“The passive verb dominates the New Testament story. I love because I am loved; I know because I am known; I am of the Church, the body of Christ, because this body became my body; I can and must forgive because I have been forgiven; I can speak because I have been spoken to.
The confusion let loose in contemporary ethical discourse by the failure to relate ethical commands organically to the ethical Commander, reveals itself most fully in what one might call the ethics-of-the-end-of-the-sentence. The ethical teaching of Jesus, for instance, is commonly excised from his entire address to man, in word and deed; and an effort is made to ask after the meaning and applicability of the end of a sentence, the first part of which we impatiently dismiss as having only local or occasional significance for the speaker and his first century hearers. This practice is rather like dropping in on a performance of a Bach fugue in time to hear the last page. The organic content of Jesus’ address to men was not composed of highly personal epigrams condensed from the most elegant moral idealism ever envisioned by man in his quest for the good. This content was constituted, rather, by a lived-out and heroically obedient God-relationship in the fire of which all things are what they are by virtue of the Creator, all decisions are crucial in virtue of their witness to his primacy and glory, and all events interpreted in terms of their transparency, recalcitrancy, or service to God’s Kingly rule.” (Joseph Sittler, The Structure of Christian Ethics, pp. 11-12)