Christ suffered on our behalf, an offering and sacrifice to God as a sweet smelling aroma. This entails two things, which cannot be separated. First, Christ has suffered the judgment we deserved because of our sins. Second, Christ has made us pleasing to our Father. To be participants of Christ, therefore, means that we are not in judgment (Rom 8:1) and that we are pleasing to him. As St. Paul says, we are his dear children. The inheritance is already ours through faith (Gal 3:26). We are therefore imitators of God by walking in this very love of Christ. He obeyed his Father, not as one who did not already have the right to the inheritance; but as one who possessed all things Christ gave up his life for us. Therefore, as we possess all things, we learn to give up our lives for one another.
Giving up our lives for one another begins by actually caring about one another. It means admonishing one another, being willing to humble ourselves and swallow our pride when we have sinned against one another, warning one another, and consoling one another. It is not gossiping and getting in each other’s business, but earnestly caring about the spiritual and physical well being of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is walking as children of the light. Rather than looking the other way when anyone is caught up in sin, God would have us be honest and upfront about our weaknesses. This is so that the stronger in faith might restore the weaker with a spirit of gentleness. Paul warns, as he does so often, against participating in the filth of the world. The world is not honest. It is deceived. As it goes on committing sexual immorality and other unclean acts, it laughs at and mocks the thought of any coming judgment or wrath. The unbelievers are drunk, staggered, and confused over the danger of their souls, as they live in the darkness of sin. St. Paul warns us not to participate with them in such things. We are not sons of disobedience, but of God. Our share is with him. And as we live together in him, giving thanks together and singing hymns that teach about our Savior, we enjoy the fruits that come only from his own Spirit.