Ephesians 5:1-2, Imitating the Lord:
- Tonight’s two verse actually complete the thought that begun in 4:31-32. And so the idea here is to still put off & put on, only we are to put on the imitation of God “walk in the way of love,” as Christ did!
- Walk as Christ did: (1-2)
- This is not the first time Scripture says that God’s people should be like God. In Leviticus 19:2, God says to Israel, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
- A few verses earlier in Ephesians say we are “to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (4:24). Verse 5:1 says our imitation of God is to be rooted in our experience of God’s love as his “dearly loved children.”
- So how do we walk like Christ or imitate God? When we “walk in the way of love” (5:2). This isn’t just a nice way of speaking of commitment, this love is seen and experienced in the cross of Christ who “loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (5:2).
- Similarly Romans 5:8 says God “demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So we display this by imitating the love of God revealed in the self-giving, sacrificial love of Christ.
- In addition, we imitate our Lord as children. But not just children, beloved children, meaning those who are very much loved. It is a love called out of one’s heart by preciousness of the object loved. And best of all it’s the same word the Father used to describe His Son!
- In other words, He sees us as His very own sons and daughters, because we are eternally IN His Son! As the “Beloved” are those to whom Christ has shown love. We see this fulfilled in Romans 8:17, “if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
- Finally, our imitation should resemble Christ’s sacrifice. Ultimately, through His death, Jesus Christ shows what love is all about. And we learn to love by participating in him and in his death. In Galatians 2:20, Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- So when we walk in love and put off the old self and put on the new, and put away falsehood to speak the truth, and don’t sin when we’re angry, and refrain from stealing but do good work, and speak in ways that avoid evil and build up people, and get rid of bitterness, choosing instead to forgive, then our actions embody the good news of the gospel.
- This moral exhortation starting in Ephesians 4:17 and ending here in 5:2, reflects and endorses God’s plan for the fullness of time: to unify all things in Christ (1:10).
- Therefore our imitation should resemble the following headers we also studied last, Putting away your former manner of life (Ephesians 4:22). — The old man stands for the collection of habits, sayings, and doings which characterised our unregenerate days. The apostle says that they are to be put away suddenly, instantly.
- Be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:23). — We are reminded of Romans 12:2 here, as the mind needs to be brought into daily, hourly contact with God’s thoughts, as contained in Scripture, that it may be renewed. The only source of daily renewal is fellowship with God.
- Put on the new man. —All the habits of a holy, godlike life have been prepared for us in Christ, and as we progress, we become better and better imitators of God as dear children.