"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."
Therefore. What is it there for?
Paul is writing to the Church at Ephesus, admonishing them to mature in their faith. In the chapters leading up to this verse, he reminds them of the basic principles of faith such as redemption, forgiveness of sins and grace.
And then Paul begins to emphasize the need to mature - to develop their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes them aware of the Believer's responsibility to pursue unity and purity; to realize the gifts within them and then put those gifts to use in the Body of Christ. And then Paul speaks a little harsher in Chapter four exhorting the Ephesians to refuse worldly mindedness, to put off the old man and replace him with the new and to not grieve the Holy Spirit with ungodly behavior.
He was trying to get them to understand that as disciples of Jesus, they had a job to do - to build the Kingdom of God. He wanted them to realize that this required maturing in their faith.
So, what is chapter 5:1&2 there for? Remember? "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."
Paul is telling them that this is HOW the life of godliness and righteousness can be accomplished by the Believer: Be imitators of God...as dear children following in the footsteps of their Father.
Oh my goodness! How do we do that? First, we must know who our Father is. God is faithful, full of mercy and grace. He is a just God. He is jealous for the things of righteousness. And above all things, God is love.
Are WE? Are we faithful, merciful, gracious? Do we behave fairly - with justice? Do the things of God hold our heart more than anything else in our lives - so much so that we jealously guard them and their righteousness? When someone watches us - and you know they do - do they see our Father's resemblance?
I know...Ouch, Lord!
And the most important word of instruction? Walk in love. Love as Jesus loved, laying our lives down for our brothers and sisters; laying our lives down for our Father.
And the result? Our lives become a sweet aroma to the Lord, holy and acceptable to Him.
Father, Help us to grow up, to not lie stagnate in our faith. Teach us to eat the meat of the Word, to learn the essence of Who You are. And help us to walk in love. That is so difficult sometimes, but You tell us we must do this. Thank goodness You didn't say we have to LIKE everyone, just love them with Your love. And I pray that You will write a banner upon our hearts that reminds us to be an imitator of You. We do not belong to ourselves - we were bought with a price. May our lives be a sweet aroma of sacrifice and love to You.