Be ye therefore followers of God - The beginning of this chapter is properly a continuation of the preceding, which should have ended with the second verse of this. The word μιμηται, which we translate followers, signifies such as personate others, assuming their gait, mode of speech, accent, carriage, etc.; and it is from this Greek word that we have the word mimic. Though this term is often used in a ludicrous sense, yet here it is to be understood in a very solemn and proper sense. Let your whole conduct be like that of your Lord; imitate him in all your actions, words, spirit, and inclinations; imitate him as children do their beloved parents, and remember that you stand in the relation of beloved children to him. It is natural for children to imitate their parents; it is their constant aim to learn of them, and to copy them in all things; whatever they see the parent do, whatever they hear him speak, that they endeavor to copy and imitate; yea, they go farther, they insensibly copy the very tempers of their parents. If ye therefore be children of God, show this love to your heavenly Father, and imitate all his moral perfections, and acquire the mind that was in Jesus.
Be ye therefore followers of God - Greek, “Be imitators - μιμηταὶ mimētai- of God.” The idea is not that they were to be the friends of God, or numbered among his followers, but that they were to imitate him in the particular thing under consideration. The word “therefore” - οὖν oun- connects this with the previous chapter, where he had been exhorting them to kindness, and to a spirit of forgiveness, and he here entreats them to imitate God, who was always kind and ready to forgive; compare Matthew 5:44-47; As he forgives us Ephesians 4:32, we should be ready to forgive others; as he has borne with our faults, we should bear with theirs; as he is ever ready to hear our cry when we ask for mercy, we should be ready to hear others when they desire to be forgiven; and as he is never weary with doing us good, we should never be weary in benefiting them. As dear children - The meaning is, “as those children which are beloved follow the example of a father, so we, who are beloved of God, should follow his example.” What a simple rule this is! And how much contention and strife would be avoided if it were followed! If every Christian who is angry, unforgiving, and unkind, would just ask himself the question, “How does God treat me?” it would save all the trouble and heart-burning which ever exists in the church.
As dear children - The meaning is, “as those children which are beloved follow the example of a father, so we, who are beloved of God, should follow his example.” What a simple rule this is! And how much contention and strife would be avoided if it were followed! If every Christian who is angry, unforgiving, and unkind, would just ask himself the question, “How does God treat me?” it would save all the trouble and heart-burning which ever exists in the church.
We are to consider ourselves as constituting the family of Christ, and we are to follow Him as dear children. Adopted into the household of God, shall we not honor our Father and our kindred? ... TMK 361.3Read in context »
Let us take in the idea of the privilege we have. There are so many who, when they are in trouble, fall into temptation and lose their bearings. They forget the invitations God has abundantly given, and begin to look and plan for human help. They go to human beings for aid, and this is the way in which their experience becomes feeble, and confused. In all our trials we are directed to seek the Lord most earnestly, remembering that we are His property, His children by adoption. No human being can understand our necessities as Christ. We shall receive help if we ask Him in faith. We are His by creation, we are His by redemption. By the cords of divine love we are bound to the Source of all power and strength. If we will only make God our dependence, asking Him for what we want as a little child asks His father for what he wants, we shall obtain a rich experience. We shall learn that God is the source of all strength and power. LHU 55.2Read in context »
If there is not that perfect harmony existing between us, we should not feel that we ourselves are not at all to blame in the matter. If another's thoughts and feelings are not in the same channel as our own, we should not feel that they are all wrong and we are right. We want to constantly keep the mind at the right point, to answer the prayer of Christ in John 17:21-23. We want to know what is the yoke Christ bids us take and the burdens we are to carry at this time, and constantly seek in kindness and love to show our brother that we have an interest in him, and bring love into our actions day by day. This is the gold tried in the fire—faith and love. If we see one in error on any point we should not pass along and say nothing, but we must try to bring him out from darkness into light. We must guard each other's interests as we do our own. We do not value the soul as we should. We ought to be united in one great brotherhood and be in that place where we can bear with the faults of one another with all longsuffering and meekness, and seek to bear one another's burdens. (See Ephesians 5:1, 2.) TDG 274.3Read in context »