In Ephesians 5, Paul describes us as beloved children of God and states that as his children we should imitate him. And what is he like? He is, indeed, "true righteousness and holiness." (4:23). We were created in his image, and now in Christ, we are recreated, so to speak, in his image. Therefore we should live like it, literally walk like it. Paul says that as God's children we are to walk in love. He then goes on to describe how the world has twisted this "walk in love": those who've rejected God now walk in sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness. Why does Paul point out these sins? Because they are the polar opposite of the relationship between Christ and us. Sexual intimacy outside of marriage (its root is covetousness - lusting for something that is not ours), betrays the intimacy that Christ has with us....a covenantal love within the bond of commitment - the Scriptures even describe the relationship between God and his people as marriage! Jesus is called the "Bridegroom" and the Church as his "Bride". Paul later states that those who live in a counterfeit way have no inheritance, no place, in the Kingdom of God. That's how serious God looks at this...he is holy, and we must be, too...in all aspects of our lives.
Paul drops a few hints more about how we might begin this "walk in love" with God and one another: we are to be thankful. Thankfulness is a practice that reminds us that everything we have is from the hand of our loving God and that he provides all that we need. This then renders covetousness impotent. We no longer lust for more, but are grateful for what we have; especially for whom we have. We are children of God, covenantally bound to him, the Bride of Christ....united together with Him, by grace, through faith. As we enter our American culture's season of "Thanksgiving", may we be reminded that in Christ, every season is ripe for thanksgiving! May we offer our hands open to God, as we offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and so imitate the God who offered his son sacrificially, that we might have life. And that we might know his love. And that we might experience peace with him and one another. Let us come together with thanksgiving this weekend (Saturday night and/or Sunday morning) as we explore this text some more!