Thursday, October 1, 2009

THE IMAGE OF GOD

The Triune God is full of grace. He gave His own reflection five senses to appreciate His beautiful creation. And with His own finger He delicately wrote His law of love on His little mirror as He breathed life into him. As the three Persons love the eternal Godhead, so man was to image his Creator by loving God and his neighbour personally, perfectly, and perpetually.

God planted a garden. In it placed His compact mirror; graciously condescending to enter into a covenant relationship with him. With the threat of death for disobedience came also the promise of everlasting life for loving obedience. Thus the man, God’s little looking glass, was placed on probation in a walled orchard. The image was commanded to replicate itself and was graciously permitted to freely eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden bar one.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was set as the outward test of Adam’s obedience to God’s covenant. To eat of that tree was to bite the hand that graciously fed him. It was to shatter God’s image. Hence, the threatened death penalty for all mankind: immediate broken fellowship with God, subsequent temporary separation of soul from body, and ultimately everlasting separation from God.

God’s Word testifies, and history records that the world was plunged into darkness to the sound, as it were, of shattering glass, a Kristallnacht, when in Adam all mankind broke the covenant of works. Like mirrors falling on a ceramic floor, every single image of God throughout history was smashed, including you and me. By eating the forbidden fruit Adam overturned and smashed the tables of man’s heart. God chased the man and his wife out of His Garden. The righteous and holy God could not look upon fallen man. Adam had constructed a wall of broken glass separating himself and God. In Adam, our representative head, we violated our probation by miserably failing the outward test.

Yet God is gracious. He so loved the world that He immediately began to publish the good news to fallen man of a hidden insurance clause called the covenant of grace. The old covenant with Adam had included all his descendants; Adam’s own image and likenesses. As sin-buckled mirrors we distort the image of God. The way of attaining everlasting life through works of obedience was closed to us when Adam sinned. The old covenant, the covenant of works condemns us. However, God formed one last perfect image of Himself, Jesus Christ, the replacement representative. Unlike the first man who fell far short of God’s glory, He kept the covenant of works perfectly. He was like us in every way apart from our sin. However, like the first man the second Man too was on probation. He likewise had to undergo an outward test. There also was a tree…

The new Adam would restore what the first Adam had destroyed, i.e., God’s perfect reflection, even man. He also needed to pay the penalty owed. So Jesus Christ loved God and His neighbour personally, perfectly, and perpetually by keeping God’s Law even unto death. In this He demonstrated to the world that He alone is God’s perfect image. But when He hung on the tree to pay our penalty He showed us what man, the image of God, had become – blood stained - hardly recognizable – separated from God - dead!

His perfect obedience satisfied God’s justice. So God raised Jesus from the dead. God imputes the perfect covenant of works-righteousness of Jesus Christ to those who keep-on believing in Him alone for salvation. And by His Spirit, even today, God is at work progressively renewing His image in all true believers.

If you see yourself as a shattered image of God on your way to eternal separation from Him, then call on Jesus Christ to save you – today.

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