In The Image Of God
We were not made to be only after His likeness or resemblance, but to be also in His image or representation;
Genesis 1:26, 27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
In reading the Sermon on the Mount recently it was noticed in Matthew 5:9 that the peacemakers would be … called the children of God. In verses 44 and 45 it says love your enemies … that ye may be the children of your Father. This is further declared in Romans;
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
In our understanding of the example of the creation we only grasp being in the image in the flesh or physical. Men have declared a resemblance of children to their father in many ways: for instance, he looks like his daddy; or he’s the spitting image of his daddy; or he has his father’s (choose a part of the face or body). But it is also noted in many attributes: he’s a chip off the old block; or the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Hopefully these are positive things, noting that the parents raised him right. These things can be seen and declared in a child at any point in life, and are always a reflection on the parent. God wants us to be like that spiritually;
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Are you a son of God? Do people see your older brother in you? When looking at you, do they see Jesus or the kingdom in you, and glorify God? As in the physical creation plan of Genesis, God wants us in the image of his Son spiritually;
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
If God has determined that we should be … conformed to the image of his Son … what is that image? The first two chapters (and nearly the whole book) in Hebrews speak of the image, nature, and position of Christ Jesus. This is seen in the following verses;
Hebrews 1:1 – 4 GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
An express image is an exact copy or representation! He is the heir of all things, and made so much better than the angels. By … upholding all things by the word of his power, and by purging our sins, He … sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. He has provided the example for us that we can become an express image. Do you want to be a joint-heir? Here is the need; to be in His image we must be led of the Spirit and suffer with Him;
Romans 8:16, 17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.
To fully become in His image we must also have the mind of Christ. Hebrews speaks also of His nature or character;
Hebrews 1:8, 9 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity His anointing was greater. If we desire a greater anointing we must follow or seek His example, and love righteousness! We must remove the iniquity we are compassed by, replacing it with the witness that Jesus is, and the cloud of witnesses we have been given as examples.
Despite His exalted position, He is not lifted in pride; … for I am meek and lowly in heart … (Matthew 11:29). God the Father speaks glowingly of the Son, and the Spirit. Jesus spoke in awe and reverence of the Father and of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit leads and guides us into all truth of the Father and Son. There is perfect unity in them, but no pride.
Contrast the above walk, humble, anointed, righteousness loving, iniquity hating, with that of those who refuse to accept the knowledge of God;
Romans 1:18 – 20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Do you convince yourself that the things you do or allow are godly or righteous? That can leave you in ungodliness, holding the truth in unrighteousness. Seek His face and ask Him to reveal the truth (the knowledge of Jesus) to you. But these have gone beyond and further defiled their selves;
Romans 1:21 – 23 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
By spiritual blindness they cannot see, or refuse to see, the fullness and glory and perfection of Almighty God. We were born with a sin nature (iniquity), already needing to be reconciled to God by Jesus, but we were not already in the sin. When it says … vain in their imaginations … and Professing themselves to be wise … it is apparent the besetting sin of pride has taken over. They have chosen to reject God and be an image unto their selves. Romans 1:24 says God gave them up to uncleanness;
Romans 1:24, 25 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Please consider carefully the word dishonour in these scriptures. You were created in the image of God Almighty! While we must also be careful to not become vain, we should never put anything in, or on, our body to dishonour God! You were bought with a price, you are the temple of the Holy Ghost, you are God’s;
I Corinthians 6:19, 20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body; and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Ask God to give you a greater understanding in these scriptures; how awesome is it that you are a spiritual temple? It is only of God that we are made the temple. You have the Holy Ghost only of God, and you are no longer your own. Consider Jesus and the great price he paid for you; glorify God, putting the purity and holiness of the temple, which you are, to be foremost. What will help us hold together our temple in this holiness? God also provides the nails or mortar;
Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Love is the bond, or glue, that holds the newness of our walk together. There can be no perfectness without it. Would you build a piece of furniture without glue, screws, or wedges? How long would it hold together or last? Scripture tells us … the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5) Love (charity) will last. Additionally, God is love; if we are to be in His image we must dwell in love;
I John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
What better way to be spiritually in His image than to have Him dwell in us? Let the kingdom come; … for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21) Let the King have the throne of your heart; fear Him, hear Him, and obey Him and He will bless and keep you and mold you in His image!
It is so inadequate to only speak of the things mentioned; removing sin and iniquity, walking humbly, and walking in the love of God. Can a branch bear fruit of itself? Remember how big God is; the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of the Almighty. How can we be in His image? After the simple things of removing self and the flesh, it is only in putting on Jesus that we can serve God and be in His image.
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Jesus is the King of kings, and Lord of lords; yet we are to be conformed to His image. He is the way, the only way, that this can be accomplished in our lives;
John 15:4 – 8 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
We began above with our need to put on the new man, and be in Jesus image, and discussed the image, nature, and position of Jesus. We reviewed some of the general things that must be removed from our lives to be in His image. We saw the need to walk in humbleness and love. Now know and remember that you cannot accomplish it without being in Him; Abide in me, and I in you … for without me ye can do nothing. We must be in Him to overcome our fleshly nature; put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. Yield to Him, and let Him mold you in His image! That is the only way that you will bear fruit on your vine. That fruit will allow the Father to be glorified, as previously noted above in Matthew 5:16!
If you are having difficulty grasping these spiritual truths you are not alone. When Nicodemus first came to Jesus he could not understand, as evidenced by the Lord’s response;
John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art though a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Nicodemus was thinking physically, not spiritually, when Jesus spoke of being born again. We must see and receive the light, the life, the truth, and the way in spirit to begin understanding the truth spiritually;
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit (I Corinthians 2:14); we must be led of the Spirit to receive the things of God (I Corinthians 2:10 – 13). Yield and let the Spirit be your guide into all truth and you can begin the road to being truly … conformed to the image of his Son … As you do the path to being spiritually fruitful will open to you;
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
We have grasped the physical concept of this scripture, but spiritually we must die to self to be … conformed to the image of his Son … We will then bring forth fruit to God. Allow Him to frame you and bring you to His image; the blessings of God will be yours, and you will glorify God as you walk with Him.