5:1-2 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Followers of God is significantly more than a mere imitator. Following involves a sort of modeling system, with as Gentiles, we have a very practical model. The Apostle Paul instructs the Corinthian church to “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Similar statements are instructed twice more in the Epistles as well.
This is a very fortunate instruction included within the Bible; because, as Christians there are many aspects of life that would be impossible to replicate. Christ was/is perfect, man is not.
Especially for the Gentiles, Paul provides a brilliant example of a transformed and sold-out life for Jesus.
Be followers of God. Use the model and examples He provided within His word for this pursuit.
Speaking of examples, we are instructed to walk in love. We as Christians have the Holy Spirit, so we have the capability to walk in the same love that Christ has for us!
His love was not held back. He gave His life so that we may share eternity with Him. It is a strong love that as Christians we often characterize by the action of His ultimate submission to the Father.
This is reasonable as Christ Himself states, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
The reference to the sweetsmelling savour refers to the pleasing of God through sacrifice (ex. Leviticus 1:9) with Christ being the ultimate sacrifice.
In Ephesians 5 alone, there is three primary descriptions for the Spirit-led walk. Beginning in chapter 4, the Apostle Paul begins to describe the practicalities of doctrine.
In chapter 5, he instructs the walk to be: In love, as children of light, and circumspectly.
5:3-5 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
I once heard it noted that these three verses indicate sin in differing manifestations. Verse 3 being the works of sin, verse 4 being an indicator of the source (The heart; ex. Jeremiah 17:9), and verse 5 indicating the types of people that are committing the sin.
Each verse ends with a spiritual reason contrary to our Spiritual walk of why not to indulge.
It is not fitting for saints (Which all believers are), it is not good, and outside of Christ we are worthy of wrath.
5:6-10 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light is:
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
This verse does not stand as some benign test of our salvation. Paul discusses in the doctrinal portion of Ephesians that we are sealed in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Paul is not going to contradict himself here.
Yet, it does discuss responsibility in our position within the Body of Christ.
Listening to these “vain words” is against God’s word and counterproductive to the edification and building up of the Body of Christ. They hinder our walk.
In Colossians 1:10, Paul encourages healthy spiritual growth and practical spiritual living.
He states, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
We are called to increase in the knowledge of God and these false teachers will only twist and decrease genuine spiritual upbringing.
Darkness and light are similar to other Pauline contrast of flesh and Spirit, old man and new man, first Adam and second Adam, and so on. Darkness is a state of being that is totally illuminated by the smallest of lights.
God is a God of light and with the God of Light living within us and we are part of the family of God (Galatians 6:10) we are regarded as children of light. We should walk as children of light. The light being His word (Psalm 119:130).
Children of light exemplify the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). These are acceptable traits to God the Father. The Christian walk produces fruit.