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Created in His Image

Text: Genesis 1:27

Dr. Alex Tang

Summary

Jesus Christ is the human image of God. We are formed by God the Father, informed by the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is not finished with us yet.

Genesis 1:27

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

 

In His image

What is the image that comes to mind when we say we are created in the image of God. What is the image of God? An image of God must be able to show the attributes of God; his holiness, his omniscience and his loving-kindness. But God is spirit. How do you make the image of a spirit? Often, when we talk about the image of God, we think of

  • Mirror: We often think of the image of God as a reflection of God. We are created as a mirror image of God. But as we know, a mirror only shows a reflection. It does not show a character. It does not show integrity. It does not show the inner characteristics of what has been reflected. And as you know, in some museum, there are mirrors that show distorted reflection. So the analogy of the image of God as a reflection of God is not too accurate.
  • Photograph: How about a photograph? A photograph, like a mirror, shows an image of the person. Yet unlike a mirror, it is not reverse. But like a mirror, it only shows the external features of a person, not the inner characteristics.
  • Portrait: A good portrait shows more of the inner characteristics of the person. Yet it also shows the artist's interpretation of what he sees.
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging): Being a doctor, an image brings to mind, the MRI. Using strong magnets, the molecules were made to resonance and an image is captured by the sensors and computers were used to create a 3Dimensional image of the person. It shows the inside of a person in 3 D. It does give a better picture but again it falls short of what the image of God is.
  • Jesus Christ is the perfect image of God in human form. God is spirit but it is unlikely that God will create our spirit as an image of his spirit only. We are body, soul and spirit. So an appropriate image of God will have body, soul and spirit. So Jesus Christ is the image of God we are created in. When God created us in his own image, he is creating us in the image of Jesus Christ. The word 'create' is an active word. It also means 'creating'. Thus God has created us and also in the process of creating us. The creation of us in the image of his son is not completed yet. God creates us by forming, informing and transforming.

 

Formed

I have a sculpture called 'Forming Hands' by a Christian sculpture called Stephen W. Smith. It is a sculpture of a potters' hand working on a piece of clay. Notice the two hands on the sculpture. The strong hand uses power and strength to dig deeply into the clay. The tender hands attend to details with grace and tenderness. We are the clay in his hands. Our lives are the clay. God has created us for a purpose. He has created us in the image of his Son. But because of sin, our nature has been corrupted. We have turned away from God. But God has not forgotten about us. So he is continually forming us by

  • His Presence: God is always with us. Only we are to busy to be aware of him. He is always with us and in us. He will never abandon us not matter how much we have abandoned him. We have this reassurance that God never loses us.
  • Circumstances: God also forms us with circumstances. What happens in our life occurs with His consent. All circumstances, whether good or bad will form us. It is how we respond to these circumstances that either makes us more like his Son or more like Satan. The choice is ours.
  • Other hands: God also uses other hands to form us. Teachers, pastors, friends, relatives, spouses, managers or children are all hands that God uses to form us.

The key word is grace. We are formed by grace of a loving Father.

 

Informed

As the potter mold and shape the piece of clay, the clay begins to take certain form. It may become a vase or a pot or a decorative porcelain plate. So as God works on our lives it begins to take certain shape. This shaping of our lives is being informed. To become the image of Jesus Christ, we need to know who is Jesus Christ. Like a potter cannot make a vase if the clay keep resisting all the time. We are informed through our mind by the Word of God.

Romans 12:2

2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

That is why it is so important that we study the Word of God. Really studying the Word. Reading, memorizing, meditating, studying and reflecting on the Bible. We often are dependent on predigested Word, given by the preacher that we do not take the effort to take real food. Instead of a 10 course Chinese dinner, we settle for milk instead.

The keyword is Word of God.

 

Transformed

But knowing the Word alone is not enough. We need to pray and know God. The clay even when formed in the shape of a vase will never be transformed into a ceramic vase unless it has been baked in a kiln. So we can only be transformed into his image by the Holy Spirit. Transformation is not our work. We can only prepare the clay. An early Christian father said that being transformed into his image is like us wanting to sail on a boat to a distant place. We can build the sturdiest boat in the world with large sail. Unless there is wind, the boat will not move. Similarly, we are to prepare ourselves by the intake of the word and prayer but it is only the Holy Spirit that can transform us. That is why many of us fail in our Christian walk. We try to transform ourselves which is not possible. Only the Holy Spirit can transform us. We often try too hard. Jesus said:

Matt 11: 29,30

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

 

The keyword is Holy Spirit

 

Closing Remarks

Jesus Christ is the human image of God. We are formed by God the Father, informed by the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is not finished with us yet. We are a work in progress. We must always remember that and not be too discouraged when we fail. We are not perfect yet. So when we fail and fall, we should get up, confess our failures and our sins and try again. We are still being formed, informed and transformed by God.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

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