“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26, KJV)
Many believers quote the above scripture heartily but have little understanding of what it truly entails. God said, “Let us make man in our own image, and after our likeness”. “Image” speaks of the genetic coding which informs or determines the functioning of a thing while likeness speaks merely of its mode of function. The two go hand-in-hand. Without the image, there can be no likeness.
The purpose of God from the beginning of time is for man to be made in his image, after His likeness. As such, all God’s handiworks, from the creation of the earth, have been geared toward achieving this purpose. A false impression that has been created in the church is that this work of God, of making man in his image and after His likeness, was accomplished on the very day Adam was made. This is however not true; that work is still in progress.
It must be understood that even before the fall, the expression of the image of God in Adam had only been partially realised. Adam was to go through many stages of growth before attaining the full image of God. He however failed to accomplish this task when he fell. As the generations of Adam multiplied, man no longer looked or functioned like God and God repented that he had made man. Bible records in Genesis 6:5-6 that “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” (NIV).
In due time, God ushered in the solution to the problem, Christ. “…lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The coming of Jesus Christ, his death and most importantly, his resurrection, revealed to the world the image of God who is Christ, by means of the gospel. This Christ is the life of God deposited as a seed in the spirit of any man who becomes born again. Afterwards, the one who is born again carries the responsibility of nurturing and maturing the life. Jesus himself, though Christ, had to grow and fulfil the will of the Father in order to attain the fullness of his image. Scripture confirms, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52). It is written concerning him in Hebrews 1:2-3, “… 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…” Jesus matured to become the express image of God’s person. Thus, it is erroneous to think that once a person is born again, he is the very image of God. Legally, yes, such a person is, but experientially, the person must nurture the life of God and grow to attain the image. Thus, the image of God, essentially, is still under construction. It has not been fully attained in man.
As individual believers, we have to grow and become all that we ought to be in Christ. We have to fulfil the will of the Father for our lives, to become overcomers of this age, for the actualisation of the image of God in man.
Do not be complacent with your level in Christ. Be totally yielded to the spirit, fulfil the will of God for your life, so that in that day, you will qualify to be part of those who measure up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; the image of God. Shalom!