Johnson On How To Preach The Imperatives

Since the grace of the exodus set the context for the stipulations that Israel was to observe as the Lord’s servant, how much more should Christian preachers expound those many biblical texts that shine the spotlight on the responsibilities of God’s covenant servants (whether commandments, wisdom maxims, or narratives that profile faithful or unfaithful responses to the Lord of the covenant) by calling attention to God’s gracious provision of Jesus, the Servant who kept covenant commandments and bore covenant curses in our place! But our exposition of imperative texts does not stop with what Christ has done for us; it also extends to what Christ, by his Word and Spirit, is doing in us. In the context of his achievement of our redemption, the Spirit’s gracious, persistent application of redemption in our sanctification is good news as well.

Dennis Johnson | Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures, ed. John J. Hughes (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2007), 267.


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  1. Yes. I always hopefully help saints to understand that Christ not only gave His life for us, but also to us by which we live out the Christian life. I’m afraid it’s not preached enough therefore many Christians are striving to live out their Christian lives by trying to be worry of what Christ has done from themselves.

  2. Thank you for posting this quote from D.E.Johnson’s book, Him We Proclaim.

    I have been confused by the lack of distinction regarding Imperative, Indicative, and PERFECT verbs in sermons. This quote seems to distinguish between something that I must do (a work) from something Christ’s Spirit is actually doing in me. Is this correct?

    Since I have this book on Kindle the pagination is wildly different – from which chapter is this quote taken?

    Also, what is the exposition of Passive Imperatives, such as Eph 5:18 “Be Filled” with the Spirit


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