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Bible verses about Image of Christ
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:19

The last part of God's curse on Adam involves the brevity of physical life. To this point, death had been mentioned only as a threatened punishment for sin (Genesis 2:17), so it must be assumed that, as long as Adam and Eve remained sinless, they would not die. Paul writes in Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned."

God designed His wording of Adam's punishment to link mankind with the earth: He was created out of it, and when he died, he would return to it. His sin had removed him from the environs of the heavenly and forced him to dwell, labor, and die in the earthly. Yet even this has a silver lining:

And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (I Corinthians 15:45-49)

The benefit of a physical body is that it can die! This may sound strange, but it is exactly this fact that makes man able to become immortal sons of God! Men can die and be resurrected, following the pattern set by Christ, receiving eternal life and the rewards of His Kingdom. It is our righteous living in the flesh through the grace of God that qualifies us for this glorious potential.

On the flip side, our physical nature also makes it possible for God to rid the universe of anyone unwilling to submit to Him. Unlike angels, men can be completely consumed in the Lake of Fire—totally destroyed for all eternity and unable to defile the holiness of God's Kingdom. Though God desires "all [to] come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9) and "all men to be saved" (I Timothy 2:4), He has this option should it be needed. Revelation 19:20 shows that it will indeed.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The First Prophecy (Part Three)


 

Daniel 7:13-14

The Ancient of Days, the One who became known as the Father, is seated on a throne. He wears clothing and has shining white hair. Yet, the "One like the Son of Man" is also a divine Being. So, we see two God Beings in the same place and at the same time, and it is designated that the second is the One who will bear rule in the kingdoms of men.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Matthew 5:9

Jesus says that peacemakers "shall be called sons of God." Once we understand the Bible's usage of the words "sons" and "children," we can easily see that this beatitude does not apply to worldly people. Both "sons" and "children" not only describe those who are literal descendents, but also those who show the characteristics of a predecessor who is not necessarily a biological ancestor. For instance, in John 8:38, 41, 44, Jesus tells the Jews that Satan is their father. Their attitudes and conduct revealed who their true spiritual father was; they were in Satan's image. Those who fit the Matthew 5:9 description of godly peacemakers reveal that they are in the image and likeness of God!

As Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, God is called the God of peace (Hebrews 13:20). When we add the thought of Hebrews 2:11, interesting ramifications concerning us surface: "For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren." If indeed we are His children and therefore united in the spiritual body of Christ, we will show the same peaceable disposition of the One who is the Head. Thus He has no shame in calling us brethren. Through us, His characteristics are being manifested to the church and to the world.

Peacemaking is more complex and involved than it first appears because it entails the way we live all of life. This produces peace both passively and actively: passively, because we are not a cause of disruption, and actively, because we create peace by drawing others to emulate our example and by them seeking for the tranquillity and pleasure we have as a result. Though a Christian has little or no control over others in mediating peace between disputing parties, this should not deter him from living the peacemaking way. It is the way a person lives that will prepare him to be a much more active and authoritative peacemaker in the World Tomorrow when Christ returns. Peacemaking is indeed a high standard and a worthy vocation, yielding a wonderful reward that is worth bending our every effort to submit to God and seek His glorification.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Matthew 17:1-5

When Peter recollected in II Peter 1:16, he was recalling the event in Matthew 17. When Jesus was transfigured, glorified before them, He did not take on a different shape and form than He had before. He still had a recognizable face. He still had clothing on, but everything became shining and bright. Undoubtedly, this was done to impress on the minds of these three men that this Jesus was God in the flesh.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Luke 9:29

The word "appearance" is eidos, "that which can be seen with the eye."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 1)


 

Luke 24:36-40

Consider the context and the time. He is resurrected, composed of Spirit. He is God. Does He indicate at all that being in the body is only a part-time experience for God? No, instead He teaches them that a spirit being's body is not vaporous like a ghost and that it is not composed of earthly flesh and bone.

The implications are important in relation to other parts of the Bible. In this case, what He does not say is important because He wants them to answer in their own minds just the opposite of what they originally thought, "This is a ghost. It has no form or shape."

Yes, He did have form and shape, and it was solid to the touch. They felt Him, and their hands did not pass through Him. He is saying that He has flesh and bones, but they are not physical. They are spirit flesh and bones.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 1)


 

Luke 24:36-39

This passage makes it very plain that God in composition is spirit, that He does have form, that He is solid, and He has skin and bones. The description even includes scars in His hands and feet!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 1)


 

John 14:10-11

The word in could prove to be quite a puzzle because, if we understood it as "inside" rather than "in union with," we would have God and Christ crawling inside and out of each other. It would create a farcical, "Where is He now? The Son is in the Father. No, the Father is in the Son." Or, because Christians are included in verse 20, it would be, "No, He's in me." "No, He's in you." Or, "No, I'm in Him." We could get all confused. But God is logical.

Here, the sense is definitely "in union with." The Father and Son are two separate Beings who sit side by side in carrying out the responsibilities of providing for and maintaining the operation of His creation both physically and spiritually. When the Son was on earth, He was in union with the Father, and the Father was in union with Him.

It is almost as if they were—well, humanly, we would say "one flesh." When a man and a woman marry, are they two different beings? Yes, they are. Are they commanded by God to marry for the purpose of becoming one, in union with each other? Yes (Genesis 2:24).

Do they crawl in and out of each other? No, of course not. Nevertheless, a blending takes place: a blending of mind and personality. And what eventually happens? It is something that begins even before the two become married. No matter where one of them goes, because of their experiences together, he or she carries the presence of the other with him or her, and they can call up those memories in the blink of an eye. Is that not simple?

The same principle is involved in the union of the Father and the Son—and the union of God and the Christian.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 4)


 

John 15:5

He speaks directly to us, stating a principle we must learn to live with. The power to do spiritual works, to overcome, to produce the fruit of God's Spirit, to be used by God in any righteous manner comes from above. Israel's journey through the wilderness illustrates this. Every step of the way was physically empowered by the manna and water God provided.

Understanding God's hand in our preparation for the Kingdom of God is also advanced by remembering that we are the clay sculpture our Creator is molding and shaping (Isaiah 64:8). Does any work of art—any painting, carving, drawing, tapestry, work of literature, or fine meal for that matter—have inherent power to shape itself?

The natural man, even apart from God's purpose, is a magnificent work of art. David writes in Psalm 139:14, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Yet, when we have put on incorruption and immortality, and have inherited the Kingdom of God, we will be the most magnificent masterpieces there are, far superior to what we are now. To mold and shape us into God's image requires love, wisdom, and multiple other powers far beyond anything any person—even Jesus as a human being—has.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Power Belongs to God (Part Two)


 

1 Corinthians 15:42-49

The image Paul speaks of is not merely that we will be composed of spirit even as Christ is, but that our very nature and character be like His. If God desired that we merely be spirit, He could have made us like angels. Angels, however, are not God; they are angels. God is doing a work in us through which we will become like Him, not like angels.

His purpose requires that we cooperate. Though our part is very small by comparison to what He is doing, it is nonetheless vital. Notice how Paul draws this beautiful section of I Corinthians to a conclusion by drawing our attention to what it will take on our part to make God's purpose work: "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:57-58).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

1 Corinthians 15:49

Are we sons of Adam? Why do we have this image? Why are we like him? Because we are his offspring! We have been born into this earth, the offspring of Adam, as Acts 17 clearly proves. When we are resurrected we will bear the image of our Father. We will be just like Him (I John 3:2), even as we are now just like Adam was. We will be God!

Incidentally, the word image means "that which corresponds to and reproduces the original." No image—whether it is a reproduction in a flat mirror, a three-dimensional hologram, or a living child of a parent—is an exact replica or image, because each person has his own peculiarities. That is so evident and logical that everybody should be able to understand that nobody can be God exactly as God is God, because each person is an individual personality. We will be a reproduction of Him, but we will be unique—because we are who we are, and He is who He is. He has His life and His history, and we have ours. However, we will still be God. We will be just as much "God" as a baby in the human family is a "human" like its parents.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 1)


 

1 Corinthians 15:49

The "heavenly Man" is Jesus Christ. We will be transformed to be like His glorious body. If we are to have a body, which will be like His, then He must also have a body now. When God restored Him to His former glory (Jesus' prayer in John 17:3-5 requests He be restored to the glory He had with the Father before the world was), He then returned to the kind of body He had before when He was the model for Adam.

Do we understand what this means? When He was resurrected, He was restored to what He was before when He was the model for mankind. As the model for Adam, He was like He was when He was resurrected. He was God. The composition was spirit, not flesh, but His body had shape and solidity (remember that He was touched in His resurrection appearances).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

1 Corinthians 15:49

I Corinthians 15:49 shows the end of the process, which it encompasses in just a brief phrase, "we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." We were born into the human family, and we have borne the image of that family, an image that all of mankind has in common. All of us have the human spirit. We may be different ethnically. We may look different from the person sitting next to us, but now in Christ Jesus He is building a commonality, one God intends us to use to increase our fellowship with Him, as well as increase and deepen the respect and fellowship that we have for each other until we come to bear the image of the heavenly. Then, of course, the fellowship will be in totality. That is where Christians are headed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 4)


 

2 Corinthians 3:17

In this verse, which refers directly to Jesus Christ, "spirit" is used in the sense of composition. But just because the Father and the Son are composed of spirit does not mean they have no form. If they had no form, how could the Bible honestly say that humans were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)? They do have form. Physically, we are in Their image.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 1)


 

Philippians 3:21

When Jesus was resurrected, He took pains to make it clear to His disciples that He was not a ghost, not merely an essence. He had flesh and bone. He was plainly saying that there was substance to what He was then—and thus to what He is today.

To put it bluntly, He was saying that He was corporeal. Corporeal from Webster's means "having tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, and resistance to force." If a person leans against the wall, it resists him. Why? Because it is solid, tangible. If Jesus was not solid, whenever His disciples stretched their hands out to Him or perhaps ran their fingers against the palm of His hand where the nail marks were, they would have felt nothing, yet there was substance.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Colossians 3:10-15

When Paul speaks of putting on the new man here, he gives us several attitudes we need to emulate as followers of Christ. Most of them involve the way we deal with each other because a major part of what God is teaching us has to do with building and solidifying our relationships. As we see in the next few verses, he comments specifically on the husband-wife, parent-child and employer-employee relationships.

Why? Largely, our judgment by our Savior hangs on the quality of our relationships. We should never forget the principle found in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats: "Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (Matthew 25:40, 45).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Road Less Traveled


 

Titus 2:11-15

Paul sometimes uses "grace" as a broad catchall term to declare the way God acts toward His converted but still occasionally sinful children. In every case, whether referring to a singular gift or a continuing package of gifts that result in salvation, grace must always be perceived as unearned. Here, "grace" is used as a kind of shorthand for the entire ministry of Jesus Christ through which we are given salvation.

Notice that Paul exclaims, "Grace has appeared," just as the manna, cloud, and fire appeared to illustrate God's faithful presence to the Israelites through the entirety of their pilgrimage. Thus God is shown freely providing them with guidance, daily sustenance, and security. Recall that in John 14:18 that Jesus says in relation to giving the Spirit of truth, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." Paul is implying in Titus 2 that Jesus is following the pattern that He established with Israel for the church's benefit.

Paul also describes Christ as the personification of grace, salvation, redemption, teaching, hope, and the instruction and inspiration to live godly lives of overcoming and good works. All of these are shown as aspects of one huge gift that is continuously flowing in our lives.

Even as Paul describes Jesus as the personification of grace, he also uses Him as a synonym for grace and all of its powers and benefits, as though Christ exemplified all aspects of grace rolled up in one package. In this way, we can more easily identify and understand it and its meaning to us. Notice further what Jesus—grace—is doing: It is teaching us. Teaching represents the empowerment of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, inspiration, and discernment regarding our responsibilities. It also helps us to identify the subtleties of Satan's devious, anti-God systems.

We should not make the mistake of thinking of grace as an entity; it is not a "thing" God dispenses. "Grace" is a term that represents the freeness of God's personal, patient, and concerned generosity—His blessings and saving acts that are continuously flowing on our behalf to assist us along the way.

God's saving work in us is not merely an extending of life to everlasting life. It is a creative labor on His part, forming us into the image of Jesus Christ, that requires our freely given cooperation for it to succeed. One of our major problems in fulfilling this responsibility by faith is to think about Him consistently, seeking for and acknowledging His benefits, and then returning thanks and praise to Him for His forgiving, patient generosity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living By Faith and God's Grace (Part Two)


 

1 Peter 1:2-5

We have been summoned to a great cause. The summons is personal and specific. It presents us the challenge of choosing to live a life worthy of the awesome vocation to which God has summoned us. Our calling has become our life's work. God has summoned us to yield to His creative efforts of reproducing Himself, just as II Corinthians 3:18 instructs us: "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Five): Who We Are


 

 




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