Submitted Date 07/17/2019

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

In chapter 4 of Ephesians, Paul had been discoursing on the fact that believers should walk in unity; that God has given to the church the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to build it up; that, like a change of clothes, the believer should, "put off, the old and, "put on the new man;" and that the believer should not grieve (fail to respond obediently to) the Holy Spirit.

He ends up the section by saying, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) Then he opens chapter 5 by saying, essentially, "For this reason, you should imitate God by giving yourself for one another, as Christ did for us."

This instruction echoes Jesus's words, where He told His followers,"'Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.'" (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:48‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) In like manner, He said,"'Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.'" (‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) And finally, "'As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.'" (‭‭John‬ ‭15:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) Clearly Jesus intends for us not only to follow His but to follow His Father's example.

In line with that teaching, Paul, in multiple letters to the church tells them in several iterations, "Love one another," explaining what that means. Most famously, the Holy Spirit wrote through him the greatest treatise on true love in I Corinthians 13. To further validate this, the Apostle John echoed the same theme, saying, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (‭‭I John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

In what does this result? In the Old Testament days, in addition to the requirement of blood atonement, one of the aspects of sacrifices to God was that they would be a, "sweet aroma," to God (Exodus 19:18, 25). In at least one other place (II Corinthians 2:14-15), Paul metaphorically paints the sacrifice of our self-interest on the altar of faith as the same scent to our Father.

We are no longer required to go to Jerusalem, dragging an oxen, a dove, a sheep or a ram. Instead we daily lay down our lives, as Abraham by faith laid down his son, trusting that in so doing God would raise Isaac up by His mighty power. As God did for Abraham, so He will do for you. "In honor prefer one another," is a pleasing fragrance to our Father, allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives. By faith, "go forth and do likewise!"


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