Gods Image On Earth
Many of us grew up with the Baltimore Catechism. And the first few lines of the Catechism will be for ever imprinted on our hearts:
1. Who made us?
God made us.
2. Who is God?
God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in existence.
3. Why did God make us?
God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.
4. What must we do to gain the happiness of heaven?
To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world.
All though it is very true that to gain the happiness of heaven, we must ….. serve God in this world, God did not specificity create man because He needed a servant. He already had millions of angels to serve Him. He created man because He wanted someone who would manifest His character and His nature. If we forget this truth, it is easy to get sidetracked into imagining that service for God is the primary purpose of our salvation in Christ. This is the mistake that many believers have made. When God was about to make Adam, His words were, "Let us make man to our image and likeness" (Genesis1:26) When Adam sinned, God in His foreknowledge, had already made provision for lifting man out of the pit of sin into which he had fallen. According to the book of revelations, Jesus was slain from the beginning of the world, even before Adam was created. God's intention in the redemption that He has provided for us in Christ, is that we might be brought back to the place where we can fulfill His original purpose for man - to manifest His nature. Our salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. But faith can be based only on a divine revelation of the Person of Christ. It is only such faith that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Christ.
Jesus has not only redeemed us through His death, but also shown us through His life on earth, how God intended man to live.
He is not only our Savior but also our Forerunner (Hebrew 6:20). He has given us an example of how to live at all times and in all situations, in perfect obedience to God. The sacrament of Baptism, our confirmation and all the means of grace that God has provided, are all meant by Him to lead to one final goal - that we might be conformed to the likeness of His Son. In fact, every doctrine in God's Word can be understood in its proper perspective only as it is seen in the light of God's eternal purpose for man - to make Him like Jesus. The chief ministry of the Holy Spirit is twofold, and is described in 2 Corinthians 3:18: "But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face [as in a mirror], are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord." The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to show us the glory of the Lord Jesus in the Scriptures, the Church and the lives of the Saints- and then seeks to change us into His likeness.
God the Father in His sovereignty, also orders all our circumstances to this same end. "And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good.......For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:28,29). Every event and circumstance in our life is meant by God to mold us and transform us a little more into the likeness of Jesus. And so we see, that our Father in heaven and the Holy Spirit in our hearts are both working towards one goal - that we might become like Jesus. The more we partake of our Lord's nature, the more we will live on earth as He lived. This is what the Church calls the Spirit-filled life. Jesus did not come to earth as an angel, but like us. The Bible says, "He was made like His brothers in all things" (Hebrews 2:16-17) If He had not been made like us "in all things", He could not have become our Example. Neither could He have commanded us saying, "Follow Me," for we obviously could not follow One Who did not have our natural limitations
Paul's exhortation in 1 Corinthians 11:1, to follow himself as he followed Christ would also become meaningless, for Paul could not possibly have lived as Jesus lived. Then the life of Christ becomes a life that we can only admire, but never follow. How wonderful it is that Christ did come in our flesh, and having accepted the limitations of our flesh, has given us an example to follow. Since it was as a man, that Jesus lived a holy, pure life, there is no reason now why we too cannot "walk as He walked" ( 1 John. 2:6). Because we are weak as human beings, God offers us the same power of the Spirit that was given to Jesus when He lived on earth as a man. What God did for Jesus He will gladly do for us, for "He loves us as He loved Jesus" (John. 17:23). But His power is made available only "to those who believe" ( Ephesians 1:19). So it is because of lack of faith in God's Word that believers today are powerless against sin and Satan. The excuse that the Devil would have us make when we are commanded to "follow in Jesus steps who committed no sin" (1 Peter 2:21, 22), is that being human we cannot help but sin occasionally. But when we see that Jesus came in our flesh and did not sin, then TWO things happen: (1) We no longer have any excuse for sinning. (2) That as we walk in faith and trust in God, we have been given all the graces we need too live in victory over sin as Jesus did.
And so Paul's prayer is mine too, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of [Christ]...and...that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inward being" (Ephesians 1:17; 3:16). It is only through the full knowledge of Christ that we can know the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the perfect example of the Spirit-filled man. As we look at His life and see how He lived on this earth, we can understand unmistakably what the characteristics of a Spirit-filled life are.