If you are like me, there are times that you are so familiar with certain scriptures that you don’t grasp the importance of what they say or what they mean. I took a new look at Ephesians 5:1-8 this week and I realize I have some changes that need to be made if I want to be an imitator of God, not simply say I am an imitator, but really be an imitator.
Eph 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Take a closer look with me if you will at the first two verses. The KJV uses the word followers instead of imitators. Either way the message is clear; Christ is the one we are to imitate.
- We should strive to imitate God’s holiness in all we do.
- We are dearly loved (agape love). Love each other the same way.
- Just as Christ loved us, sacrificial love
Heb 9:14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Too often I try to let myself off the hook by telling myself “I’m not perfect”. It’s true, none of us are. Look at the last part of Heb. 9:14 though, “He cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.” Is that not powerful?
Eph 5:3-8 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
- Not even a hint of sexual immorality, impurity or greed.
Let me just add what one commentator writes here, as it sums it up so well.
In this sinful, rebellious world, there are many activities, behaviors and practices that are common for many people but completely unacceptable and “improper for God’s holy people.” This applies to our own actions and conversations as well as the behaviors of those with whom we associate (v. 7). It includes what we willingly take into our minds through various forms of audio and visual media. We are to keep ourselves from “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking” (v. 4)—even when they are acceptable within our culture or popular entertainment. We cannot completely escape such things in all of our associations or in society as a whole, but we must not deliberately expose ourselves to, or take part in, supporting or approving of such things. We must take this Biblical instruction seriously, as the context surrounding this teaching gives a warning not to grieve the Holy Spirit (4:30 ff) and a warning regarding God’s judgment and losing part in his kingdom (vv. 5-7). (from Fire Bible™: Global Study Edition)
- For of this you can be sure…
I don’t know about you but this got my attention! For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Emphasis added)
- For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
Since the fall of man there has been darkness…
Look back at Eph 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
God doesn’t ask us to do anything that we can’t do! We can be children of light.
Col 3:5-11 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
I want to be a real imitator of God in all areas of my life. I’m not there yet but I’m not giving up.