So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them. ~ Genesis 1:27
That has become one of my favorite verses lately. It’s our blueprint… our original design. No matter what mankind may look like on the outside, no matter what sins we may commit, this is truly who we were created to be and how God sees us – because He always sees us according to our potential in Him. The very first man walked in that design, and all mankind afterward were supposed to walk in the same pattern. But although Adam was created in that design and walked in it for at least a few days, he sinned and introduced sin and consequently death into the world.
All men born after him were born in Adam’s likeness and image instead of God’s. Genesis 5:3 “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth”. All mankind was born into sin. Made in Adam’s likeness and image – one of sin and death. Romans 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners….” Man isn’t a sinner because he sins, he is a sinner through birth. Sin in the Greek is hamartia and means to miss the mark. To sin is to behave out of tune with God’s original harmony. It is to believe a lie about ourselves. It is to miss out on sonship. Sonship is our blueprint… our true, original, chosen design. Ephesians 1:5 “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”
Even when the Law was introduced, mankind was still a sinner. No matter how good he was morally, he could never fulfill the requirements of the law and be made righteous. The Law simply revealed sin and made mankind aware of his lost state. Man was unable to save himself — the Law revealed that he needed a Savior! God’s timing was absolutely perfect.
He always had a plan to redeem us. He had found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam! Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” He always loved us too much to leave us in such a wretched state…. He never abandoned His creation! Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s great mercy is far reaching and ALL encompassing. Just as it took Adam’s one act of sin to condemn all of mankind, it only took Jesus’ one act of righteousness to completely declare all mankind innocent. Romans 5:18 “So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life.” Freely acquitted in the sight of God. Through Adam we were ALL declared sinners and death reigned in us BUT through Jesus we are ALL declared righteous and life reigns in us.
Jesus’ death and resurrection reconciled us back to God and to our original design of sonship. Now we are no longer made in Adam’s image and likeness – one of sin and death. The sin nature has been completely removed and we received a new nature.. a new spirit… His Spirit. Ezekiel 36:26-27 “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”
Jesus defeated sin and death ONCE and for ALL. God did not love us more once we were reconciled. Reconciliation simply made us free to realize how much He has always loved us and free to enjoy our redeemed original identity — made in His image and in His likeness. To see ourselves as He sees us — IN CHRIST. Free to enjoy sonship and all of it’s joys and privileges. And not just to see ourselves, but our old ways of seeing others is over as well (2 Cor 5:16). We are now to see everyone through the eyes of our Redeemer.
He has made us ambassadors or ministers of His reconciliation with the world. Our lives are now to exhibit the urgency of God to persuade everyone to be reconciled to God because Jesus took their life to the Cross in exchange for His resurrected life in them. He did a finished, completed work on the Cross for ALL mankind.
The language of the Old Covenant… of the old written code was “Do in order to become”. The language of the New Covenant is “Be, because of what has been done.” It’s simply a matter of saying yes to God through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus. It’s simply a matter of them awakening to their righteousness… of seeing themselves as God already sees them…. IN CHRIST. So that then they will be able to say “I once was blind, but now I see.”
God’s great mercy for mankind is seen in the riches of His goodness toward us and His absolute passionate refusal to let us go. His Covenant love for us is because continues to hear the echo of His image and His likeness in us.
I love the Mirror Translation of Romans 3:23-26:
Humanity is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint. (24) Jesus Christ is proof of God’s grace gift; He redeemed the glory of God in human life; mankind condemned is now mankind justified! (25) Jesus exhibits God’s mercy. In His blood conciliation God’s faith persuades mankind of His righteousness and the fact that He has brought closure to the historic record of their sins (not by demanding a sacrifice, but providing the sacrifice of Himself). Jesus is the unveiling of the Father’s heart toward us. (26) All along God refused to let go of mankind. At this very moment God’s act of righteousness is pointing them to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the source of their faith.
It is the revelation of God’s goodness that leads men to repentance, not our repentance that leads to God’s goodness.