Eph 5:1 Therefore, be~~ imitators of God as dearly loved children
A person’s behavior betrays his view of God. If he thinks God has an indifferent attitude toward sin, he will adopt the same attitude. If he thinks God is critical and hard to please, he will be critical. If a man’s god is himself, his narcissistic attitudes will be evident. The believer’s perception of the nature of God has a critical role in his spiritual maturity, because he will generally follow the pattern of his concept of God.
Paul concluded chapter 4 with a series of commands based on God’s nature. Therefore, refers back to the previous verses: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:31–32).
We are to forgive because God in Christ has forgiven us. Because forgiveness is the primary proof of God’s love, it will also become the most convincing evidence of our love for others. Through the power of the indwelling Spirit, His nature is to become our nature and the pattern for our lives. To “be continually being imitators of God” means to be “followers or mimics.” Earlier, Paul began his exhortations with the command to “put on the new man, which was created according to God” (Eph 4:24), or in the likeness of God’s nature.
In Ephesians 5:2, we are told that imitating God means imitating Christ: “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us.” This becomes our motivating force as we learn that He expects us to sacrifice for the benefit of others.
Because believers have been adopted into God’s family (Eph 1:5), we should exhibit a family resemblance. It only makes sense that God’s dearly loved child would want to become like his loving Father. One author, Thomas Keenan, describes a phenomenon discovered by behavioral scientists called “imprinting,” which occurs in early development: when a young animal is exposed to another animal or person, the young animal takes it to be its “parent.” Paul commands us to walk so closely with God that He imprints His nature on us.
God’s purpose in bringing us salvation is twofold: to redeem us from sin and all its consequences and to conform us “to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29). The blessed hope of the believer is this: “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 Jn 3:2). How much do you want to be like God?
“Lord Jesus, thank You for accepting me into Your family. Nothing will please me more than to be like You in all Your ways. Thank You for Your word, which shows me how to imitate You in my life.”
In order to practice this command today, I am going to …