Thursday, April 15, 2021

Resurrection Words Day 14: Love


Day 14: Love

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

The most defining mark of kingdom people who are living the resurrection life is love. Paul defines and sums up our call to love in Ephesians 5:1-2. Let's walk through this passage and understand that call (imperative).

First, most other translations begin the verse with 'therefore'. So our task is to ask what's it there for? For the answer we look back into chapter 4. In verse 24 we read that Christ-followers have "put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness". It then follows with examples and instructions of what that looks like, ending in verse 32 calling us to forgive each other "just as in Christ God forgave you". So, since we have put on the new self which is created to be like God, and in Christ God has forgiven us, we are called to follow God's example, or as stated in other translations, we are to be imitators of God.

Paul then says, "as dearly loved children". We are called to imitate God, first, because we are His children. Children often imitate the attitudes, actions and values of their parents. As God's children, Paul is calling us to live up to the family name, so to speak. To imitate and follow after the One who has brought us into His family, who has given us this new life.

The second part of Paul's call on us is to imitate God and live a life of love. How are we to live a life of love? Paul says we have our example in the life of Jesus Christ: "Just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us". Not only is this an example of how to live a life of love, but it is also our motivation to do so. Because Christ loved us and gave His life for us, we are to love others and live as those whose lives are defined by love. 

How did Christ give himself up for us? "As a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." This statement is a reminder to the patterns of the Old Testament. When animal sacrifices were made to God they were burned on the altar and the smells of the sacrifices were fragrant and pleasing to God, as symbols of the people's love and obedience. When we live a life of love, we are, therefore, just like those fragrant offerings. Our sacrifice in giving up our self-centered lives and living lives of love, imitating Christ, is pleasing to God.

Again, this brings us back to our theme verse: 

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.

The resurrection life means we no longer live life for ourselves. Christ now lives in us by His Spirit and we now live our life in imitation of, and motivated by, the One who loved us and gave himself for us.

Share your response to today's word and Scripture readings in the Words Art & Faith Challenge Group on Facebook. Or share on social media with #resurrectionwords. 

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