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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Tense Mood of Lordship

and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority--Colossians 2:10

We've explored nearly every element of "sunegerio." After examining the definition, we evaluated the voice, person and number. These are not silly grammar games, but an exercise in faith...believing that every word is inspired and intentional.

The Tense Mood of Lordship

συνηγερθητε is found in the aorist tense/indicative mood. ntgreek.org explains:
The aorist is said to be "simple occurrence" or "summary occurrence", without regard for the amount of time taken to accomplish the action. This tense is also often referred to as the 'punctiliar' tense. 'Punctiliar' in this sense means 'viewed as a single, collective whole,' a "one-point-in-time" action, although it may actually take place over a period of time. In the indicative mood the aorist tense denotes action that occurred in the past time, often translated like the English simple past tense.
The indicative mood is a statement of fact or an actual occurrence from the writer's or speaker's perspective. Even if the writer is lying, he may state the action as if it is a fact, and thus the verb would be in the indicative mood. It may be action occurring in past, present, or future time. This 'statement of fact' can even be made with a negative adverb modifying the verb (see the second example).
This is in contrast to one of the other moods (see below) in which the writer/speaker may desire or ask for the action to take place.
It is important to note that Paul does not say we are being raised up with Christ, nor does he say we will be raised up with Christ. You have been raised up with Christ.

The Papists miss this critical point. They could not say "you have been raised up with Christ," for they believe it is a cooperative process. Their works must participate with Christ's work as "they are being raised up with Christ." Ultimately, even this breaks down since purgatory is where "you will some day get raised up with Christ."

As protestants, we claim to know better. "You have been raised up with Christ" means the event has happened, it's over, done, finished. We may get that our justification was a past event, but we miss why Paul is making that point. Paul directs our mind to our past justification because he is calling us to present focus on His Lordship. If you have been raised up with Christ, the expectation is that you will keep your eyes on His Lordship. But too often we affirm justification and hope in glorification, yet we ignore sanctification.

Oddly enough, while we treat the unbeliever as if they are a believer, we often treat the believer as if he were an unbeliever. We no longer expect sanctification. We don't call people to speak of Christ as Lord, let alone obey Him as Lord. Who speaks of mortification of sin anymore?
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.--Philippians 1:6 (emphasis mine)
Now at this point, it is important to again remind us that "sunegerio" is in the past tense, indicative mood. We do not pursue sanctification because we fear losing our justification. We have already been raised up with Christ and that cannot be lost. (A point I am so thankful our fellowship has always clearly stated!) Sanctification is not about keeping our salvation, but is about examining ourselves to see if we are saved.

We may affirm sanctification doctrinally, but deny it practically in a number of ways:

Revision: There are a number of ways a church denies the doctrine of sanctification, but to save space, I'll merely point you here. (You'll notice that justification is distorted, followed by sanctification heading out the window. The list ends with legalism, but just as easily could have said antinomianism...thus bringing us full circle to this series.)

The Discipline of Sunegerio

To this point, I have been relatively soft on my GBC concerns. I made mention, early in the series that I had concerns about our fellowship. I have backed off from that language since, as I was reminded that our fellowship is a group of churches and that many may be acting faithfully without the fanfare and without being noticed. However, from my perspective the following question should make many (possibly the majority) of our churches stammer:

Why do you practice feetwashing if you do not practice church discipline?

I had a brother say the other day, "The first time Jesus used the word "ekklesia" He said, 'I will build My church,' The next time, He stated, 'tell it to the church.'" Why do so many stomp their feet and declare "you ought to wash one another's feet" yet deny Christ's first command to the church? Is not the denial of church discipline the denial of Christ's Lordship?

[Is this why some churches in our past have even dorked around with the idea of feetwashing, either adapting it or removing it? More than likely, it is not an issue of practice and culture, it probably comes down to a deficient perspective on sanctification. Either way, it ends up being a denial of His Lordship.]

Transfer growth is awkward. When a person enters our church from a gospel preaching church, I will always attempt to have them reconcile with their former church before settling in with us. The Body needs commitment and therefore I'd rather see a person stay with their church and work through their differences, rather than scurry over to ours. However, we all have those certain churches in our communities. Churches where the Bible is not being taught and the gospel is not being proclaimed. (Or churches where extra biblical expectations are being imposed on the Body, thus distracting from what God calls us to truly be.) When people walk into our fellowship from those churches, I don't encourage them to go back.

Pastor, I don't care if you wash feet, believe the rapture is coming before the tribulation and dunk people three times forward, if you don't practice church discipline in your church, you are disobeying a command of Christ, diminishing the doctrine of sanctification and denying the Lordship of Christ. You make it really hard for me to send your sheep back to you.

A church that refuses to practice discipline will have a distorted view of sanctification. A church with a distorted view of sanctification will diminish Christ's Lordship. A church with a faulty view of His Lordship will cloud the doctrine of justification and will distill the gospel.

If our eyes are not fixed on Him, seated at the right hand of God are we acurately declaring "you have been raised up with Christ?" Or to move from Paul's words and reflect on Jesus'

Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?


  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger jason said…

    "The Papists"-- Have you been reading Luther lately?

  • At 8:27 AM, Blogger Zach Doppelt said…

    Interesting post. I know the church discipline issue seems to be gaining more press, and for good reason. It is an area that needs a lot of wisdom and humility from the church bodies, and needs to be practiced. Thanks for making some good points for us to think about.


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