Category Archives: THE SONSHIP MESSAGE #9- In the Image and Likeness of God
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THE SONSHIP MESSAGE #9- In the Image and Likeness of God
This is series #9 of the SONSHIP MESSAGE regarding God’s desire to transform us into His image and likeness, to have more sons and daughters like Jesus Christ.
The Sonship Message #9- In the Image and Likeness of God is all about God’s desire to restore us one day to His image, to make us like Jesus Christ. In the beginning, God created man in His image, but it was lost when Adam & Eve sinned 6000 years ago. Years later, the apostle John wrote ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, & it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see Him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure’ 1Jn3:1-3.
Here we see that God wants to restore us into His image and likeness. When will this be? The answer is soon, at the Rapture, for when Jesus shall appear, we shall be changed and be like Him. The apostle Paul wrote ‘For whom (God) did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that Jesus might be the firstborn among many brethren’ Ro8:29. God foreordained and predestined certain believers to become like Jesus. But in order to qualify, we need to purify ourselves! Thus Paul said ‘I press toward the mark for the PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. Let us therefore, as many as be Perfect, be thus minded’ Php3:14,15. To be like Jesus, we must be likeminded as Paul!
The Holy Bible states Adam & Eve were made in the image and likeness of God Ge1:27. But when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, they lost this image and likeness, became naked and was subject to sin, death and hell Ge3:9,10. No one else was mentioned as made in the God’s image and likeness, who is perfect, eternal and immortal. As a result, all of us now live in a corruptible and mortal body subject to hunger, death, and disease.
Today no one dies of natural causes or old age, but of heart failure, cancer, diabetes, other diseases, accidents, disasters, wars, etc. As I am aging, my hair is thinning, my hearing and sight diminishing, my strength, agility, mental acuity and health are waning. Eventually, death and eternal judgment await us all Heb9:27.
In this study, we will see that it is God’s desire ‘to bring many sons unto Glory’ Heb2:10; to restore us into His image and likeness, and for us to even overcome death at the Rapture. 1Co15:26 states ‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death’. Paul wrote ‘But we all.. beholding as in a glass the Glory of the Lord, are changed into the same Image from Glory to Glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ 2Co3:18. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to restore us and change us into God’s image and glory that A&E once had!
To accomplish this, God appeared on earth as the man Jesus to die for our sins. Paul wrote ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the LIKENESS of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given him a name which is above every name’ Php2:5-10.
Unless we know what God has for us, and have the faith to receive it, we will never obtain it Heb11:6. Paul said ‘That I may know (Jesus), and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead’ Php3:10,11. Paul knew that there was more to life than life itself, that there would be a future bodily resurrection of the dead one day when God would physically raise him up from the dead like Jesus Christ.
In the Rapture, Paul said the dead in Christ shall rise first 1Th4:16! While Paul and the other saints who have died looked forward to the resurrection of the dead, we that are alive today should also look forward to our own bodily resurrection in the Rapture, to be forever with the Lord 1Th4:17.
What is God’s Image and Likeness?
The Bible reveals God’s nature and attributes. God is the Word, a self-existing and eternal being Jn1:1; the Creator of all things Ge1:1; God is a Spirit Jn4:24; Perfect Mt5:48; Holy 1Pe1:16; ‘..Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only wise God’ 1Ti1:17; God of gods De10:17, King of kings and Lord of lords 1Ti6:15; ‘His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’ Is9:6. God is Love 1Jn4:8. David wrote ‘The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer’ Ps18:2; The LORD is my shepherd Ps23:1; ‘The LORD is my light and my salvation’ Ps27:1; ‘my salvation and my Glory’ Ps62:3; ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ Ps46:1; ‘the LORD is good’ Ps135:3.
Jesus is ‘the brightness of God’s Glory, and the express image of God’s person..’ Heb1:3; Jesus.. is ‘my Lord & my God’ Jn20:28; ‘the great God & our Saviour Jesus Christ’ Ti2:13. Jesus ‘is the image of the invisible God’ Co1:15, Jesus is ‘Emmanuel.. God with us’ Mt1:23. God wants to make us like Him. Paul wrote ‘to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God’ Ep3:19; ‘Till we all come.. unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ Ep4:13.
Historical Backdrop- Lucifer Desired to be Like God
Lucifer, an angel, was the first being who desired to be like God. But God already had another plan of whom He wanted to glorify one day. There are over 100 million angels in heaven Re5:11, and all were created before man. Lucifer was ‘..full of wisdom and perfect in beauty’ Ez28:12; ‘the anointed cherub that covereth’ v14. He was beautifully adorned with sparkling precious stones v13. His beauty, wisdom and brightness caused him to become exceedingly proud v17.
Lucifer’s music was beautifully and skillfully performed, as he led the heavenly host in high praises to God. Their adulation of him fueled Lucifer’s heart with great pride and iniquity. He could not remain humble before God. He began to foment sedition in heaven to take over God’s position in heaven by force and rebellion, to displace God. Ez28:16 states ‘By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned’.
Here we see that the first sin ever committed was in heaven by Lucifer and his angels. He began to traffic in the ‘the multitude of thine iniquities’ v18. His followers also became defiled v18. Lucifer, being very wise and confident, thought he would succeed in supplanting God, but failed miserably. Here are the ‘five sinful I wills of Lucifer’: ‘For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High’ Is14:13,14. Lucifer wanted to steal God’s Glory, throne and congregation, to displace and be like God. He led the rebellion of a third of the angels in heaven Re12:3,4, but was defeated.
The prophet Isaiah wrote ‘O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations’ Is14:12. Lucifer and his angels were cast down who ‘made the earth to tremble.. made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof’ Is14:16,17; ‘..all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger’ Je4:26. Lucifer and his devils were cast down to earth.
John wrote ‘And there was war in heaven: Michael & his angels fought against the dragon; And the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, & Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him’ Re12:7-9. Lucifer’s other names are the great dragon, that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan.
Satan now has dominion of the earth which Adam once had, but lost. The devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would only worship him. Jesus said ‘Get thee hence, Satan.. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve’ Mt4:9,10. God uses Satan to bring us unto Glory by Satan tempting us, like he did Jesus in the wilderness, and to perfect us to bring forth the sons of God like Jesus!
Adam and Eve- Loss of God’s Glory
God created man ‘in his own image, in the image of God created he him’ Ge1:27. God put Adam in the garden of Eden, then the animals, and then formed Eve out of one of his ribs to be his companion Ge2:22,23. A&E were in charge of dressing the garden, and were in daily communication with God. The serpent being more subtil than any beast of the field tempted Eve saying ‘Ye shall not surely die.. ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; And he did eat.’ Ge3:4-6.
A&E may have lived in the garden for many years when until one day they succumbed to the serpent’s temptation ‘to be like gods knowing good & evil.. and to make one wise’. Earlier the LORD God told Adam ‘But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’ Ge2:17. Paul wrote ‘by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned’ Ro5:12.
A&E lost God’s image and likeness, their glory clothing, became naked, sinful, corrupt, and subject to death. As God had spoken & prophesied, Adam died before that day was over at age 930 years Ge5:5, because ‘one day is with the Lord as a 1000 years, and a 1000 years as one day’ 2Pe3:8, as the apostle Peter explained,.
Here is a mystery and a paradox! God knew before the world began, that A&E would sin, and that He had to come to earth to die for our sins. Why did God want to pay such a great price for our sins? It was so He could have more sons and daughters like Jesus Christ! Paul revealed ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as (God) hath chosen us in (Christ) BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will’ Ep1:3-5. Jesus Christ had to come to earth to sacrifice Himself, so that God could have more sons and daughters like Him!
God’s Desire- To Bring Many Sons Unto Glory
God’s crowning glory in all His creation is to have more sons and daughters like Jesus Christ! Paul wrote ‘For it became (God), for whom are all things, & by whom are all things, in BRINGING MANY SONS UNTO GLORY, to make the captain of their salvation (Jesus) perfect through sufferings’ Heb2:10. Though God is all-powerful and anything that He wants He could just speak it into existence, such as we see in Ge1&2. But in the case of Sonship, God wants Christ to be fully formed in us. Paul said ‘My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you’ Ga4:19. God’s original intent before creation was to have more sons & daughters like Jesus Christ. But all this could not happen without Satan’s temptation and until A&E sinned. Then God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to die for our sins Mt1:21.
If Adam did not sin, we would not need a Saviour, and Jesus would not have to come. We would then not know of God’s desire for more sons and daughters like Jesus Christ- Sonship. But Adam sinned, we needed a Saviour, Jesus came, and now we know what God’s highest plan is for us- Sonship. Paul challenged us ‘That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his Kingdom and Glory’ 1Th2:12.
Obtaining the Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Before his crucifixion Jesus prayed to the Father ‘And the Glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one’ Jn17:22. Unselfishly, Jesus wanted to give and to share His Glory with us. The Bible states that Jesus is ‘the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of His person..’. Paul wrote ‘To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY AMONG THE GENTILES; WHICH IS CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ Co1:27; ‘..to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD’ Ep3:19.
Paul prayed I ‘Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the Glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward..’ Ep1:16-20.
Isaiah declared ‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the Glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His Glory shall be seen upon thee’ Is60:1,2. Paul also wrote ‘The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.. heirs of God, & joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also Glorified Together. For ..the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the Glory which shall be revealed in us’ Ro8:16-18.
Paul added ‘For whom God did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate.. He also called.. He also Justified & Glorified’ Ro8:29,30. Paul said God ‘.. called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ’ 2Th2:12. Peter said ‘..when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of Glory that fadeth not away’ 1Pe5:4, speaking of the coming Rapture.
God’s Image and Likeness- Our Change Coming at the Rapture
Our change will come at the Rapture. Only when Jesus was glorified by dying on the cross for us could God restore His image and likeness to us. Paul said ‘Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all (die), but we shall all be Changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, & we shall be Changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.. Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ 1Co15:51-54.
Paul said ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in Glory’ Co3:4. Paul continued ‘For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: And so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words’ 1Th4:16-18.
Job prophesied ‘If a man die, shall he live again?..I wait, till MY CHANGE COME’ Job14:14. David said ‘I shall be satisfied, when I awake, WITH THY LIKENESS’ Ps17:15. John later confirmed ‘..it doth not yet appear what we shall be: But we know that, when he shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure’ 1Jn3:2,3.
The Rapture is when God will restore us into His image and likeness. Jesus said ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ Mt5:8. Jesus said ‘If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: And from henceforth ye know him, & have seen him’; ‘he that hath seen me hath seen the Father’ Jn14:7,9. Our change will come at the Rapture. We shall be like Jesus only when we see Him! That which God had predestined before the world began, that which Lucifer tried to steal from God through rebellion, and that which A&E lost in the Garden of Eden through disobedience, shall be restored to us. SONSHIP- God’s image and likeness restored to us to be like Jesus Christ forever!
As a caution and a final note, we may not have much time left in getting ourselves ready to repent and to purify ourselves for the coming Rapture, when our change is expected to come. Jesus said ‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man‘ Lk21:36. The imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ for His own will come very soon as we see the world disintegrating before our eyes, and mankind becoming extremely corrupt and wicked! Maranatha, the Lord Cometh 1Co16:22!
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