Christ also hath loved us, and given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” Ephesians 5:2 KJV
Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:2 NASB
As sinners, we were drawn to Christ when we realized that His work on the cross dealt with our great problem of sin. We can all quote the verses which speak of His taking our place in judgment when divine wrath was meted out on Him for us (Isa 53:6; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; etc). We can never minimize the value of that work.
But Ephesians 5:2 is pointing to something else. It was for “us” as is stated emphatically twice in the verse. But it is not the issue of sin here that is before us. The Lord Jesus offered Himself to God for a sweet-smelling savor. This would point to the burnt offering and meal offering. The burnt offering did make “atonement” (Lev 1:4), but something other than my sins are in view here.
Go back and consider what the Lord Jesus said the greatest commandment was: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke 10:27). Unrestricted love for God and unconditional love for man is our duty. The former is displayed in the burnt offering; the latter, toward man, is seen in the meal offering. Yet each day reminds us of how far short we come, as Christians, in fulfilling what is expected of us in our devotion to God and in our discharging our responsibility to our neighbor.
At the highest moment of our devotion, in the purest moment of our love, we are often conscious of deficiency and failure. As well, our love to our neighbor is daily shown to be deficient or absent. We are failing to give back to God all He rightfully deserves and desires.
That is what makes Ephesians 5:2 so wonderful. So fully did the Lord Jesus represent us in His death on Calvary that He has given to God a burnt offering to compensate for all I fail to give Him in devotion as a believer; and He has given to Him a meal offering for all my deficiency toward my neighbor.
So vast is Calvary’s work, that every aspect of my lack both as a sinner and as a believer has all been met by His one sacrifice. It was not only a sacrifice for my sins and my standing as a sinner, but for my standing as a saint before Him. The Lord Jesus, in His sacrifice, has met every conceivable need I will ever have before the eye of God.
This does not promote careless living or excuses for my lack of consecration toward God or care toward my neighbor. Just the opposite! When I realize the magnitude of what He has done for me, it spurs greater devotion and longings to please and honor Him.
Is there any aspect of our condition – our shame, guilt, sinful nature – which the work of the Lord Jesus has not met? Look at Colossians 2:14
Do you see significance to the introduction of the section dealing with relationships (Eph 5:3 – 6:9), being verse 2?