In The Image Of God: When He Appears We Shall Be Like Him

God created humankind in His own image, after His likeness – male and female. Adam and Eve are the created children of God – the origin of the human race. 

They were holy and happy in bearing the image of God in perfect obedience to His will.

Man was formed in the likeness of God, nevertheless Christ alone is the express image of the Father. Hebrews 1:3.

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Satan was the first rebel in the universe. He tempted Adam and Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. Thus he accomplished their fall – yielding to his deception and believing that God would lie.

They both blamed God for it.

Adam: The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. Genesis 3:12.

Eve: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. Genesis 3:13.

They try to excuse themselves by blaming others, circumstances or God.

This spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies – Satan, and it was used by our first parents as soon as they yielded to his influence.

Moreover, it has been exhibited by all sons and daughters of Adam. 

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image. Genesis 5:3.

Therefore, after the fall there were no humans reflecting the moral image of God, but Christ. 

He alone became the second Adam. 

The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven.

And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Corinthians 15:47, 49.

Christ has redeemed human’s failure

He overcame on behalf of our race, that He might rescue us from the degradation of the fall.

Our first parents’ sin alienated them from their Maker. They no longer reflected the Divine image. Their hearts were at war with the principles of God’s Law. 

The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:7.

Therefore, God gave His only-begotten Son in order that the most sinful and degraded need not perish.

Furthermore, by believing in Christ we may be reclaimed, regenerated and restored to the image of God, and thus have eternal life.

In Him is all the fullness of the Godhead. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person.

Moreover, the glory of the attributes of God are expressed in Christ’s character. He is a perfect representation of God and a perfect representation of humanity. 

Thus He has combined Divinity and humanity and through His influence humankind might partake of the Divine nature. 

This priceless Gift expresses the love of God toward humans. It is immeasurable as infinity.

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How did the nature of humans change?

Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden tree, distrusting God and believing the lies of Satan. 

They disregarded the test of their fidelity and love to God.

Love, gratitude and loyalty to the Creator were given up by Eve to her desire to attain a more exalted existence and a broader field of knowledge.

Love, gratitude and loyalty to the Creator were given up by Adam to his love to Eve. 

Satan insinuated that: 

  • God desires to withhold it from them, lest they should be exalted to equality with Himself
  • He prohibits them from tasting it, because of its wonderful properties to impart wisdom and power
  • God seeks to prevent them from reaching a nobler development and finding greater happiness. 
  • How could it be possible for them to die? Had they not eaten from the tree of life?

Ever since Satan tempts humans to distrust God’s love, doubt His wisdom and transgress His Law. 

Moreover, by curiosity and desire to find the secrets of Divine wisdom and power. 

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Thus in their efforts to search out what God has been pleased to withhold, humans overlook the truths which He has revealed, and which are essential to salvation. 

Therefore, when they are elated with their ideas of progression, they are, by trampling on God’s requirements, subject to disappointment, grief and pain, and finally to death.

The consequences of their transgression

Adam and Eve had joyfully welcomed their Creator in their innocence and holiness. They never thought of hiding from God.

Nevertheless, Adam did not want to see God after he sinned. 

The Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

He said: Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? Genesis 3:9-11.

This was the reason: He had broken the command of God

Thus the light of righteousness that had encompassed him as a garment had disappeared, leaving him naked. Therefore, he was afraid to meet God. 

Sin is the only nakedness, degradation, and dishonor that we can know.

Furthermore, it is the only thing that will make us afraid to meet God. 

Thus God has made it evident that sin in any degree is offensive to Him. 

It has been the fashion of the world to sin, since the fall of Adam and Eve. It is for our interest to know what sin is.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4. 

Thus the sin of our first parents brought guilt and sorrow upon the world.Therefore, let none deceive themselves:

The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23

Adam and Eve were denied access to the tree of life not to prolong a life of sin.

Nevertheless, Christ has promised:

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7.

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life. Revelation 22:14

The Law of God can no more be transgressed with impunity now than when a sentence was pronounced upon the father of humankind. 

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Free moral agents

Though created innocent and holy, our first parents were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. 

God made them capable of appreciating the wisdom and benevolence of His character and the justice of His requirements.

Moreover, capable with full liberty to yield or to withhold obedience. 

Angels gave Adam and Eve the history of Satan’s rebellion and fall. Moreover, how he refused obedience to the Law of God which He had ordained to govern heavenly beings. 

Furthermore, they informed them that the tree of knowledge was placed in the garden to be a pledge of their obedience and love to God.

They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels. Nevertheless, their loyalty must be tested before entering eternity. 

Thus at the very beginning of human’s existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence – the fatal passion at the foundation of Satan’s fall. 

The tree of knowledge, which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our parents. 

They were also to be exposed to the temptations of Satan. Nonetheless, if they endured the trial, they would finally be placed beyond his power. 

Thus by setting their will against the will of God, battling with his requirements.

Humankind was endowed with reasoning powers and conscience. God’s moral law is given to control once actions. 

The individual is not compelled to obey. He or she may defy the Law of God and take the consequences. Or by living in harmony with that law one may receive the rewards of obedience. 

God placed humankind under law

Humankind is a subject of the Divine government under law as an essential condition of once very existence. 

The Law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will and a transcript of His character.

Moreover, it is the expression of Divine love and wisdom. 

The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect conformity of all beings, everything – animate and inanimate to the law of the Creator. 

God has ordained laws for the government, not only of living beings, but of all the operations of nature. 

While everything in nature is governed by natural laws, humans alone are compliant to a moral law. 

God gave them power to:

  • understand His requirements
  • comprehend the justice and beneficence of His Law, and its sacred claims upon them. 

Moreover, He requires unwavering obedience. 

Like the angels, the dwellers in Eden had been placed upon probation. Their happy estate could be retained only on condition of fidelity to the Creator’s law. 

God might have created humans without the power to transgress His law. He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit. 

Nevertheless, without freedom of choice, their obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. 

Furthermore, it would have been unworthy of humankind as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan’s charge of God’s arbitrary rule. 

Test upon things that are least

Had the test been in regard to larger matters, people might have excused the sin of disobedience in what they call smaller things. 

God made the test with Adam and Eve upon things that are least, to show all that the slightest disobedience to His requirements is sin in every sense of the word. 

The Creator God and Governor of the universe has made all things subject to law.

Insignificant as well as things of the greatest magnitude are governed by laws adapted to their natures. Therefore, nothing that God has made has been forgotten or left to blind chance.

Do you see the great mercy of God in giving Adam the smallest possible test?

It could scarcely be called a self-denial on his part to refrain from partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, for he already had everything necessary to supply his wants. 

God gave no strong temptation that would tax human endurance beyond the power to resist. The fruit itself was harmless. 

If God had not forbidden Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, their action in taking it would not have been sinful. 

Up to the moment of God’s prohibition, Adam and Eve might have eaten the fruit of that tree without realizing any harm. 

But after God had said – Thou shalt not eat, the act became a crime of great magnitude. They disobeyed God. In this was their sin. 

The very test that God brought upon Adam in Eden, will be brought upon every member of the human family. Obedience to God was required of them.

We stand in the same position that they did to have a second trial to see whether we will listen to the voice of Satan and disobey God, or to the Word of God and obey

Therefore, sin will be put away from us because it is an offense to God and we will bring ourselves into harmony with Him. 

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 1 John 3:2, 3.

Test for each and everyone

God will test all before Christ’s second coming, even as He tested Adam and Eve. Thus our loyalty or disloyalty will decide our destiny. 

Since the fall of Adam and Eve, people in every age have excused themselves for sinning, charging God with their sin, saying that they could not keep His commandments. 

Nevertheless, we have a Savior. The crucifixion marks upon His body are a living witness that the Law of God can be kept. 

It is not that humans cannot keep the law.

My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Corinthians 12:9.

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

We stand with the opportunity for a second trial, to prove our allegiance to the Government of God. 

If we listen to the first adversary of God’s law – Satan, we will be led to treat the words of God as of little consequence, and overlook the commandment – The wages of sin is death. 

The Father loves us, and His love led Him to suffer His beloved Son to make an atonement for us, that we might not perish but have everlasting life. 

After having redeemed humankind from the condemnation of the law, Christ could impart Divine power to unite with human effort. 

Thus by repentance toward God and faith in Christ the fallen children of Adam might once more become sons of God.

Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8.

To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God. 1 John 3:2.

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Restoring the image of God in the soul

Christ has established His spiritual kingdom to uplift humankind. He became a stepping stone by which humanity might meet with Divinity.

Moreover, in giving His life He exalted humanity in the scale of moral value with God. 

The spirit of Christ’s self-sacrificing love is the spirit that pervades Heaven. 

The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28.

Thus humans are taken from their degradation, cleansed from moral defilement and made heirs of God and a joint heirs with Christ.

It is the spiritual work of God upon the human heart that makes everyone a new creature, without destroying or weakening any capability God has given to humankind.

Moreover, it purifies every character attribute fitting them for connection with the Divine.

That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6.

Furthermore, a heavenly peace pervades the soul when one is born from above.

Christ’s Kingdom subjects are those who keep the Law of God. If the disobedient continue in transgression after the light has come, they are subjects of the kingdom of the prince of this world.

Work earnestly to place eternal life within the reach of the perishing. Moreover, remember that Christ is by your side, working it out for you.

God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8.

In order to uplift the fallen race Christ:

  • clothed His divinity with humanity
  • left the royal courts of heaven and laid aside His own glory
  • appeared in human form and stand at the head of the humanity
  • came to this world to represent the Father and gave evidence of His divine power
  • bounded us to the throne of God with the chain of His matchless love
  • lived a life of perfect obedience to the laws of God’s kingdom
  • came not to condemn and destroy by His glory, but to restore and heal
  • suffered reproach, mockery, and insult
  • became poor for our sake, that we through His poverty might be rich
  • came to earth as the light and life of mankind, bringing to us a moral power
  • died to make it possible for us to be partakers of the divine nature
  • gave us power to overcome as He overcame
  • ennobled humanity by precept and example
  • restored in the human soul the lost image of God.

Character of God

And no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matthew 11:25-27.

The whole life of Christ was a revelation of the character of God – His Father who is our Father as well.

If ye had known Me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him…He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. John 14:7, 9.

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. John 14:10.

In other words have you:

  • seen my works
  • listened to my teachings
  • witnessed the miracles that I have wrought in my Father’s name
  • and yet have you not understood the nature of God?

In His life Jesus has unfolded to His disciples the character of His Father. He is the brightness of His Father’s glory and the express image of His person, representing Him as full of mercy, love, and light.

Christ took humanity upon Himself in order that the light and radiance of divine love should not extinguish humankind.

When Moses pleaded – I beseech thee, show me thy glory, he was placed in the cleft of the rock, and the Lord passed by before him.

Christ revealed the Father to Philip as he had revealed Him to Moses when He passed by before him, and proclaimed:

The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:6.

Jesus proclaimed Himself to the world as the perfect representation of the Father, and invited the love and confidence of the world to be centered in the Father.

I am in the Father and the Father in me. John 14:11.

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The express image of God

In Christ is all the glory of the Father and He is the express image of His person. 

Unto the Son He (Father) saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Hebrews 1:8.

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. Hebrews 1:3.

Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. Hebrews 1:10

He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30.

In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3. His righteousness is without a flaw. 

He possesses Divine excellence and greatness.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers;

all things were created by Him, and for Him. Colossians 1:15, 16.

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell. Colossians 1:19.

And Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Philippians 2:6.

Yet He made himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. 

And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:7, 8.

Though He came in the likeness of men, He declared Himself the I AM.

Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58.

The meek and lowly Savior is God manifest in the flesh.

Christ mission

The Father accepted the fallen race through their representative and substitute and granted them a second trial. 

He who knew no sin became sin for the race, that His righteousness might be imputed to humans. 

Thus through the perfection of Christ’s character, humankind was elevated in the scale of moral value with God.

Moreover, through the merits of Christ finite people were linked to the Infinite.      

By His death, Christ destroyed him who had the power of death. He carried out the plan, finishing the work which from Adam’s fall He had covenanted to undertake. 

Additionally, He reinstated fallen humanity, on condition of obedience to God’s commandments, in the position from which humankind had fallen in consequence of disobedience. 

Therefore, when He broke the fetters of the tomb and rose triumphant from the dead He answered the question – If a man dies, shall he live again? Job 14:14

Christ made it possible that every child of Adam might, through a life of obedience, overcome sin and rise also from the grave to his or her heritage of immortality purchased His blood.  

None but Him can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled human’s will. 

Furthermore, to lift us up from the dust and reshape the marred character after the pattern of His Divine character, making it beautiful with His own glory.

The result of His mission was ever before Him – restoring in humanity the image of God. 

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Let this mind be in you

Christ sends His messages of love and directs the attention of humanity to the nobler world which they have lost from their vision.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5.

Thus He uplifts our minds absorbed in worldly pursuits and bids us to look into Heaven with an eye of faith.

It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell. 

The Bible is without a rival as an educating power. In the Word of God the mind finds subject for the deepest thought and the highest aspiration. 

In Scriptures we behold the: 

  • power that laid the foundation of the earth and stretched out the heavens
  • history of our race
  • struggles, defeats, and victories of the greatest men this world has ever known
  • great problems of duty and destiny unfold
  • conflict of the opposing forces of good and evil from the first entrance of sin to the final triumph of righteousness and truth
  • revelation of the character of God. 

In the reverent contemplation of the truths presented in God’s Word the humans’ mind is brought into communion with the infinite mind. 

It refines and ennobles the character, and expands and invigorates the mental powers.

With eternity in view, the apostle asks the soul:

What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:36, 37.

In other words the duties of this life must be placed in relation to their eternal interests. 

Otherwise, the affections will be absorbed in earthly things and the mind will be utterly unfit for the great things of the heavenly world. 

Furthermore, the moral, mental, and physical capabilities which God claims for His service will be dwarfed and weakened by serving self and the world. 

Jesus stands as a representative of God upon earth. He is an example of what God would have humanity become through the grace of Christ. 

God has not left humanity out of the plan for saving humanity. Humanity must become the channel through which the grace of God is to flow to reach humanity.                                                      

Sanctification to God

This is the will of God, even your sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3

The sanctification of God’s people is the object in all His dealings with them. He has chosen them from eternity to be holy. 

God can be honored by those who profess to believe in Him, only as they are conformed to His image and controlled by His Spirit. 

Then, as witnesses for the Savior, they may make known what divine grace has done for them.

Scriptures teach us to seek for the sanctification to God of body, soul, and spirit. This is work of restoring the moral image of God in us as being laborers together with God. 

Thus much may be done to restore and improve our physical, mental, and moral capabilities. 

Great changes can be made in our body systems by obeying the health laws of God. 

Though, we cannot claim perfection of the flesh, we may have Christian perfection of the soul (character). 

Our sins may be perfectly forgiven through the sacrifice made on our behalf. We depend on what God can do for us through Christ. 

When we surrender ourselves wholly to God and fully believe in Him, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. Thus the conscience can be freed from condemnation. 

Through faith in His blood, all may be made perfect in Christ Jesus. Thank God that we are not dealing with impossibilities. 

Therefore we may claim sanctification. 

The Lord shows us when we repent and believe that Christ accepts our surrender to be molded and fashioned after His own likeness.  

Renewed in Christ image

Sin defaced and almost obliterated the Divine image in humanity.  Nevertheless Christ came to restore that which had been lost.

Thus the plan of salvation was conceived, and a life of probation was granted to humans. 

To bring them back to the perfection in which they were first created is the main object of this life.

It is our work to cooperate with the Divine purpose and to be laborers together with God.

Moreover, every capability and attribute with which the Creator has endowed us, is to be employed for His glory and for the uplifting of our fellow-men.

In this employment is found its purest, noblest, and happiest exercise. 

It cannot be a selfish and exclusive culture, for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive is benevolence and love.

We would:

  • awake the love for goodness and truth
  • arouse the desire for beauty and excellence in us and others
  • seek the development of God’s gifts in us, not to excel others, but to fulfill the purpose of the Creator and to receive His likeness. 

Therefore, redeemed will bear the image of their Lord.

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God…whom He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:28, 29.

Christ will change our vile bodies and make them like His glorious body. 

The mortal and corruptible form, once polluted with sin will become perfect, beautiful, and immortal.

We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.

Thus Christ’s faithful ones will appear in the beauty of the Lord our God –  in mind, soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord.

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Conclusion

God created humans in His own image – free from sin and with organs well developed.

The earth was to be populated with intelligent beings who were only a little lower than the angels. Nevertheless, God would first prove the love and loyalty of the holy pair. 

In their fall from innocence to guilt they had gained no strength to remain true and loyal, but great weakness filled with anguish and remorse. 

Thus they both did and we do realize that the penalty of sin is death.

Satan had tried to obliterate the image of God in humans that God might give them up as hopelessly lost. 

Nevertheless, God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Through faith in Christ we may be reclaimed and restored to the image of God –  exhibiting the attributes of His character in our lives.  

Thus We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7.

It is the power of Christ’s grace that draws us together in obedience to HIs truth – directing our minds to the Creator – to know Him and to become like Him.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Why Wait Longer?

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Your Creator And Redeemer Longs For You – Take Him At His Word

Learn to trust in God’s love and His power to save and restore His moral image in you. The Spirit of God is pleading with you to seek for those things that alone can give you peace and rest – the grace of Christ and the joy of holiness. Give to Christ your guilt and fear today. He can satisfy the craving of your heart. Believe the Son of God. He will receive you. He welcomes you. 

His hand is stretched out still. Why wait longer?

 

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References

  1. PP 45-61; ST Jan, 1879; RH Jan, 1897; ST Jul, 1895; 3T 372; ST Nov, 1887; HP 39; DA 37; MH 504; CE 64-65; RH Nov, 1895; COL 116; SC 55; 2SM 32; ST Nov, 1898; BE Jan 1887 – The Ellen G. White Estate
  2. King James Bible Version (KJV

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