Be Imitators of God
“1 …therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 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.” NASB
How appropriate this verse would come up on Good Friday, at this time in our study. Today, I will dwell simply on this one statement and important admonition from Paul.
We are to imitate God. Another word found in the scripture that is equally descriptive is “reflecting” the image of Christ. Philippians 2:5, 4:9, I Co 4:16, I Th 1:6, 2 Th 3:9, He 6:12, 13:7 all speak of imitating Christ, reflecting His character and mindset. In Genesis chapter one verse twenty-six, the very beginning of our story, we are instructed that the Godhead chose that we are created in the Divine image. It is our purpose to reflect the intrinsic goodness and character of God. As we ponder the way of the cross this Easter season, I pray that we are challenged to receive the admonition to become His reflection to our world and our neighbor. Just who is the Christ we are reflecting?
In the letter to the Colossians, Paul states “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 1:15 (NASB) Hebrews chapter one and verses one through three are even more elaborate in the written description of Jesus of Nazareth.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world . 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”
Our passage today states that Jesus gave Himself for us, as the sacrifice for our atonement, as a sweet sacrifice. This implies how God accepted the work of the cross that Jesus accomplished. Jesus was pleasing to God, and in that acceptable work, we are reconciled to the Father. Our relationship restored, we may reflect the image that God intended we reflect. I love Mark’s description of our ability to reflect the love and faith of Christ. Mark 11:23 and 24 in my paraphrase state “…we are to have the faith of God…” This means in the Greek: “echo faith in the essence of the divine. We are a spiritual “sounding board of the faith, i.e.; the nature of God. God speaks, and what God says reverberates through us, by the nature and Spirit of Christ. We are to be open channels, receivers of that nature and Spirit. In the Psalms the writer states that “forever thy word is settled in Heaven…’ which indicates that God’s will and word is eternal and never ending. It continually goes forth, and we can reverberate that eternal continuum. We must be willing. The writer in Hebrews tells us that “faith comes.. by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” John chapter one speaks to our heart and says, “… the word was made flesh, and dwelt amount us, in the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Therefore, in this Easter season, we have a choice to make. To reflect the love and mind-set of Christ pictured above, the giving Christ of the cross, we must choose to rehear the word, and then to receive the word, and then to be willing reflections of that word. As we choose “the way”, we then begin to realize the greatest gift that Jesus gave us, that we are the “beloved children” of God.