1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
therefore (v.1) — in light of God’s forgiveness in Christ (Ephesians 4:32)
be (v.1) = become
imitators (v.1) = mimetai — the Greek word from which we get mimic
as dear children (v.1) = as children beloved — “as” points to the manner or character of the imitating and gives the reason for it
walk in love (v.2) = be constantly ordering your behavior within the sphere of love (agape)
This love is the agape love which God is, which God exhibited at the Cross, which Paul analyzes in 1 Corinthians 13, and which is the fruit of the Spirit in the yielded saint. The saint is to order his behavior or manner of life within the sphere of this divine, supernatural love produced in his heart by the Holy Spirit. When this love becomes the deciding factor in his choices and the motivating power in his actions, he will be walking in love. He will be exemplifying in his life the self-sacrificial love shown at Calvary and the Christian graces mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13. — Wuest, page 119.
for us (v.2) = instead of us, on behalf of us — not just for our benefit, but in our place
offering (v.2) = lit. “to carry to”
There is a subtle difference between these two great redemptive terms [“offering” and “sacrifice”]. When the Old Testament saint voluntarily brought his burnt offering to the door of the tabernacle, he brought it to please the Lord. In regard to this matter, Christ foreknew that there was nothing we could bring to please the Father, so He gave Himself as an offering on our behalf. Thus, if you come to God in Christ, the Father is as pleased with you as He is with His own dear Son. Little wonder the apostle says, “Wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).
A sacrifice is that which satisfies God in relation to sin. Here again, Christ had knowledge of the just demands of the Father. In time past, the blood of bulls and goats temporarily withheld the judgment of God, but it did not have the efficacy to remove those sins for whom the sacrifices were made. The cost of redemption is dear. God requires blood! “Without the shedding of blood, is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22).
Christ loved the unlovely so deeply that He willingly gave Himself as that once-for-all sacrifice. Our sins were not merely laid on Him, as was the case of the lamb in the Old Testament. Rather, Christ bore our sins in His body (1 Peter 2:24). — Sadler, pages 222-223.