- Feb 1, 2014
What is the nature of God?
THE IMAGE OF GOD
The nature of God that is relevant to this study is the character of God in terms of his morality and his love (outgoing concern), compassion, mercy, patience, and kindness.
Mankind was created in the image of God. What does that mean?
· The image of God is a reflection of the nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Mankind was to reflect God’s nature, like light is reflected by a mirror.
· Mankind was to be like God in terms of his thinking, reasoning, emotional, and moral capacity, as well as his love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, patience, kindness, mercy (Galatians 5:22-23)
Does unsaved mankind reflect this image of God now? If not, why?
· Adam rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, and mankind no longer reflects his image due to the Fall (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12-19)
· He has been led astray by Satan, and reflects his character now (Ephesians 2:1-2, I John 3:10)
· This corruption of the image of God has extended to all spheres of man’s activities, including his relationship with God, other humans, and the creation (Genesis 3, Romans 3:10-18)
· Using the mirror analogy, the mirror has become shattered, and the image is distorted or marred
· Fallen mankind is represented by Adam and his decision to rebel against God – “in Adam” describes the fallen state (1 Corinthians 15:22)
Can the image of God be restored? If so, how?
· God could have decided to leave mankind in his condemned, sinful state, and remained perfectly just in doing so, because mankind deserves eternal death (Romans 6:23)
· God is not only just, but he is loving, so he provided a way to redeem fallen mankind to himself without compromising his justness, by sending Jesus to die a substitutionary death for us on the cross to undo the works of the devil (I John 3:8-10)
· All who repent and place their faith in Him and his sacrifice can be redeemed from this death penalty through accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf (Acts 20:17-21, Ephesians 2:8-10)
· Upon repentance and faith, they receive a new nature that wants to please and obey God, and the Holy Spirit transforms them into the image of God – the shattered mirror is repaired over the lifetime of the believer (John 3, II Corinthians 3:17).
· The person goes from the state of being “in Adam” to being “in Christ”.
How do I know what sin is, and how do I know what the image of God is like?
· The Mosaic (Old) Covenant laws (“the law”), including the Ten Commandments, reveals the image of God (Exodus 19-24)
o The Mosaic Covenant contained a “basket” of commandments, some of which were moral, spiritual, and enduring in nature, and showed us the image of God, some of which are shadows and types that had teaching value, and some of which were time and cultural specific, like the Levirate law (Deut 25:5-17).
o The Law serves a ministry of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3)
o The Mosaic Covenant is not in effect for New Covenant Christians (Acts 15, 2 Corinthians 3, Galatians 3-4, Hebrews 7-8, Ephesians 2:13-15, Romans 7:1-6)
o Sin is deviation from the image of God and is also transgression of the law (Romans 6:23, I John 3:4, James 1:22-25)
· All of Scripture reveals the image of God (Christ)
o Redeemed biblical characters, in a flawed manner, show us some aspect of the image of God
· Jesus Christ as portrayed in the Gospels and epistles reveal what the image of God (Christ) is like
o Christ is the perfect, sinless God-man; he is our standard that shows us how we should be (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 1:19, 1 John 3:5)
o He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15)
o His mission included being a model for us of the perfect man, as Adam should have been, and he was called the second Adam (Romans 5:14)
· The apostolic writings show us what the image of God (Christ) is like, in terms of the instructions and admonitions they provide to us.
· Other Christians in our life reveal the image of God to us in a flawed way
o Believers are being sanctified, or made holy, over time and should be reflecting the image of God more and more as time goes on
· The Holy Spirit and the indwelling presence of Jesus reveal the image of God (Christ) to us (II Corinthians 3:17-18)
· Children shows us what the image of God is like (Luke 18:15-17)
· The human conscience, in a very flawed way due to the Fall, reveals the image of God to us (Romans 2:14-16)
· Physical creation reveals the image of God to us (Romans 1:19-23)
Is salvation gained by beginning to keep the Law?
· An unsaved person cannot keep the Law, nor please God (Romans 8:7)
· Salvation is by grace (God’s unmerited favor; we don’t do anything to deserve it) through faith in Jesus Christ and his substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross (Ephesians 2:8-10)
· Salvation is accompanied by a spiritual new birth called “being born again” or regeneration (John 3:1-14)
· The born-again person receives a new nature that loves and wants to please God, to replace the fallen nature in Adam, and part of that is Christian service that conforms to the spirit of the Law (Romans 7:1-6).
· The law is written on the heart of the born-again believer by the Holy Spirit as a result of being born again (Hebrews 8:7-13)
· The born-again believer is being conformed to the image of God (Christ) throughout his life by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:28-30, Colossians 3:10)