Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.Ephesians 5:1(HCSB)
Having detailed our unity in the Spirit, our union with Christ, and the unsearchable riches of God that have been freely bestowed on us by grace, Paul contrasts the corrupt lives of unregenerate man with the normal Christian walk, which should exhibit the tenderness, forgiveness, and grace that we see in the character of God and the life of Christ.
Having built up this worthy argument, Paul then exhorts us, "Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children." We are being called here to live as sons and daughters of God, whereby our lives reflect the kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness of the Father in the same way that God in Christ has forgiven us.
These are beautiful qualities that are exhibited in a life that is living in spirit and truth, under the guidance of the Spirit, in union with Christ, and in fellowship with the Father. We have been freely forgiven and have received the unsearchable riches of God's grace. We receive all of this because of Christ, Who gave Himself for us.
Because we are in union with Christ and identified with Him, we are exhorted to follow Him in our attitudes and actions, and even the motives of our hearts that are known only to God. We are called to be like Christ; to follow His example, to imitate His life and character, to grow in grace, and to be conformed into His likeness.
The only way to grow in grace and mature in the Christian faith is to put away all the influences and characteristics of the old sin nature that are exhibited in a wide range of outward actions, inward attitudes, and secret motives that are acceptable to God.
We are not to take part in actions, attitudes, and motives that are unacceptable to God. Rather, we are to imitate the beautiful life that Christ lived by living our life in the same way that Christ did – by walking in spirit, sharing the truth in love, growing in grace, and learning obedience through the things that we suffer.
Loving Father, I want to be more and more like Christ, to walk in newness of life, and to truly be a life where Christ can be seen in me. In His name I pray, AMEN.