Concluding from chapter four’s exhortation to live the life of a born again believer Paul now sets, perhaps, the highest goal that he possibly can:
“Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
(Ephesians 5.1-2, NET)
To be imitators of God must certainly go down as the steepest of challenges in Scripture, no? This is not a new or an isolated thing either:
“…you are to be holy because I am holy.”
(Leviticus 11.44, cf. 19.2, 20.7, 26, 21.8, 1 Peter 1.16)
To imitate something or someone takes action: think about children imitating their favourite sports star by playing a certain way, their favourite tv or movie character by what they say or how they say it. The call here, because of all that has come before in Ephesians, is to have our whole lives be imitators of God.
This doesn’t mean we are to go around behaving as if the whole universe is under our control – it’s not – but rather we are to begin imitating the truth that God is love (and live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, cf. 1 John 4.8b).
To be imitators of God is a lifelong pursuit, and something we will never finish this side of eternity (Colossians 3.3). We can go a long way, however, in imitating God by [living] in love.
Start this lifelong pursuit today by doing what you are doing in love. If it’s not possible to do what you’re doing in love, think about whether there needs to be a change.