“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
This is the first specific command of what the “manner worthy” and the “good works” that Christians are to exemplify in their daily lives. The living is to be “in love.” Love is to be the pattern that characterizes the life of the believer. What does this love look like though? The world of today defines and pursues love as a “whatever feels right” or a selfish pleasure that serves self and personal desires.
However, the love that is to be the sought-after arrangement of life is a “giving up of self” love. The model that Christians look to for this type of self-giving love is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s love was not a self-serving love, but a humble “sacrifice to God.” The aim of love is not to self or even toward others but is oriented toward God and for God alone. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom 11:36). Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us as an offering to God.
Believer’s love then must be patterned and focused as Christ’s was – to God for others. If simply attempting to love others without the right foundation, Christians will burn out or simply deal with externals and look for adulations concerning how great their love is for the persecuted. When the Christians love is built upon the unshakable love of God, then self-giving and self-sacrifice for those who mistreat, revile, persecute, and even kill the body is the resulting fruit.
This type of love is to be “walked in” or “lived in.” It is to be the pattern of life for the Christian. The love that Christ showed to the Christian is then to be lived in in this world. Live life with the type of love for God and others that Christ modeled and gives to you.
Theology Implication: Christians’ definition of love and expressions of love are controlled and constrained to the example of Jesus Christ. The love that is to be for God and those around us cannot be selfish or self-made, but self-giving and self-sacrificial in all aspects of life. This type of love is contrary to the workings of the love of the world that produce “sexual immorality, and all impurity [and] covetousness… [and] filthiness [and] foolish talk [and] crude joking” (Eph 5:3-4).
When we love God and see ourselves as “beloved children” we then imitate our God and our Savior in the manner in which our lives are conducted in love for God and others. God has given and shown great love toward us by choosing us before the foundation of the world (1:4). Once we are saved, our conduct in life must be patterned in the love of God demonstrated by Christ.
Article By: Caleb Nedimyer