human ingenuity.