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.” 3 But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
Imitators of God: Paul is building upon the foundation laid in Ephesians 1-3. The first three chapters are focused on the Christians identity in Christ. Now, Paul is encouraging people to live in light of this by imitating God. Imitation does not refer to external imitation: We are not to imitate Christ as He lived 2000 years ago. Instead, we are to imitate the living Christ within us. We receive His love for us and live in light of this moment-by-moment. We receive His fruit towards us and express it (see Galatians 5:22-23).
Gave Himself up for us: Paul is constantly bringing focus to Christ. We are to live lives of servitude reflected by Christ’s own actions. He gave Himself up for us, therefore, we are to love one another in a similar way.
Fragrant aroma: Christ smells good to God. But this is not the whole picture. Because of Christ, believers smell good to God as well (2 Corinthians 2:15-17). This means that Christians have what Christ has. As the apostle John says, we are like Him in this world (1 John 4:17). We are as righteous and pleasing to God as Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Immorality: In light of who we are in Christ we are to stay away from immorality and sin. We do this not to keep God happy with us but because it is fitting for God’s children who are righteous to the core. Christians are no longer compatible with sin (Romans 6:2).
Inheritance in the kingdom: This is describing unbelievers. Believers have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade (see 1 Peter 1:3-5).