Living out my Identity!
This Sunday we are in Ephesians 5:1-7, which begins with a lofty exhortation: Be Imitators of God as beloved children. Living the Christian life is at the core of this sentence.
It’s not about what we do so much as who we are. Or to put it another way, what we do flows out of who we are. When we know who we are, it’s not hard to figure out what we are supposed to do.
From this text we understand that we are to imitate our heavenly Father because we are His children. The motive for our obedience to the Father’s will is our identity as children adopted by His Grace (1:5-6). Our obedience rests on and flows out of our relationship to the Father. This is super important: God’s requirements, and our obedience, rest on that loving relationship; they do not form the relationship. We obey because we are loved; we are not loved because we obey. The love of our Father precedes and stimulates the obedience of his children. We are to forgive and live and love as dearly loved children imitating the One who already is our Father, not performing to bribe God to become our Father.
The significance of this truth will become apparent as we move further in our text and consider the sins of lust and greed. How would we turn others from such patterns of behavior? Should we warn? Yes. Should we exhort someone to avoid them? Yes. Should we challenge people not to participate? Yes. But what first? First we remind those who love God and are grieving their failure that they are his dearly loved child. Say to the struggler, “You are a wonderful child, a precious child of God, dearly loved by Him. You are precious to Him. Live as one dearly loved. Be what you are in Christ.”
What is more productive and power instilling than shame or fear is the approach of the apostle Paul. He reminds God’s people that they are “dearly loved children.” In the knowledge of that love provided by Christ’s blood rather than their performance, power for obedience springs. Such power will be needed because of the nature of the command that immediately follows. (Eph. 3:20-21)
Live who you really are in Christ. See you Sunday!