Are we made in God’s image?
Is it possible to be made in the image of God yet possess no capacity to resolve independently our direction? No autonomy? No self determination?
What did Christ mean when He stated, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;” John 10:34
Does God look like us? God is a spirit. John, 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”
Phil, 2:7… Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even to death on a cross.
Are we emotionally alike? It would appear so to a large degree. Following are listed emotions attributed to God which He exhibited in scripture; Patience, wept, understanding, laughter, pleasure, giving, kind, jealous, grief, regret, vengeful, angry, wrathful, rejoicing, compassion, love, forgiveness, mercy, grace.
Are we alike in that we are autonomous? He is God, eternal. We at this time, are temporal. Yet we have an innate ability for self governance. It is what separates us from the beast, to defer pleasure, to set goals for a future desired purpose. To control our desires, reason and focus our will. So yes, we share this attribute in a limited fashion. God’s goal was infinitely more impressive with His undertaking the creation of the physical universe. Then, as if not enough, to create humankind in His image, foreseeing the risk of instilling a predisposition for independent thinking, and, providing a plan of retrieval and restoration, prior to the event. We will receive our spiritual body when our adoption is finalized. Rom, 8:23 There is a pletora of scripture on self control and discipline.
2 Tim, 1:7 For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self control. Those without self control are said to be, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Tim, 3:3. A few others. Tit, 1:8, Gal, 5:23, 1 Peter, 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8, 2 peter, 1:6.
Self control means exactly that. Control yourself.
Gen, 2:7 And God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Man, in his self gratification, motivated by desire, then reasoned Eve and some fruit, in a Garden unlike any, was a sufficiently attractive enough reward to compensate for any repercussions stemming from the disobedience of one simple command. God Knew. He is the beginning. He is the end. He planned for every contingency.
We are to control our flesh. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as pilgrims and strangers, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11
We see above some ways in which we are “made in His image,” or characteristically resemble Him. This is not intended as a comprehensive list,. God embodies attributes which are exclusively His.
Many of us here know faith in God’s grace is our hope. The gospel is simple.
We have seen that if we choose a viewpoint on specific topics, we can find scripture that will appear to support it,. Which is why we have different perspectives. This is likely why Peter felt compelled to state of Paul, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2, Peter 3:16
While I do not agree with Calvin’s conclusion in support of the worldly view in regard to casual determinism, I make no final judgment that any who like tulips will be destroyed, nor those who worship on Saturday Tuesday or every day, those who believe the gifts of the Spirit remain yet, water baptism, Sprinkle or immerse…? WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Is this the “straining at gnats and swallowing a camel,” Christ spoke of? We live now as did Lot surrounded by the unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless thoughts and behaviors? Some even in the churches we attend. Who hasn’t exhibited some of these characteristics in our past, or seen and tolerated them in other “believers”?
When Christ went to hell;
Eph, 4:9; Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Acts, 4:29; Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
1 Peter, 3:19; By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
What was the point?
If the Lamb was slain before the foundations of the earth and men are saved prior to birth, chosen, predestined, why the sacrifice? Why be born? Why even create a physical universe? Why not skip the drama of the human experience and make them like the faithful angels in heaven at the inception.
In my opinion, TULIP = Once saved always saved, but it goes beyond that. All that are going to be saved are in essence saved before they are born. No others have a “snowballs chance.”
It needed/needs to play out. Why?
Because we must choose to believe and trust in God’s love and provision and of our own volition, follow His lead.
Romans, 1:28, And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. This intellectual revolt against what they knew resulted in their corruption. Some make the wrong choice. Verse 20. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. God makes it very clear, His judgment is just. The natural world speaks of God. There will be no excuse.
Someone recently stated, that the only incidence spoken of in the bible concerning the exercise of free will was in regard to Adam just before he fell. It is not.
Angels in heaven were instilled with an independent will upon their creation. And many exercised that freedom of choice to rebel. They will also, at the appointed time be brought to the resolution of acting on their own volition, against the One God.We are not fooled, “What a man plants, he will harvest.”
Is Ezekeil, 28:12 speaking of Satan here? Who else can it be? We know he chose himself over God.
“‘You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade
you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
So I made a fire come out from you,
and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground
in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you
are appalled at you;
you have come to a horrible end
and will be no more.’
This ability to Chose or reject God is crucial and at the very core of what is means to be human. It is the way God does things, then and now, with angels and men. The capacity to chose a relationship with Him in an intentional, and deliberately conformed, obedient fashion is the fulfillment of human purpose and existence. We are born of the earth, dust, and are to, “… Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. Phil, 2:12 Let His purpose be our purpose. This is our work, to follow Christ in the Spirit of God and not ourselves. Mark, 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. God’s got it covered.
We are not working our way to heaven. This is a reasoning, an understanding, communion. “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool.” Isaiah, 1:18 God is working in us for His purpose. We are believing, we have faith in His work within us. We do not exert our will over His, We choose to walk after His Spirit and thank Him daily for His gift. Why do we thank God? Because we understand His work, His Grace freely offered. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you as My priests.” Hosea, 4:6
And when we have fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith,. 2 Tim, 4:7 We will be like the angels in heaven. Those who remain and choose God.
This human boot camp was necessary because we have a part to play, a volitional election, Voting rights. How can anyone know God and not love Him? He is the embodiment of love, truth, honor, justice, purity, love, commendable, moral excellence and praiseworthy. Phil, 4:8 He’s pretty awesome too. Yet some will be lost, not because in an arbitrary and capricious manner God picks on some. We make choices. God’s prescient aptitude for knowing the choices people will make, does not equate with forcing some to believe and others not to.
God’s righteous judgment
Acts 10:34-35 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
John,5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Hear, believe.
Rev, 20:12 … Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The book of life was opened.
And what had those whose name was found in it done?
They believed, put their faith in Christ and followed His directive.
1 John, 5:4 “Because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Job, 24:14 Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.
Rev, 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Isa, 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
Eze, 18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live. “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul.” 1 Peter, 1:9