Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to 5:1-14. This portion of Ephesians covers the matter of living in love and light, the fourth item of a walk worthy of God’s calling.
Verse 1 says, “Become therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.” Paul’s word here is an imperative, a command. He commands us to become imitators of God. What a glorious fact that since we are His beloved children, we can be imitators of God! As the children of God, we have His life and nature. We imitate God, not by our natural life, but by His divine life. It is by our Father’s life that we, His children, can be perfect as He is (Matt. 5:48).
According to the New Testament, the believers in Christ are children of God. As God’s children, we have God’s life. John 1:13 says that we have been born of God. To be born of God is to have the life of God. Furthermore, 2 Peter 1:4 says that we are partakers of the divine nature. Because we have the divine life and the divine nature, we can be imitators of God. Imitating God in this way is much different from training a monkey to imitate a man. A monkey does not have human life or human nature. But we have the divine life and the divine nature. Therefore, we can be imitators of God.
In verse 2 Paul issues another commandment: “Walk in love.” As grace and truth are the basic elements in 4:17-32, so love (5:2, 25) and light (5:8, 9, 13) are the basic elements in the apostle’s exhortation in 5:1-33. Grace is the expression of love, and love is the source of grace. Truth is the revelation of light, and light is the origin of truth. God is love and light (1 John 4:8; 1:5). When God is expressed and revealed in the Lord Jesus, His love becomes grace and His light becomes truth. After we have, in the Lord Jesus, received God as grace and realized Him as truth, we come to Him and enjoy His love and light. Love and light are deeper than grace and truth. Hence, the apostle firstly takes grace and truth as the basic elements for exhortation and then love and light. This implies that he wants our daily life to grow deeper, from the outward elements to the inward.
Love is the substance of God within, whereas light is the element of God expressed. It is possible to sense the love of God inwardly, and it is possible to see the light of God shining out. Our walk in love should be constituted of both the loving substance and the shining element of God. This should be the inner source of our walk. It is deeper than grace and truth.
Paul commands us to walk in love, even as Christ also loved us and “gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (5:2). In 4:32 the apostle presents God as the pattern for our daily walk. Here he sets forth Christ as the example for our living. There it is God in Christ as our pattern since, in that section, God’s grace and truth expressed in the life of Jesus are taken as the basic elements. According to 4:32, we are to forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven us. This means that God is the pattern of forgiveness. But in chapter five Christ Himself is our example since, in this section, love expressed by Christ to us (vv. 2, 25) and light shined by Christ upon us (v. 14) are taken as the basic elements. Here Christ, who loved us and gave Himself up for us, is the example of walking in love.
Paul says that Christ “gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” In the Bible there is a difference between an offering and a sacrifice. An offering is for fellowship with God, whereas a sacrifice is for redemption from sin. Christ gave Himself up for us both as an offering to have fellowship with God and as a sacrifice to redeem us from sin.
In loving us Christ gave Himself up for us. It was for us, but it was a sweet-smelling savor to God. In following His example, our walk in love should not only be something for others, but also a sweet-smelling savor to God.
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