Imitators of God

Imitators of God

by Trent Brown

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!-
21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 
-  Ephesians 4:17-32 (ESV)

In chapter four, we see Paul issue an exhortation, or calling, to holiness. Paul insists on it, 'in the Lord.' He insists that their lives should look different than those around them. It doesn't necessarily mean withdrawing from the world and living in isolation but rather being a light in a dark, calloused world by the way that we live.

We must be mindful that we are image bearers of the King and that we carry the gospel wherever we go. It is a calling to live missionally in the spaces where the Lord has put us. There is a difference in the way we are to live. We know the truth. The truth sets us free. We have, as the scriptures say, “learned Christ." We no longer exchange our new self for the old. We walk in the truth, understanding that we have been created after the likeness of our God.

So in light of the scripture, since we are clothed with Christ, His righteousness, and His holiness, we live out or practice what we have been called to. It is a constant renewal of our minds so we think about things within a biblical context.

As the body of Christ, we must put away all falsehood and speak truth with one another. We must not get angry and allow the devil a foothold. We must work honestly in an effort to be able to live with an open hand and not a closed fist when we are given the opportunity to meet the needs of others.

We must continue to build up the body with encouragement, promoting a sense of unity since we have all been called to one purpose. We must be kind to one another. We must forgive. We must grow in community with one another. It is simply a great way for us to show the world the magnitude of His love. One of the reasons the early church was so successful was because of the changed lives of the Christians, and the (community) world noticed.  

If you continue to read into chapter 5, it states in verses 1-2, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Let us do our best to be imitators of God and walk in love. If you keep reading into verse 3 it charges us to, “not grow weary." We must not grow weary in doing good. We must continue to chase after the truth, beauty, and goodness that is found in God.

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