“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. ” Ephesians 5:1-2
Be ye therefore … Looks like we must go back a little bit to catch the context of this verse at the beginning of chapter 5 as Paul was writing to the Church at Ephesus. As I go back I see that Paul has used so many “buts”, “ands”, “therefores” and “wherefores” so it seems that to get the gist of what Paul is saying we must go all the way back to verse 2 in chapter 4. Take a look:
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
17This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20But ye have not so learned Christ; 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27Neither give place to the devil. 28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Paul has just finished talking about Christian unity and how that looks. He reminds us of the importance of being like minded and I love his use of the word “one”:
There is one BODY
and one SPIRIT,
even as ye are called in one HOPE of your calling;
6One GOD and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
And when we read on we see that he is giving specific instructions as to how we may be “followers of God” as we see in today’s passage. Let’s break it down like this:
Before we knew Christ
Now that we know Christ
|Unstable tossed to and fro … being deceived by men … Darkened Understanding||Grieve not the Holy Spirit – let Him change your mind and convince you of the truth — Be renewed in the spirit of your mind|
|Alienated from God by a heart that is blinded||No longer lost but SAVED and Righteous in God’s eyes|
|Lascivious; Unclean||No corrupt communication|
|Greedy||Work with your hands that you may give|
|Corrupt conversation – deceitful||Speak the truth in love – forbear one another|
|Bitter, angry, malicious||Kind and tenderhearted|
|Argumentative (clamour)||Longsuffering (patient) Forgiving|
Bottom line — why should we continue to do the things that we did when we did not know Christ? After all that Jesus did for us we should “be followers of God”. It is a choice between two things: the Word or the world. As a child of God you have everything that you need to do as Paul admonishes — you have the power that only the Holy Spirit provides. It is your choice — what are you going to do with it?
Romans 12:1-2 ( KJV ) 1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.