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Bible verses about We are Made in God's Image and Likeness
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Psalm 139:13-14

This is a somewhat elementary, perhaps even a crude, illustration that clearly pictures why the relationship with God is absolutely necessary. It begins by admitting that we neither created ourselves nor gave ourselves life. David admits someone else made him; he did not arise to life fully formed out of nothing. Like him, we did not determine that we would physically be in God's image. The Creator made that determination. Can we mentally picture God kneeling down in the dirt, placing Adam's every part where He wanted it and determining how every part would function with every other system in his body? Even everyday realities such as these need a functioning Creator to bring them to pass.

The need for a relationship with our Creator is beginning to emerge. II Corinthians 5:17 carries the need of the creative relationship a major step further: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We are now a new creation, a spiritual creation. A process begun in Eden continues.

When Paul wrote about a “new” creation, he had his choice of two Greek words. One expresses newness in the sense of “renovation.” However, Paul used the second term, which suggests new in the sense of “brand new.” He indicates, then, a person as a new individual with a new family, a new set of values, new motivations, and new possessions. Nothing new in this sense creates itself. Even a new baby in a womb does not make itself. The baby has absolutely no idea what it is in process of becoming.

Are we making ourselves spiritually? As a new creation in Christ Jesus, we are no more making ourselves spiritually than we did physically. However, this creation is far more difficult and important because it requires our mindful and willing cooperation with our Creator.

How clearly and precisely do we foresee where our spiritual Creator is headed? To say it bluntly, without God's calling, which creates the relationship with Him, there is no possibility whatever of knowing anything meaningful about what God is in the process of creating, and therefore no eternal, spiritual salvation would exist. Do we know how to give ourselves everlasting life? Do we know where we will fit into the Creator's finished plan?

Therefore, it is our responsibility always to do whatever is necessary to seek Him and glorify Him, helping to keep the relationship going and knowledge increasing. Without the relationship that He invited us into, there is no possibility of ever accomplishing the end that He is heading toward and yielding to what He desires. It is as though He has opened the gate to allow us back into the Garden of Eden, right into the very source of every good and perfect gift that will enable us to glorify Him by fulfilling our responsibilities to Him. It is as if He says, as He opens the gate, “Now there, let's begin the next step in My overall purpose!”

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Seven): Contentment


 

Matthew 7:13-14

Never let anybody convince you that Christianity is not a religion of works. Christianity is hard work! That is what our Savior says. It is difficult! It is hard work because its direction and purpose run counter to human nature.

Confusion about "works" enters the picture when people wrongly try to associate "works" with "salvation." We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8)—there is no argument with this biblical fact. Works enter the picture as a necessary part of the process of growth within God's purpose—not salvation. Salvation is, in a major sense, an already finished work of Jesus Christ, which is why so many biblical statements about salvation are written in the past tense.

However, laziness plays a large part in why we do not grow. God expects us to work, though we will not earn salvation by it. We grow because of work, by overcoming problems. If we are too lazy to work at overcoming things, though we may be in God's Kingdom, we are not going to reap the rewards God's promises to overcomers.

God is looking for His children to grow. Every parent wants his child to become a mature adult who is able to take his place in society, to live independent of the family yet still be connected to it in a loving way, to stand on his own feet. God sets the pattern, and He wants His children to grow as free and independent moral agents. However, we are not that way when He finds, calls, reveals Himself and His way to us, and leads us to repentance. He wants us to grow into what He is:

And God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26)

God gives everybody who reads His Book an early indication that work will play a major role in what He has created. Dominion! That is "rulership" or maybe a better word would be "management." And dominion over or management of our own personal environment requires work.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Love's Greatest Challenges


 

John 4:24

God is Spirit, and nowhere, not even in one verse, does it say that God does not have a body. He is perfect, immortal, infinite, immutable, self-existing, omnipotent, omniscient, invisible, impartial, absolutely holy, full of knowledge and wisdom, and sufficient to provide for His entire creation.

Like any other person He has names, and in His case, many names. And just as our names identify us as specific individuals, His names identify Him. He has titles by which He is known. Men and women have titles by which they are known.

The Bible shows that He has a head, hair, face, arms, fingers, hands, waist, loins, eyes, eyelids, nostrils, ears, mouth, lips, tongue, breath, feet, and back parts. God even speaks of His heart! He rests, but He does not get tired. He feels things. He eats and drinks, and the alcohol in wine, as Judges 9:13 says, has an effect on Him: It cheers His heart. He laughs. He becomes angry. He speaks in a small still voice; He roars from Zion. As a man, He wept. Sounds a great deal like us, does it not? It should because we are made in His image and likeness.

But there is even more. He goes about from place to place in a body, just like anybody else. He rides in a vehicle. He walks. He plants. He works. He lives in a spiritual place called heaven.

Yet, despite all these biblical descriptions, the men and women who claim that God has no body never cite any other passage except John 4:24 as proof. But He has revealed Himself in so many different ways in His Word that what these people say turns God into a liar who deceives mankind about what He is like.

Let us be clear: John 4:24 does not teach that God has no body. It, plus a multitude of passages that we have read or alluded to, expand our understanding about the properties of spirit—about what spirit bodies are like. Spirit is just as real as matter, except that it is a much higher type of substance and is governed by higher laws.

John 4:24 is a statement of fact, but it does not define or analyze spirit. The properties of spirit are described throughout the Bible, as those who actually saw and heard God and interacted with Him reported their experiences. Either they are right, or these modern writers are. They cannot both be right because they contradict each other. Which will we believe?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 3)


 

 




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