Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB
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.
What does it mean to be an imitator of God? It means we are his followers, his sheep. But, it also means we are becoming like him in character, in heart, in mind and in actions.
But, we can’t do this in our own flesh. So, it also means that God is living within those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. And, God is living his life out through us when we yield to his sovereignty over our lives, and we submit to his will, and we follow his ways.
And, when we become more like God, like Jesus, we begin to think his thoughts and feel what he feels and hate what he hates and love what he loves. The things that concern him concern us, and the things which disturb him, they also disturb us.
For example, God hates lies, and he hates it when his people are not willing to obey him, but when they will “sacrifice” things for him, which are not really for him, because he does not want those things. And, he especially does not want those sacrifices while his people go their own way and engage themselves in sinful addictions, and then think God should be pleased with them because they did this “good” thing or that thing, supposedly for God.
So, if we feel this in our hearts, it does not mean we are not acting in love, for this is what God feels, and he is love. But, the reason he does feel this way is because he loves us, and because he wants what is best for us. So, he grieves when we wander off and we go our own way and when we fake faithfulness and lie about our sins. He grieves over us because we are doing harm to ourselves and to others and to our relationship with Him.
Ephesians 5:3-5 NASB
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
You see how God feels about these sins? If we are imitators of God, we should feel the same way about these sins. We should so hate these sins that we will do nothing to ever go that direction. We will do nothing to tempt fate, either. If we know going certain places has led us to sin, then we should never go those places again. And, we should not allow ourselves to be entertained by these sins via movies and TV shows or music, either.
For, there should be no sense in which we are involved in these sins or that we are in agreement with them or that we find pleasure in them via other people sinning in these ways.
But, it should grieve us greatly when other believers in Jesus (or professing Christians) engage themselves in immorality and lewdness and adultery and idolatry. And, we should have the understanding, too, that those who live in these sins will not have the hope of eternal life with God, no matter what faith in Christ they profess. And, that alone should break our hearts.
Ephesians 5:6-14 NASB
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
Going along with what we just talked about, we must be so careful that we do not fall into deception and that we don’t buy into false teaching which tickles itching ears, and which appeases the flesh rather than pleases the Spirit of God.
For, whether you are adding on to the gospel of our salvation those things which God does not require, or you are removing from the gospel what God does require, in order to make it more acceptable to humans, it is still man-made religion. Thus, it is empty.
The whole point of our salvation from sin is not just to forgive us our sins so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. For, Jesus died and rose again that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died to transform us, not just to forgive us. And, we are not saved just for ourselves, but that we might be for the praise, honor and glory of God.
So, if anyone is telling you that you can be saved from your sins and have heaven guaranteed you when you die, but they don’t tell you that salvation means death to sin and living to righteousness, don’t believe them. If they are telling you that you don’t have to repent of your sins or that you don’t have to obey Christ’s commandments, and that you can still go to heaven, don’t believe them.
The scriptures are very clear on this subject, so make no mistake. What we sow, we will also reap. If we sow to please our flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit, we will live.
So, instead of using God’s grace as a cover-up for your sinful addictions, or using it as an excuse for sinful practices, realize that we are saved, not just from the punishment of sin, but from slavery to sin, so that we might now become slaves (servants) of God’s righteousness. And, rather than partaking in what is evil, immoral, impure and idolatrous, we should be exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are, and we should be calling people to repentance and to obedience to Christ and to his Word.
Ephesians 5:15-21 NASB
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
We are not saved from our sins, and then we live how we want, to please our flesh, while we do “good deeds” and we attend worship services and serve in areas of Christian ministry. When we are saved, we are born again (anew) of the Spirit of God, only this time we are born spiritually, not physically. And, our lives are not supposed to look like they did before we were saved from our sins, nor should they be slightly cleaned up old lives.
Basically, when Jesus shed his blood on that cross for our sins, he redeemed us, i.e. he bought us back for God, so our lives are no longer our own, to be lived how we want, because we were bought with a price – Christ’s blood. So, believing in him to be our Savior means that we relinquish possession of our own lives and we make Jesus our Lord and master, and we now live to please him in all that we do and say and are, though that is a process.
But, our lives are now committed to him and to his service, to be who he has called us to be, and to do what he has called us to do, not for the praise of other humans, but for the praise of God, and because we love him.
And, instead of living for ourselves, to please our flesh, doing what makes us feel good all the time, or all of our “free” time, we should now be being led by the Spirit of God in doing what is pleasing to God and what ministers to the needs of other people, especially the family of God.
So, we should make it our goal to doing what is for the good of others, for what will be of benefit to them both physically and spiritually, and what will draw them near to God in full assurance of faith. Thus, we should be speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, for the spiritual growth and encouragement of one another, and again, not for the praise of humans.
For, to do so has nothing to do with being entertaining or with being a great singer or musician, nor does it have to do with singing praise and worship songs in a song service. But, this is about singing songs, with whatever voice God gives us, to help one another be strengthened in their walks of faith and so they can be encouraged to walk in holiness and to forsake their sinful ways. And, we should be doing this because we love one another, and because we care about one another’s lives.
Thus, we ourselves must be walking in fellowship with our Lord, living our lives according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and we must be in the practice of putting sin to death and walking in obedience to our Lord. Then, we can encourage one another, in the Spirit, to live in holiness and to walk in obedience, because that is essential, not only to living in peace with God and with others, but it is critical to us having the hope of heaven, too.
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for these truths.