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.Ephesians 5:2(NASB)
As His children, we are called to imitate our Father in heaven. We are to be like Him in thought, word, deed, and motive. We are to follow His example and use Him as our role model for our inner life, and our hidden moments... as well as our outer behaviour and attitude towards others. Just as God is holy, we are to be holy in all our conduct.
The only way we can imitate the immortal, omnipotent God is to look to Christ, Who is the image of the invisible God in every godly attribute. His food was to do the will of the Father Who sent Him and we are to be like Him and carry out His will and purpose for us. But there is so much more to Christlikeness than doing what He did. We are to be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. As Paul wrote we are to be perfect, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
We are to be God's representatives on earth... and before He ascended into heaven, the Lord Jesus gave us a new commandment, that we love one another in the same way that Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. In Ephesians 5, Paul exhorts all of us to "walk in love." Indeed, the time that the Lord Jesus lived on earth can be described as a life-walk of love - a life which from start to finish was exercised in love.
The life of Jesus is characterised, in conduct, conversation, attitude, and action by an outflow of loving grace, and compassionate mercy towards those with Whom He came in contact. Christ exemplified the walk of love, which we are exhorted to follow, for His life was one of supreme surrender to the Father. His was a life of self-sacrifice for the whole world. He demonstrated a depth of love for the Church we will never fathom - for Jesus gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God. His whole life was as a fragrant aroma to His Father in heaven.
The Lord Jesus Christ was indeed the personification of the bloody ‘sin offering’ that was demanded by God to pay the price for the sin of the world. He was made sin for us, causing God to turn away from Him, when He took upon Himself the sin of the world – for God cannot look upon sin. But Christ also was the perfect picture of the beautiful, free-will, burnt-sacrifice - the voluntary love offering which was a precious thank-offering that poured forth a sweet-smelling perfume that found favour in the eyes of the Lord.
Christ’s sacrifice of Himself was His peculiar walk of love for you and for me. He gave His life as a ransom for many so that by faith in Him we might be united with Him in spirit and truth. He was the perfect example of a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. He demonstrated His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners He died for us. And we are called to walk in love, just as He walked. Like Christ, we need to present our own bodies as a living sacrifice, so that we may become a sweet-smelling savour to the Lord.
The sin offering was the compulsory requirement to satisfy the price that had to be paid for the sin of the world. But Christ's sacrifice was also a voluntary offering to God, as He walked to the Cross in love. Jesus became a willing victim and a sweet-smelling fragrance before God, and like Him, we too are exhorted to walk in love in the self-same way.
It is not only in the outshining of our Christian walk that is important... as our life crosses the paths of others. God wants the love of Christ to shine forth from our hearts. He wants love to thrive in that secret place of our heart, and within those private thoughts where no other has access to our inner mind and motive, save the omnipresent God.
May we so walk in the spirit of Christ, that like Him, our visible walk as well as our hidden ways, may become a sweet-smelling aroma to our heavenly Father. May we walk in love... just as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us - an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the life example of the Lord Jesus. I know I cannot copy Him in my own strength, but I pray that in the power of the Spirit, I would learn to walk in love, so that I become a sweet-smelling thank-offering that is pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.