Ephesians 5:1-2

Be Imitators Of God’s Love

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2

To understand what Paul means here by be imitators of God,  we must look at Ephesians 4 where Paul explains what it means to be an imitator of God.

Ephesians 4 starts with Paul telling us our walk with God needs to be worthy of the grace God gave us. We need to keep the unity of the Holy Spirit with each other because there is only one body of Christ and only one Holy Spirit. To be called in one hope of our calling means one faith from God because He is the only one who called us to salvation.

Since we Christians are all part of one body, the body of Christ, we all need to walk like the new creatures we have become, not like the old person who is passing away. We don’t walk in futility anymore; aimless, meaningless and without purpose. We don’t walk in spiritual and moral darkness anymore. Our understanding is now more reasonable as we begin to understand how God understands.

We should not be giving ourselves over to sensuality anymore, which rejects restraint and abhors moderation. We should not possess a lack of self-control. The Greek word here for sensuality is asélgeia and it means unrestrained indulgence, usually referring to outrageous sexual behavior that is contrary to public decency, but it can also mean generally being obscene and even cussing. In today’s age public decency has a very low standard, which is why we should always go by God’s standard and not the world’s standard.

We should be learning God’s way. This is what Paul is telling us, don’t think of yourself as a person who used to do all these crazy things, but instead learn to see yourself as a new person in Christ, ever-changing as you are being made more into the image of Jesus everyday.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
-2 Corinthians 5:17

The old person we were was a fraud, this is what the lusts of deceit means. It means focused on a false impression; motivated by our own cunning, motivated by what we can do on our own, selling ourselves at the interview of life. We were prideful creatures. Many of us still are prideful creatures, which is opposite what it means to be a Christian. In classical Greek deceit literally meant to sell the worm and hide the hook.

But we are renewed, or at least we should be working to be renewed. Renewal is what happens on our walk with God. ananeoō (renewed) is only used in Ephesians 4:23 and it means to make new in relation to time. Renewal here is a continual renewing of the mind as we spend time with God. God will sanctify us with new levels of spiritual awakening and understanding the closer we get to Him.

“…and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Ephesians 4:24

The likeness of God is literally saying us as new creatures are the image of Yahweh, the God of the Bible, the only God. This is the person we Christians need to strive to be, the new creature with a resemblance to God, not the old person made in the image of our parents who could only pass on their sin nature to us.

Since we have become born again, God has created us approved in His eyes, just like Adam was created approved in His eyes before Adam sinned, He has also created us in holiness, which is the ability to do God’s will through faith since we know the truth.

Since we know the truth, we are expected to tell each other the truth. We are to exercise God’s anger, not fleshly anger. God’s righteous anger focuses on the sin, where fleshly anger focuses on punishing the offender instead of understanding the moral content of the offense.

Fleshly anger wants revenge, it wants payback, it wants to get even, where a person right with God will want God to correct the wrong behavior so the person right with God should be quick to forgive. If you find yourself angry and wanting revenge or full of unforgiveness, that is a clear sign you need to spend more time with God.

Fleshly anger is a sin, that is what Ephesians 4:26 is saying here. This sin always brings a Believer loss. It is something done apart from faith. It promotes a person’s own agenda over God’s plan and it actually brings condemnation on the Believer sinning instead of on the person the anger is directed toward. Sin always results in a loss of eternal rewards for a Believer and eternal hell for an unbeliever.

Being kind to one another does not mean what the world says it means. Being kind to one another means to give each other what is useful; good Godly advice or anything that will help a person on their walk with God, that is what it means to be Biblically kind. To be kind means to give someone something beneficial to their being productive for the Kingdom of God. One variation of the word kind actually means Christ living His life through the Believer.

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Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2

Now that we know how to be imitators of God, or Yahweh, God consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we should understand that we are beloved children of God. We are loved by God. The Greek word here for beloved is agapētós and it describes the personal experience of knowing God’s love for us. This is what Jude calls us in Jude 1:3. Beloved means we are greatly loved by God Himself. Each one of us is loved by God as a unique member of His heavenly family, the body of Christ.

To walk in love (agápē) is to walk in love that centers on morality, which is the love that God prefers. agápē is God’s love and it operates in the Believer as the Believer prefers what God prefers, which comes through sanctification from spending time with God. God’s love is Biblical love, and it is always defined by God, it is never defined by people. God alone determines love because God is love.

Christ also loved (agapáō) you, which means Jesus preferred you and gave Himself up for you. This Greek form of love is Jesus loving the Believer who prefers to live through Christ, Jesus loving the Believer who embraces the will of God and chooses Jesus’ choices and obeys them through the power of the Holy Spirit. This refers to Jesus loving the Believer who prefers what God prefers, just like Jesus did, a Believer who is a new creature, made in the image of God.

Jesus prefers the Believer who lives his or her life as a living sacrifice to God. This is such a sweet aroma to God.

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