To the Reformers, legalism was one of the greatest dangers that threatened the heart of preaching and Christian life in general. Luther argued that where preaching solidifies and degenerates into legalism, the essence of the gospel of grace is lost. Therefore, the dynamic relationship between identity, ethics and ethos in the New Testament has to be rediscovered. It is argued that the classical Bultmanian distinction between indicative and imperative does not do justice to the implicit ethical dimension of Biblical texts. New research into ethics, represented by Zimmermann's heuristic categories, may help us in rediscovering the implicit ethical dimensions in the New Testament. Those who want to speak of the theology of ethical preaching should also take the new research in New Testament ethics into consideration.