Updated: Feb 15, 2021
Text: Ephesians 5:1-7
Therefore be imitators of God. That is what the apostle Paul records in (Eph. 5:1). This seems like a most impossible task. When I think of my many shortcomings and failures, how am I to imitate God? That’s a good question and the answer, I believe, is found in the context of what Paul is writing.
Paul, in (Eph. 4:1), has urged Christians to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” Since then, he has been unpacking what it means to walk worthy of the Lord. Here, in Ephesians 5, we are called to walk in love. Glancing through chapter five, Paul writes about walking in light as well as walking in wisdom (ref. 5:8; 15). Through this section of Ephesians, Paul focuses his readers on what it means to live as Christians. Living a life that pleases God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NKJV)
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
As children of God, being adopted into the family of God (ref. Gal. 4:6,7), we are to imitate our Father’s love in how we treat one another. Paul’s words, here, also draw us to the image of Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus provided the perfect example of what it is to walk in love as He related to others.
Looking a bit deeper into Paul’s words, we find descriptions of the sacrificial system contained in the Old Testament. Christ gave Himself as an “offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
The word “offering” contains the idea of bringing or presenting. It alludes to that which we bring to God, or offer to Him in our worship. In the passage above, “sacrifice” would bring to our thought that of the sacrificial animals offered under the Old Testament. These are offered for God a “sweet-smelling aroma,” that is acceptable and pleasing to God.
Jesus exemplified the type of love that pleases the Father. Christ’s love for others, His obedience to the purposes of God, and in giving of His life for the benefit of others.
We are called to imitate our Father as His children. We are called to walk in love. Our lives should be characterized by our love for one another, our obedience to the Father’s will, and a willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of others as we follow the example of Jesus.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.