THE IMAGE OF GOD - PART 3
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren..." Romans 8:28, 29
"And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation." Colossians 1:15
Being Like God
We saw in the previous portions of this article that the issue in the matter of God having His image is being like Him. Eve was tempted by the serpent as an individual to be like God. But, as it turned out, the serpent had lied. What a surprise! Adam and Eve did not become like God, but instead became like one of the members in the Godhead. In other words, the result of the fall was a race of non-related individuals who could never be one as God is one. So we saw that being like God is, and (because of His nature) must always be a corporate matter, not an individual one.
But yet today we see individual Christians all around us who are trying to be "like" Jesus. We are told by pastors and other preachers that this is to be our one goal in life; to be Christ like. We are to do our best to be like Jesus. After all, isn't the whole W.W.J.D. (what would Jesus do?) movement based upon that goal? When in doubt, you should always do what Jesus would do. You should be "like" Jesus. This usually is referring to imitating Jesus of Nazareth. You are to study your bible and learn all you can about the man who walked the shores of Galilee and then live like Him. Be like Him. Do what He did. Say what He said (quote scripture verses). Do the things that He would do if He were here now. Be like Jesus.
Let me ask you, those of you who want to be like Jesus, is it working for you? Are you succeeding in being like Christ? I know that this is a trick question because if you say yes, then I would have to say that you have failed because Jesus is much more humble than that! But my point is that none of us (as individuals) can be like Christ. The image of God can only be a corporate matter. Unfortunately, most of us are still operating with an individualistic (fallen) mind and we are always viewing spiritual matters (including the scriptures) through our individualistic filters. But this matter (and many more) of the image of God is a corporate matter and all the scriptures relating to this matter reveal this if you have eyes to see. This dilemma of this image could only be resolved with a new race and a totally new image.
The New Corporate Man
Jesus Christ came to raise up a new image of God, His Father. But Adam's race had to be done away with because it could never produce the true image that God wanted. The Old Man (race) was beyond repair and God could only build His image with a completely fresh start. This new race would have to be a corporate entity that would contain and live by the life of God within them. In other words, this race would have to succeed where Adam failed.
But how could this happen? How could mere human beings ever succeed in such a high and lofty occupation? The answer is obviously that they could not succeed. Someone would have to succeed for them. In fact, Someone would have to succeed continuously within them! That is exactly why the Father has placed His Son inside of you. The hope of Him getting His glory (image) is "Christ in you."
The Last Adam
Because of God's nature, and purpose, He always views man in the sense of "many in the one." He dealt with Adam as a race (many in the one). But in His viewpoint Adam is one man. Even though there are many individuals who are part of Adam, there is only one man to God. God has always been looking for a man to be His image.
Another good example of this is Abraham. Here is one single man that God calls out to be separate unto Him from among the nations. Even though Abraham is a single man, yet God views him as a nation. His covenant that He makes with Abraham is with a whole nation. Here again, God is looking for His image. All of His dealings with Israel reveal His heart to have His image. He wants to have a corporate man who will be like Him. Only a corporate man could be His image because He Himself is corporate. The love, and life, and giving that is continually flowing within the Godhead is to be expressed through a visible image on this earth.
"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:17, 19
One Man came who had the life of God within Him. He lived His life completely by the life of the Father within Him; therefore, He could qualify to be the expression of God, except for one thing. He was only one Man. One man could never express the fullness of God. One Man could never express the corporate nature of God. One single Man could never be the image of God.
But there was a grain of wheat that was willing to die. That single grain of wheat fell into the ground and died.
The new race could not be brought in until the old race had been done away with. The Old Man (Adam) had to go. So when your Lord hung on the cross, the old, perverted race was crucified. Everything about that man was demolished forever. The power of that man was nullified and destroyed. The grain of wheat had died and all the power of the old race died with Him.
But death could not hold Him. The Seed sprouted forth and now a new race was raised within Him. This is the one new Man who could fulfill God's hope and purpose of having an image. The resurrected Christ was but the first-born of a whole new race that would be in Him, by Him, through Him, and for Him!
Now there would be a race who would not have to think and act and live separated individual lives. There would be a Him who is a them! This corporate Man could get the corporate mind of God by seeking the mind of Christ. This corporate Man could live out the expression of the life within the Godhead because the Godhead is now living inside this Man! This new corporate Man could be the image of God!
"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, thought they are many, are one body, so also is Christ!"
1 Corinthians 12:12