Imperatives in Ephesians


In Ephesians, as with most of Paul’s letters there are a number of Imperatives. If you compare the number of Imperative verbs in the book of Ephesians against the number of words in the letter you get about 1.6% of the words in the letter consisting of direct commands. If you compare them to the number of imperatives in James it’s not all that impressive I suppose (see the chart below) but the foundation of the imperatives in Ephesians is significant. The foundation of the imperatives in Ephesians is the overwhelming grace of God. Since God has lavished grace on you what should you do?
Just look at the list:

  • Ephesians 2:11 Remember that we were formerly gentiles in the flesh
  • Ephesians 4:25 Speak truth to your neighbor
  • Ephesians 4:26 Be Angry, Do not sin in your anger, Don’t let the sun go down on your anger
  • Ephesians 4:27 Don’t Give the Devil an Opportunity
  • Ephesians 4:28 Thieves must stop stealing and must start working (changed behavior)
  • Ephesians 4:29 Do not let unwholesome words out of your mouth.
  • Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
  • Ephesians 4:31 Put away bitterness, wrath and anger
  • Ephesians 4:32 Become kind to one another
  • Ephesians 5:1 Become like God
  • Ephesians 5:2 Walk in love
  • Ephesians 5:3 Immorality etc. must not be named among you.
  • Ephesians 5:5 You must know that [sinners] have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.
  • Ephesians 5:6 Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty words.
  • Ephesians 5:7 Don’t be partakers with [the deceivers]
  • Ephesians 5:8 WALK as children of light!
  • Ephesians 5:11 Don’t participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, rather expose them
  • Ephesians 5:14 [the OT quote is a command to WAKE]
  • Ephesians 5:15 Watch how you walk
  • Ephesians 5:17 don’t become fools, understand the will of the Lord.
  • Ephesians 5:18 Don’t be drunkbe filled with the Spirit.
  • Ephesians 5:25 Husbands LOVE your wives
  • Ephesians 5:33 Each husband must love his own wife! (very intriguing that this is repeated)
  • Ephesians 6:1 You children must obey your parents
  • Ephesians 6:2 O.T. quote:”Honor your father and mother”
  • Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, don’t provoke your children [to anger], but raise them in godliness
  • Ephesians 6:5 obey your masters
  • Ephesians 6:9 Masters do the same things! (see context)
  • Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the strength of the Lord
  • Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God
  • Ephesians 6:13 Take up the full armor of God
  • Ephesians 6:14 Stand firm
  • Ephesians 6:17 Receive the helmet of salvation

That’s a significant list all of it flowing out of the imputed righteousness of Christ, the product of predestined grace!