Paul writes, “Therefore be imitators of God” (Eph 5:1). At first glance, calling this declaration a daunting task is the understatement of the century! You want me to imitate God?
Can We Imitate God?
Given the context, the apostle was exhorting his readers to love and show compassion toward one another. Christ forgave them, so they should forgive their brothers and sisters (4:32). Christ loved them, so they should walk in love (5:2). The command to imitate God in this respect was not something too lofty for the Church.
However, I think a greater principle is in play here. For example, Paul was not shy to root his apostolic acts in the model of Christ, that many may be saved (1 Cor 10:33). And for the Corinthians, the immediate application of Christ’s and Paul’s examples was “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Cor 11:1).
Following the Creation account, God sends Himself into the created order and enters into relationship with man and woman. While this intimacy lasts for a while, the Fall brings eternal separation. Regardless, the gracious and loving Creator sends Himself again into the Garden with a message of hope through judgment. Relationship and blessing now come through death. The woman’s seed will crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15), and though hindered, fellowship with the Creator is restored by faith.