“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
His image and likeness
Man was to bear God’s image in resemblance and in character. That image was most evident in terms of his spiritual nature. Man was created with the ability to think, endowed with a free will, a self-conscious personality and the capacity to dominate the rest of creation. These are godlike qualities, superior to any other creature.
God is love
God’s nature is summed up in one word – God is love” (1 John 4:8). The name of the Lord stands for His character. We also read the following about God’s image and nature: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin by no means clearing the guilty” (Exodus 34:6,7). Thus, God’s nature consists of three fundamental qualities—mercy, justice, and truth. The greatest emphasis is placed upon mercy because God’s relationship to us is based upon it (1 John 4:7–12).
Reflecting His image through Christ
At the beginning, man’s nature reflected the divine holiness of his Maker until sin shattered the divine likeness. It is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the “express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again.
When a person accepts the Lord Jesus Christ by faith into His heart, he becomes a new creature. Then, he will reflect God’s image in his character. The apostle Paul describes it that way: “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24). As Christ is the express image of His Father, so the Christian is to grow “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). For both the individual and the church, likeness to Christ is the goal to be reached (Romans 8:29).
In His service,