Vol. 16 No. 2 – January 8, 2017
Continuing the discourse on the “believer’s walk” that is to be “worthy of the calling by which he has been called,” we now turn to Ephesians Chapter 5. Here we are going to see the Pattern, Proof, and Power of our walk, that is what our daily lifestyle should be as we put on the New Man and the Christ-like nature.
Outline; Chapter 5.
In Chapter 4 we noted the first two main principles of our walk:
- The Believer’s Walk in Unity; God’s Plan for Faithful Living in the Church to Build the Church, Eph 4:1-16.
- The Believer’s Walk in Righteousness; God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church, Eph 4:17-32.
In Chapter 5 we have two more main principles:
The Believer’s Walk in Love; The conclusion of God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church from Chapter 4, and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church, Eph 5:1-17.
- The Pattern for Our Walk, Walking in Love as God’s Dear Child, Eph 5:1-7.
- The Proof and Reason for Our Walk, Walking in Light, Eph 5:8-14.
- The Power and Provision for Our Walk, Walking in Wisdom, Eph 5:15-17.
The Believer’s Walk in the World; God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church, Eph 5:18-6:9.
- As to One’s Self and the Church, Be Filled with God’s Spirit, Eph 5:18-21.
- As to One’s Home, Eph 5:22-6:4.
- Husbands and Wives, Eph 5:22-33.
- Parents and Children, Eph 6:1-4.
- As to One’s Profession, Employers and Employees, Eph 6:5-9.
In fact, vs 1-20 are one of the most beautiful descriptions of the Christian life that can be found in the Bible. So these passages give us the imperative of the super-grace Life.
In addition, Ryrie notes that Chapter 5 continues a discourse on “The Practice of Believers,” that begins in Eph 4:1 and runs through to Eph 6:9.
- In Relation to Evil, Eph 5:1-17.
- In Relation to the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18-21.
- In Relation to Home Life, Eph 5:22-6:4.
- In Relation to Slaves and Masters, Eph 6:1-9.
Unger breaks this chapter down based on our spiritual walk in Christ as follows:
- The walk as a child in God’s family, Eph 5:1-33.
- The walk of children and servants, Eph 6:1-9.
Eph 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
We begin with the inferential Participle, OUN that means, “therefore, then, now, etc.” This tells us that based on everything we have just noted in Chapter 4 about throwing off the Old Man and putting on the New man, is brought to conclusion by walking or living as follows. This is the result of the preceding chapter.
“Be” is the Present, Middle Deponent, Imperative of GINOMAI. This too is a command that follows and concludes all the mandates the New Man is given in order to walk worthily in righteousness from Eph 4:25-32. GINOMAI means, “to be, to come into being, be made, become, etc.” In the 2nd Person Plural it is a mandate for all the Church.
The Middle Deponent voice tells us that the super-grace believer produces the action of the verb where the results of the action have an impact on himself. The imperative mood designates a command to become a super-grace believer. This command can only be fulfilled in the status of super-grace, which is synonymous to spiritual maturity. So this is a mandate to, “keep on becoming,” which consists of a gradual process of growing spiritually from infancy to adulthood, through the intake and application of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
“Imitators,” is the subject Nominative Noun, MIMETES, μιμητής that means, “imitator or follower.” It is related to the verb MIMEOMAI, “to imitate,” therefore, the noun MIMETES denotes, “one who imitates.” Interestingly, we get our English word “mimic” from this Greek term. Some believe MIMETES represents the ideal relation between a teacher and a student, or a parent and a child. As such, believers being the “children of God,” we are to imitate God as our ideal, 1 Thes 1:6; 2:14.
Imitate means, “to model oneself after the behavior or actions of another. That is to act like another person or to follow a pattern or style set by another, to resemble, to copy the appearance, mannerisms, or speech of another, or to duplicate an original as precisely as possible in speech, mannerism, or actions.” So this passage instructs the believer to be an imitator “of God,” HO THEOS in the Genitive Singular.
Then we are given the motivation for our imitation, “as beloved children,” HOS AGAPETOS TEKNON. The verbal Adjective AGAPETOS, ἀγαπητός means, “beloved or esteemed.” Just as Jesus Christ was the beloved Son of God, Mat 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35, we too are beloved children of God. In other words, we are cherished children of God, and as such we should emulate him during our lives here on earth, so that we show the world who our heavenly Father truly is. But if we live in the Old Man, we show the world who the worldly father is, 1 John 3:8-10; cf. Mat 13:38; John 8:44.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”
AGAPETOS or “Beloved” was originally a title for the Lord Jesus Christ as the object of the Father’s love, Eph 1:6; 2 Peter 1:17. But because of positional truth, it becomes a title for every member of the Royal Family of God in the Church Age. So it is also used for each one of us, 2 Cor 7:1; Heb 6:9; 2 Peter 3:1, 8, 14, 17; 1 John 3:1, 2; 4:1, 7, 11.
Therefore, if we are the children of God, and we are, then we ought to imitate our Father. This is the basis for the three admonitions in this section of Ephesians 5:
- God is love, 1 John 4:8; therefore, “walk in love.” Eph 5:1-2.
- God is light, 1 John 1:5; therefore, “walk as children of light,” Eph 5:3-14.
- God is truth, 1 John 5:6; therefore, “walk in wisdom,” Eph 5:15-17. Of course, each of these “walks” is a part of Paul’s exhortation to “walk in purity.”
Mat 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
This was Jesus’ appeal to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.
Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Eph 4:32, “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
To be like God, and to set ourselves to resemble Him, is the sum of all duty.
Principles of Imitating God.
In general, Paul uses this word group MIMEOMAI in three senses:
- By way of Comparison, 1 Thes 2:14.
- Following an example, 2 Thes 3:7, 9, with a plain implication of Paul’s authority.
- Obeying directions, i.e., the Word of God, 1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; 1 Thes 1:6; Eph 5:1.
1 Thes 1:6-7, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers…”
In 1 Cor 4:12-17; 11:1; Phil 3:17; Heb 6:12, this word is used to exhort believers to be imitators of those who are already imitating the life style of our Lord.
1 Cor 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
This word is normally used of imitating people and churches, as we have noted. However, in our passage it is used of the imitation of God, which is the loftiest endeavor that could ever be placed before a person. It is another way of saying, “allow Christ to be your prototype.”
Imitation involves obeying the rules, as well as, copying the example. It is a readiness to walk faithfully in full commitment to Christ.
As children of God we are to follow God’s Fatherly will, thereby showing that we are His children. As Eph 5:2 tells us, this means to live by God’s pardoning love.
Therefore, to be an imitator of God and Jesus Christ, we have to know them first. So “imitator” gives us the sense of discipleship, i.e., of obedience to the Word and will of the Lord either directly or by way of the apostles’ teachings. And remember, imitation is the highest form of flattery, in a good sense.
In Eph 5:1 we are told to imitate God. As you know, man could never become God in the essence of His Deity because it cannot be imitated. It is blasphemous and unthinkable that a human being with an Old Sin Nature could even approximate imitating God. Furthermore, it is inscrutable as well as impossible for anyone to even come within a billion miles of the sovereignty, righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, or any of the other attributes of God. So when we are commanded to imitate God, we are not commanded to imitate the deity “of God.”
But yet God became man in the incarnate person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ our God was in hypostatic union, (100% God and 100% man at the same time). Jesus Christ came to reveal God the Father to us, Mat 11:25-27; John 17:25-26. Therefore, as we learn about Jesus Christ and His Word, which is the thinking of God, and how He lived here on earth, we can learn how to imitate the lifestyle of Jesus Christ and God. Therefore, it is the humanity of Christ that we are commanded to imitate.
As true humanity Christ was sinless and impeccable, and this we cannot imitate because we possess an Old Sin Nature and we do sin. Therefore, the imitation of Jesus Christ must be limited to His humanity and it must be limited to something we can do, not something we cannot do.
The humanity of Christ was constantly filled and sustained with the Holy Spirit and sustained by the Word of God resident within His soul. When the believer is filled with the Spirit and applies the Word of God in His soul, he becomes the imitator of Jesus Christ and thus of God.
Therefore, the principle of imitating Christ is related to a secondary command, “Be filled with the Spirit” or “Walk in the Spirit,” which we will see in Eph 5:18.
Another thing noted about the humanity of Christ, which we can emulate and imitate, is that He GAPed it to the super-grace life, according to Luke 2:40, 52.
Luke 2:40, “And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”
Luke 2:52, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
Therefore in imitating “God,” Jesus Christ, you are commanded to take in and apply the Word of God consistently and in effect to close in on the super-grace life.
And finally, believers of the Church Age are members of the Royal Family of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should bear family resemblance of nobility, as per Eph 5:1. Therefore, we are to put on the New Man, the Christ-like characteristics given to us in Chapter 4:25-32, which in essence is imitating the love of God, Rom 13:9-10, 13.
Rom 13:9-10, “For this, ” YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ” YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.”
Rom 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
Eph 5:2, “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.”
In this passage “imitation of God” is implicitly defined as loving others. Christ’s death, the supreme example of love, is described here with words reminiscent of OT sacrifice, Ex 29:18; Lev 2:2; cf. Phil 4:18. We will see more of this below.
“And walk in love,” is the Coordinating Conjunction KAI with The Present, Active, Imperative of PERIPATEO, with the Dative Preposition EN and Noun AGAPE for “in the sphere of love.”
Once again we have a command to do something on a customary ongoing basis. This time it is to “walk,” that is, live the spiritual life, in the sphere of God’s type of love.
This is the third time Paul uses the command to “walk” in this section of Ephesians (chapters 4-5), Eph 4:1, 17; 5:2. We will see this word also in vs. 8 and 15, as it was also used in Eph 2:2, 10. This is thus the third section in his discussion on the conduct of believers living as a New Spiritual Species in Christ. Therefore, we see generally that we, as God’s children, are to walk, live, in: Unity, Holiness, and Love. Later we will see that we are to “walk” in the light of the Lord, vs. 8, and as wise men, vs. 15.
The Present Imperative of PERIPATEO is a Customary Present and simply means, “continue to walk in the sphere of love.” In Eph 1:15 Paul noted that they already “have love for all the saints.” Now he exhorts them to continue in that love.
To “walk in love” is the fundamental factor in the Christian life. If we walk in love, we will not disobey God, or cause harm or injure men because, “he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law,” Rom 13:8.
This AGAPE love is not learned through human love, but only by learning what Divine love is as found in Scripture. The Holy Spirit teaches us AGAPE love in our hearts, Rom 5:5.
Rom 5:5, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Paul gives us several reasons why the believer, New Man in Christ, ought to walk in love.
- You are God’s child, vs. 1. Having been born again through faith in Christ, we are therefore one of the “partakers of the Divine nature,” 2 Peter 1:4.
2 Peter 1:4, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
And since “God is love,” it is logical that God’s children should walk in love.
When Paul encourages us to “walk in love,” he was not asking us to do something that was foreign to the Christian life, for we have received a new nature that wants to express itself in love. The old nature is basically selfish, and for this reason builds walls and declares war. But the new nature is loving and therefore builds bridges and proclaims peace.
- You are God’s beloved child, vs. 1, “Be imitators of God as beloved children.” Imagine, as I noted above, God speaks of us the same way He spoke of Jesus Christ, “This is My beloved Son,” Mat 3:17. In fact, the Father loves us as He loves His Son, John 17:23.
John 17:23, “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that you sent Me, and loved them, even as You loved Me.”
We are born into a loving relationship with the Father that ought to result in our showing love to Him by the way we live. What more could the Father do to express His love to us? Is it asking too much for us to “walk in love” to please Him?
- We were purchased with a great price, vs. 2. As John 15:13 tells us, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” But Jesus also laid down His life for His enemies, Rom 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
In addition, our love for Him is our response to His love for us, 1 John 4:19.
1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.”
So we are given the example or prototype for living in the sphere of love, Jesus Christ Himself, as it reads, “just as Christ also loved you,” KATHOS KAI HO CHRISTOS AGAPE HEMEIS.
“You” should actually be translated, “us,” because it is in the 1st Person Plural of EGO, not the 2nd person plural, which would be HUMEIS. Paul is including himself along with all believers as the object of Christ’s love, just as all of mankind is.
Christ’s love is defined for us in the next phrases, “and gave Himself up for us,” KAI PARADIDOMAI, that means, “to hand over or deliver up,” in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, with HEAUTOU HUPER HEMEIS. This represents Jesus voluntarily going to the Cross in fulfillment of God the Father’s plan for man’s salvation. We will see the analogy between this verse and the Levitical voluntary offerings below, as a type of Jesus’ love for us by willfully going to the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins.
What Jesus did for us, Christ’s love for you and I, is the supreme example of love seen graphically in sacrificing His life on behalf of the entire world, especially for those who would believe. He willingly gave Himself up as noted also in v. 25; John 10:11, 15, 17-18; Gal 1:4; Heb 9:14.
Gal 1:4, “Who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,”
Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Jesus stated during the Upper Room Discourse in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
This statement was made in anticipation of His impending arrest resulting in His crucifixion. It was His greatest demonstration of the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This commandment was first given in Lev 19:18 and is quoted often in the NT, Mat 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14.
Mark 12:31, “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Cf. Lev 19:18.
The first commandment in vs. 30, is to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” that comes from Deut 6:5. It is another way of saying, “be imitators of God,” and is included in the command to “walk in love.”
We first must have love for God the Father, demonstrated through the consistent intake and application of His Word, before we can have AGAPE love for our neighbors.
Like Rom 13:9f, Gal 5:14 tells us, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”.”
Therefore, Christians can imitate God by loving others, even to the point of death if necessary, 1 John 3:16.
1 John 3:16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Jesus laying down His life self-sacrificially for the sins of the entire world is the greatest demonstration of AGAPE love in the entire human race, and in all of eternity. To be imitators of God, we too need to live daily with the mental attitude of self-sacrificial love where our words, actions, and deeds towards others show this kind of love.
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 17-001, 17-002 & 17-003
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!