“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. But that image was most evident in terms of his spiritual nature. Man became a living being, 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.
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” (Heb. 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:10; Eph. 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 fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). For both the individual and the church, likeness to Christ is the goal to be reached (Rom. 8:29) by the grace of God. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
In 1 John 4:8 the scripture says, “God is love.” Therefore, all those that reflect God’s image will reflect His love. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30, 31). And these 2 great commandments are summation of the law of God (Exodus 20: 2-17). “Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
In His service,