Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
I don’t know anyone who has followed Jesus all the way to the point of death. I am aware of the 21 men who because of their faith and confession of Jesus were beheaded on a beach by ISIS radicals. Twenty of them were Egyptian Copts and one was a Ghanan who professed his faith in Jesus. I am aware of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian who were martyred in the Ecuadorian jungle by members of the Waodani tribe they went to serve.
I know people who have sacrificed comfort in order to share the message of Jesus. I know missionaries who have forsaken the American dream of worldly success in order to serve the cause of Jesus’ reign and rule. I know people who have sacrificed large sums of money because they believe in Jesus and want to support the work of his church.
All these people have done so because of Jesus’ sacrifice for them and the whole world. They are obeying the command to
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Jesus’ death was pleasing to God because he died in faith. He never failed to entrust himself to God. He never abandoned God’s ways. He remained steadfast and obedient. He was perfectly obedient to God in every situation. He suffered sacrificially for us, giving his life as a ransom for you and for me. All this pleased God.
Those who deeply know this love and sacrifice have not only an example, but also a Savior, and One who encourages us onward in our life of sacrificial love. Ours may never approach the extreme love he gave and loss that he endured.
God will never be impressed with our sacrifices. We cannot earn his attention or his favor. And even the greatest sacrifice without faith has no place in God’s heart. But whenever we experience even the smallest loss for the sake of Jesus we reflect his perfect sacrifice. If we do this in faith we please God.