BECOME IMITATORS OF GOD!
5:1-2 and 8-11
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 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.
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the
Lord; walk as children of Light. 9 (for the fruit of the Light
consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to
learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the
unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.
In this passage we see Jesus both as
Savior – which will say, mercy and gift – and as a role model.
It is a passage that is first and foremost addressed to those who
are Christians, those who already belong to the Lord. “-but now
you are Light in the Lord” (v.8), he writes to those he addresses to.
But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also have a message to those who
still stands on the outside, a message from the Lord, exactly to you.
Just think about that He, the creator of heaven and earth, is
addressing, and speaks to you! If people would realize this, the bible
would be lying on all tables around the country. But unbelief is still
“Become imitators of God,” we read (v.1) – and then we probably
think that we will first do a lot of good deeds, and not do many evil
ones – and that is also true, as we see from the passage: “Trying to
learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful
deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” (v.10-11). Which means:
Go for what you can see the Scripture sees is right, and avoid that
which is not. A Christian cannot live in something that the Scripture
says is sin. – No, you cannot even live in it and be calm if you doubt
that it’s riht.
But to become an imitator of God is something far more than that,
and that is also revealed in this passage, if you can see it. It says
very clearly what God above all has delighted in – it says about
something is a fragrant aroma for Him (v.2b), and just listen to
what that is! – Listen to it and let it sink in, whether you are
a Christian or not, because this is for everybody: “- Christ also loved
you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice.” (v.2).
This, that He gave Himself for
us - for you who’s sitting here right now - as a gift and a sacrifice,
is a fragrant aroma for God. It’s like a nice fragrant for Him, it
pleases and makes His heart glad, His whole attention is focused on what
you and me are concerned: What Jesus Has done for us! And then you
barely dear to believe, that it also concerns you! – That it can also
concern for someone like yourself, who’ve only sinned and lived with
your back towards God, busy with pleasing your own wants and need? – And
then you read this, completely against all your worrying thoughts of
doubt, that it on the contrary is like a fragrant aroma for God!
What is it then to become an imitator of God? Do you see – as soon
as one starts to realize this, the pieces will soon start to fall into
place in other areas than what they did before. To become an imitator of
God is first and foremost this that which is a fragrant aroma for Him,
also has become the same for you. Then you have become one spirit with
Him – you are busy with and rejoice over the same thing - that is Jesus
Christ gift and sacrifice.
It says that there is joy in heaven among God’s angels over one
soul who sees this – and God’s angels wouldn’t rejoice over something
that isn’t also God’s joy!
And then you perhaps sit there and think about in meetings after
meetings: Should I really dear to receive this? – Can I believe that
this concerns someone like me? – And then the Scripture testifies that
exactly that is the joy of heaven – that you believe and
I will read these two verses from the passage:
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 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.” (v.1-2).
What is then the first thing you think about after your own natural
way of thinking: Oh, I must live more like Jesus; I must be more like He
was and is! – And it’s not wrong to think like that – but first of all
you have to realize in your heart: This is the way Jesus is towards me.
– He has loved me and loves me so that He gave Himself as a gift and a
sacrifice for me! – This is how He looks at me in this moment!
Without this light in your heart – as the Scripture calls it – all
deeds become full of strife and laws, and as soon as this message
becomes blurred for a child of God, it also just remains with strife and
You may think
that your sin towards Jesus is so big, and so it is – always bigger and
worse than what we think of it – but what is that compared to His mercy?
Agatha Rosenius Has expressed this very nicely in a song: “My sin
towards Jesus is like the sparkle towards the ocean. It quenches and
sinks in its deepest ground.”
There is a story about a homeless person who had entered into a
meeting in a city in Norway – sat almost all the way back and walked for
a little bit thinking that for me it is hopeless. But they had sung this
song in the meeting, and when he got down to the harbor (this was back
in the day when steam boats were still running) it happened that a
sparkle came out from the chimney from one of the boats, and quenched
towards the surface of the water with a shriek – then he realized what
the message meant: “My sin towards Jesus is like the sparkle towards the
ocean.” – And listen: “It quenches and sinks -!”
There is a word in the Scripture which is
hard to comprehend for everyone: “But where sin increased, grace
abounded all the more.” (Rom.5:20).
An old Norwegian I knew, who had lived most of his life in America,
and now had come home to live his last years in his homeland, said to me:
“This is the word I always had to cling to, and it has carried me til
So, if my sin had been much bigger than what it is – yes, then
grace would be too!
Isn’t that a word to ponder on for the rest of the life? – Or what
about this: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot
deny Himself.” (2 Tim.2:13).
Can you comprehend that He’s like this? – There is hardly anything
worse than being faithless! It’s one of the lowest outcomes of our sin.
Just think about that you who are married or in a relationship – to be
betrayed! Faithlessness is an evil case.
And then read the verse again: “If we are faithless, He remains
faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
Shouldn’t you then dear to approach Him?
It is often said among us: Salvation
doesn't depend on works. To that I can answer: It is completely
wrong! – Our salvation depends exactly on works
Maybe you jumped right now? But it is true! – Our salvation isn’t
something diffuse, something that just hangs in the air – no, it is
founded on completely concrete works done here on earth – but that is
Jesus works and not ours. It is this deed that is a
fragrant aroma for God!
Our salvation rests on a mountain ground,
God’s own deeds. Yes, then you understand, I have to believe that this
Then His admonition comes to you who has
got the gift to see this: “For you were formerly darkness, but now you
are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” (v.8).
You have got part in the light, and are a child of the light
– yes, light in the Lord, as it is expressed here – do you want to
return to darkness then, the strife under the deeds of law, lacking
certainty of salvation, a blur understanding of the Lord etc.? –
Wouldn’t you rather see that which is a fragrant aroma for God? “Christ
also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice
Again, if you have forgotten it already,
this is what pleases
God’s heart. Just hear a few words about this at the end here – and I
would very much like if you who has a bible with you, look up and read
it yourself. First: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He
loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1
Joh.4:10). – “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God
is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified
concerning His Son.” (1 Joh.5:9). – And hear what He has called you to –
and when He decides to call you, who are you to question that? – Now,
listen to what He calls you to: “God is faithful, through whom you were
called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1
And He is faithful, He who called you to this! There is
nothing insecure about this – it’s only mine and your heart that is so
polluted by unbelief. But He also nailed that sin on the wooden cross –
just don’t choose to remain in your unbelief.
Yes, He is faithful, He who has called you, and notice then – if
you also have been faithless. Don’t let any of the devils accusation,
any judgment of the law or your own hearts condemnation drive you away
from the Word of the cross! And not any teachings about the law, which
tells you that there has to be more to it than “just” having faith in
Jesus and His work to be saved - or a preaching that promise you a
greater degree of holiness and growth as a Christian by anything else
than growing in grace and knowledge in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord;
walk as children of Light.” (v.8). “-but now -.”
Maybe you are trying to find room in your
heart for Jesus – but listen first of all: There is room for you in Him!
Holy Bible, New American
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart