“Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:1-2 KJV
“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[a] and offered Himself as a Sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT
Do we follow or do we imitate? Let’s try this again.
“Wherefore I beseech you, be you followers of Me.” 1 Corinthians 4:16 KJV
“So I urge you to imitate Me.” 1 Corinthians 4:16 NLT
Just to be fair I wanted to see in what context the NLT used the word “follow”. There are many instances when follow was used in context. However, then there was this:
“And He said unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 KJV
“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19 NLT
Will the Lord show me how to be a fisher of man or will He make me a fisher of man if I follow Him?
Who is to say which is correct? The scrolls themselves proclaim that which is the Word of God. The King James Version is translated word for word while most others are translated from an entirely different set of scrolls and are thought for thought.
There is something extremely important missing in the New Living Translation version (and many other versions). This “something” determines whether we become fishers of man. It is THE difference in “following” and “imitating”.
Have you noticed how the NLT version of these Scriptures leave out the ministry of the Holy Spirit? It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make us what the Lord has called us to be. We usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit when we attempt in vain to imitate God instead of following Him.
This is the problem with many if not most modern churches. The unadulterated, full counsel, rightly divided Word of God has been so diluted that the ministry of self empowerment has usurped the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Believers faith is directed toward their ability to “imitate” and when they fail, which they ultimately will, their faith is shattered.
“9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And you are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power:
11 In Whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who has raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:9-12 KJV
The ministry of the Holy Spirit will effect a change in our heart that results in the making of a new creature. Old things are passed away and all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). The Holy Spirit is commissioned by God to make these changes when WE given Him the latitude to do such. When our faith is placed on our ability to imitate, we are not giving the Holy Spirit authority to make the change in our hearts He is commissioned to do.
Imitate as we might but the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus will not make us free from the law of sin and death until our faith is placed in the atoning work of Jesus Christ to break the power of sin in the Believer’s life (Romans 6:14)…not our ability to imitate Him.
-Donna Clark Warren