“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.”

Be ye therefore followers of God ”
Literally:  “become then imitators of God”

        THEREFORE:  (Greek.-oun)-This is a transition word that connects this with the previous verse (4:32) where Paul had been exhorting the Ephesian believers to kindness, and to a spirit of forgiveness.

         Here Paul encourages the Ephesian Christians to imitate God, Who is always kind and ready to forgive. Comp. Matt. 5:44-47. As He forgives us we should be ready to forgive others; as He has borne with our faults, we should bear with theirs; as He is ever ready to hear our cry when we ask for mercy, we should be ready to hear others when they desire to be forgiven; and as He is never weary with doing us good, we should never be weary in benefiting them. “Therefore,” seeing that “God in Christ forgave you” (4:32). 
           Paul clenches his exhortation here where this fifth chapter opens.  There really should be no break here in the chapters here.  The beginning of this chapter is actually a continuation of the preceding verse (4:32).  The division of chapters should have been with verse  3 of this chapter.

        FOLLOWERS: (Gr.-mimêtai)-Literally:  “imitators.”  Signifies impersonating others; i.e., assuming their gait, mode of speech, accent, carriage, etc.  This word is from this Greek root word that we get our word “mimic.” 

Let your entire conduct be like that of your Lord;
1.      Imitate Him in all your actions, words, spirit, and inclinations
2.      Imitate Him as children do their beloved parents.
        And remember that you stand in the relation of beloved children to Him. 

It is natural for children to imitate their parents; it is their constant aim to learn of them, and to copy them in all things; whatever they see the parent do, whatever they hear him speak, that they endeavor to copy and imitate; and they go farther, they insensibly copy the very tempers of their parents.  If you therefore be children of God, show this love to your heavenly Father, and imitate all His moral perfections, and acquire the mind that was in Jesus.

The Duty Exhorted Be ye followers of God;”
That is, in all the excellences of His attributes, and particularly in the exercise of universal goodness and kindness, mercy and forgiveness.

The Manner for this Duty:  “as dear children;”
You are God’s children, and who should children imitate but their Father? And you are His dear children, will you not imitate such a Father?

They that such as lay claim to a relation to God, without imitating Him, are not children, but bastards.   They may be of His family, but not of His household.  They are of His family by instruction, but not by descent. There is no implantation into Christ without an imitation of Him.

“…as dear children”
Literally:  “as children beloved”– Followers of God”—This is the high destiny of God’s children.

1.       The Duty Commanded:
          “Be ye imitators of Me.”  This means to do:
              a.      What God does.  
          b.     Because God does it.

             c.      As God does it.
The special point of imitation here is the duty of showing a forgiving spirit to one another.
2.     Why We Should Follow this Duty: 
        a.      Because we are His dear children.                 
                     Whom should children imitate but their Father?
                Christians have experienced their Father's wisdom, love and power, and it is only an instinct of filial love to imitate such a Father.

          b.     Because holiness consists in the imitation of God.
“It is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy" (I Peter 1:16).
        c.      Because the prospect of perfect likeness to God in the day of our Lord's appearing.

                Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like Him: 
                for we shall see Him as He is
(I John 3:2.
3.     The Means Towards the Fulfillment of this Duty:
        a.      Pray wirthout ceasing–especially for:

                 (1)    A fuller measure of God's grace;
                 (2)    A larger revealing of His love,      
                 (3)    A deeper insight into His love
        b.      Live continualy as being under His watchful eye (Psa. 139:6-7)

        c.      Consider how others have followed Him (I Cor. 11:1).

         These Ephesian Gentiles, who formerly walked on a very low plane, are now lifted to the high level of love.  They are now called, “dear children.”  The idea is not that they were to be just the friends of God, or numbered among His followers, but that they were to be “imitators” (mimêtai) of Him in the particular thing under consideration.
         The meaning is, “as those children which are beloved follow the example of a father, so we, who are beloved of God, should follow His example.” What a simple rule this is! And how much contention and strife would be avoided if it were followed! If every Christian who is angry, unforgiving, and unkind, would just ask himself the question, “How does God treat me?”  It would save all the trouble and heart-burning which ever exists in the church.

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for us a sweetsmelling savor:”

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us,
Literally:  “and walk in love, even as Christ also love us”–That is…

1.      Let your life be characterized by love;
2.      Let your love be shown in all your conduct and conversation.
3.      Let every action of your life be dictated by love to God and man.
         a.      By even laying down your lives for your brethren if necessary.
         b.      By counting nothing too difficult to be done in order to promote their eternal salvation.

         This is the pattern of Christian love. Let every act of life be dictated by love to God and man. The plane of love to which the believer is lifted is the love which Christ exhibited when He loved us enough to give Himself as an offering and a sacrifice for us.  We are to maintain this attitude not because God may forgive us, but because, “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (4:32)–His forgiving us is already a fait accompli.  We are to display this same love for one another which He has already done for us. He showed his love by giving himself to die for us, and we should evince similar love to one another–“Hereby perceive we the love {of God} because He laid down His life for us:  and we ought to lay down {our} live for the brethren”  (I John 3:16).
         Because God has forgiven us all our trespasses against Him, we are to forgive anyone who trespasses against us.  Therefore, let our forgiveness of wrongs be as ungruding as our heavenly Father’s is toward us.  Let it be molded on the type of God’s dealings with us, for the loving-kindness the Lord has shown to us utterly eclipses any goodwill we can manifest toward others.As the great duty of the law, to walk in love, so the great pattern of the gospel, as Christ also hath loved us.

“and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God”
Literally:  “and gave up Himself on behalf of us, an offering and a sacrifice to God”– Christ has died in our stead, and become thereby a sacrifice for our sins.

         This is clearly a reference to the cross.  It makes the death of Christ more than a public execution of a Jewish malefactor.  The cross was the brazen altar where the Lamb of God was offered as the burnt sacrifice.  That sacrifice takes away the sin of the world  It identifies Christ with every sacrifice that was offered in the OT by God’s command  They all pointed to Him.
         In the Jewish temple there were offerings which were not sacrifices. Christ gave Himself as an offering and was sacrificed for us.  Christ's death was an offering to God “in our behalf;” a ransom as Christ Himself said (Matt. 20:28)–“…the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  This is Christ's own view of His atoning death. 

1.      Who offered Himself?
         a.      It was Christ, the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16).        
         b.      It was Christ's own voluntary act.
                  (1)    “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life  for his friends” (John 15:13).
                  (2)    “Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
                           It was love that prompted the gift of Himself—eternal, infinite, free.

2.      What did He Offer?
          He offered Himself!  Not the blood of others, much less the blood of bulls and goats.  It was the offering of the body of Christ Himself
           “By the which we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once {for all} (Heb. 10:10).
3.      For Whom did He Make the Offering?
         It was for us, while we were yet His enemies (Rom. 5:10). 

Whether He did in our stead or merely for our benefit is determined by the context, which represents Him as giving Himself “an offering and a sacrifice.”  This distinctly marks the substitutionary character of Christ’s death, just as He is Himself described elsewhere as a “ransom for many.”

4.      To Whom did He offer Himself?
         To God the Father; that is, with the design that God might accept the sacrifice.  God did have pleasure in the death and atonement of His Son.
5.     For What Result was His Sacrifice?
       “For a sweet-smelling savor.”  This phrase is applied to propitiatory, as well as to free will offerings; as, for example, to the burnt offerings of Noah (Gen. 8:21). 
       The sacrifice of Christ was well-pleasing to God, Who could henceforth manifest His character as “just, and the Justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.

        OFFERING: (Gr.-prosphoran)–An oblation, an eucharistic offering; the same as minchah, (Lev. 2:1, ff)., which is explained to be an offering made unto the Lord, of fine flour, with oil and frankincense.  It means, any offering by which gratitude was expressed for temporal blessings received from the bounty of God.

        SACRIFICE:  (Gr.-thusian)A sin-offering, a victim for sin; the same as the sacrificial act in which the blood of an animal was poured out as an atonement for sin. 

         These terms may be justly considered as including every kind of sacrifice, offering, and oblation made to God on any account; and both these terms are with propriety used here, because Paul’s design was to represent the sufficiency of the offering made by Christ for the sin of the world.  And the passage strongly intimates, that as man is bound to be grateful to God for the good things of this life, so he should testify that gratitude by suitable offerings; but having sinned against God, he has forfeited all earthly blessings as well as those that come from heaven.
         Jesus Christ gave Himself in our stead and on our account, as the gratitude-offering, which we owed to our CREATOR, and, without which a continuance of temporal blessings could not be expected; and also as a sacrifice for sin, (Gr.-thusia), without which we could never approach God, and without which we must be punished with an everlasting destruction from the presence of God and the glory of his power.  Thus we find that even our temporal blessings come from and by Jesus Christ, as well as all our spiritual and eternal mercies.
         The duplication of the terms offering and sacrifice are important to notice.  In the word “offering” we see our Great High Priest presenting His unique oblation (His pouring out of His blood) and in the word “sacrifice” we see the pouring out itself.  Christ is both Priest and Sacrifice in one.

“for us a sweetsmelling savor:”
Literally:  “for an odor of a sweet smell”–That is, God is well pleased with the offering on the ground of its sweetness, and so is reconciled to us (1:6; Matt. 3:17; II Cor. 5:18-19; Heb. 10:6-17). Peculiarly pleasing and acceptable to God. 

         Paul is referring to the ointment compounded of principal spices, poured upon Aaron's head, which typified the variety of the graces by which He was enabled to “offer Himself a sacrifice for a sweet-smelling savor.”
        Another type, or prophecy by figure or type,  was “the sweet savor” which God smelled in Noah's sacrifice (Gen. 8:21). Again, as what Christ is, believers also are (I John 4:17)–“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment:  because as he is, so are we in this world,” and ministers are: Paul says (II Cor. 2:17) “we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ.” The LXX (Septuagint) in Lev. 1:9, uses this phrase to render the Hebrew, “a savor of quietness.” 

                 FOR:  (Gr.-eis) expreses design that it might become, or result: so that it became.

        SWEET SAVOR:   (Gr.-euôdia)–This word occurs here and in II Cor. 2:15; Phil. 4:18 and is applied to persons or things well-pleasing to God.

        “For we are unto God a sweet savor (euôdia) of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (II Cor. 2:15).
        “But I have all, and abound:  I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things {which were sent} from you, an odor of sweet smell (euôdia) a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18).

         This really means good odor, or fragrance; and in the LXX it is frequently applied to the incense that was burnt in the public worship of God, and to sacrifices in general, Gen. 8:21; Ex. 29:18, 25, 41; Lev. 1:9, 13; 2:2,9; 3:5; 4:31, etc.
         Here it refers to the services given to Paul and the other ministers were as grateful to God as sweet incense “For we are unto God a sweet savor (euôdia) of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (II Cor. 2:15).  Paul is emphasizing here that the offering which Christ made of Himself to God was like the grateful and pleasant smell of incense (euôdia); that is, it was acceptable to Him. It was an exhibition of benevolence with which God was pleased, and it gave Him the opportunity of  displaying His own benevolence in the salvation of men. “But God commendeth (displayed) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

The offering which Christ made was one of love. So, says Paul, do you love one another. Christ sacrificed Himself because of love, and that sacrifice was acceptable to God. So do you also show love one to another. Sacrifice everything which opposes it, and it will be acceptable to God.  He will approve all which is designed to promote love, as he approved the sacrifice which was made, under the influence of love, by His Son.

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