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Acts 7: 44-60 & 8: 1-40
Acts 6: 1-15, 7: 1 - 43
Acts 3 & 4
John 20 & 21
In the Image of God
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “ Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
(Genesis 1:26-28 NASB)
Man is unique among all God’s creation. Not only was he given dominion over all creation and charged with subduing it, but his is the only creation in which the Lord saw fit to do more than speak. Chapter 2 tells us that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, and God breathed into him the breath of life. It was at that point that man became a living being. Not only did God take great care in man’s creation, he prepared for him the perfect place, and the perfect companion.
In that he was created in the image of God we see man with both purpose and dominion, soul and spirit. He was above all creation as God himself was. He was perfect without sin, and gifted with freewill. But in all these ways man is most like God not in His creation but in His rebirth.
Consider these two passages from the book of Colossians:
9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
(Colossians 1:9-18 NASB)
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
(Colossians 3:5-15 NASB)
Though man is created in the image of God having soul and spirit, dominion and purpose; he is most like God when he of his own choosing puts off sin and immerses himself in the image of Christ. Paul would speak of this transformation in Romans 12 calling it there our reasonable service of worship. In everyway possible the walk of a Christian is to more perfectly imitate the image of God. Putting off sin, submitting to holiness, loving the brethren, practicing worship are only small manifestations of this. Our aim must be to emulate our Father in every way. Adopting his purposes and imitating His love are central to our identity. Paul argued this very sentiment in Ephesians 4:20-24.
The truth is we were not reborn to be better by degrees. Less sinful and more holy are not sufficient to our calling. We were born to prove out those things that are good and acceptable in the sight of God. The trouble is our aim is often lower than it should be, and in this we will never glorify the Father. We struggle because rather than seeking to be in the image of God we allow ourselves to settle for our “best” approximation.
To that end
We Must Press for Spiritual Growth
We Must Tear Down our Idols
We Must Make our Purposes His purposes
Are we striving to be remade into the image of God? What higher purpose could we find?