Updated: Dec 6, 2019
"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.” (Eph. 5:1 & 2 NKJV)
Many years back my mother took a picture of my father leaning against our television while holding his glass of ice water. She had also captured me in the picture. When the picture was developed (yes, it was that long ago) it had such an impact on my father that he would describe it in his sermons from time to time. The impact came from the fact that I, just barely a toddler in a diaper, was standing on the other side of the television and leaning on it while holding my bottle. It was the same position and pose as my father. It made him aware of the significant impact a parent has on a child.
Imitate and Walk
This is the very thing we see in the passage from Ephesians. God's children are to imitate Him as He is the ultimate Father modeling unconditional grace and love. Being His “…dear children…” reminds us that we tend to take on the qualities of our family.
The second verse transitions from imitating to walking in the ultimate characteristic of Christ – that of love. Christ modeled His great love for us by the giving of Himself on the cross as an “…offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Christ's sacrifice and resurrection not only model love, but ground a theology of love. That love theology is presented in Scripture leading up to the life of Christ and explained throughout the book of Acts and the Epistles.
As the Old Testament describes the smoke of the sacrifice rising to God as a sweet-smelling aroma, so our lives are to be lived as a sacrifice resulting in the same pleasure to God. This is the daily, self-crucified life that Christ spoke of in Luke 9:23, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
You are Not Alone
This relationship is established by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8 & 9) and carries with it the important aspect of Christ’s Spirit indwelling us to make it possible. The promise is that “…when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (Jn. 16:13). It is this application of the Truth into our lives that allows us to not only live in the way that the Apostle Paul describes in the Ephesians passage, but to lovingly disciple others to do so as well. We must first be effective disciples, imitating God, to effectively disciple others!
Take heart, believer! You are not on your own. You are in a relationship with Almighty God. While connected to Him, you will bear much fruit (Jn. 15:4) as He propels you to live the life He intends for you.