What does it mean to be created in the image of God? pt 3

In parts one and two we discovered that Christ is the gold standard of what ‘being created in the image of God’ looks like. Christ is the “express” image of the Father. He has the “fullness of the Father” which is expressed in the statement that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Also expressed in the statement: The Father and I are one.

Christ is the pioneer and first born of the “new creation”. We are to be filled with the fullness of Christ and in so doing be filled with the fullness of the Father and participate in his divine nature.

By Christ abiding in the Father and Christ in us and us in him we abide in the Father. If we love Christ we love the Father and they will make their home (abode) in us and with us, and love us.

Was the receiving of God’s Spirit to clothe the disciples with power?

Luke 24:49 NRSV
And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high”

Did Jesus tell the disciples to stay in Jerusalem prior to them receiving the Holy Spirit? Above scripture and following. See above and below.

Acts 1:4-5 NRSV
While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:8 NRSV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We see from the above verses that receiving the Holy Spirit was associated with receiving power.

And indeed, on the day of Pentecost the disciples did receive the Holy Spirit

Acts 2: 1-4 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Verses 7-11 explain that the crowds were perplexed because they were from different countries and spoke different languages. Each person heard in their own language the disciples speaking to them.

Were the crowds amazed?

Acts 2:7-8 NRSV
Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

Acts 2:12 NRSV
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Peter’s reply was as follows:

Acts 2:15-18 NRSV
Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Through God’s Spirit we are granted love, a sound mind, power, are strengthened, and given faith.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJ
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind

Philippians 4:13 NRSV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

1 Corinthians 2:5 NRSV
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

2 Corinthians 13:3-4 NRSV
since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Were the deeds of Jesus done in power?

Acts 2:22 NRSV
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know”.

The receiving of the Holy Spirit bestows upon us power from the Father and we are to live by that power.

Are we the Father’s workmanship?

Ephesians 2:10 WEB
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

Does the Father even cause his children to desire and act for his pleasure?

Philippians 2:13 BBE
For it is God who is the cause of your desires and of your acts, for his good pleasure.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 Kingdom New Testament by N. T. Wright
All scripture is breathed by God, and is useful for teaching, for rebuke, for improvement, for training in righteousness,17 so that people who belong to God may be complete, fitted out and ready for every good work

Christ did not speak on his own authority but by Yahweh God’s authority. Christ did not do his own works but Yahweh’s works – so it is for us – not our works but the Father’s

John 10:32 NRSV
Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?”

John 14:10 NRSV
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Acts 2:22 NRSV
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know

John 8:28-32 NRSV
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

We can see from the scriptures above there are “works” to be carried out. But these are were not Messiah’s works but his Father’s works. The Father even put the desire to do the acts into Jesus’s mind via  His holy spirit presence.

In John 15:1-5 NRSV we are given a picture of a vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Those who belong to messiah are pictured as being the branches of the vine – we could actually say that the branches are the “fruit hangers”. The branches do not dictate  what fruit is to be borne but the vine does. Verse 5 states that Apart from Christ YOU CAN DO NOTHING.

How do we glorify the Father?

John 15:8 NRSV
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

We can see that we are to bear much fruit. Fruit that Messiah bears through us through the the Holy Spirit.

John 15:16-17 NRSV
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

What is the evidence of the spirit in you?

Galatians 5:22-25 NRSV
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NRSV
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end;

1 Corinthians 13:13 NRSV
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Jesus explains that he abides in the Father’s love and that we are to abide also in his (Jesus’s) love.

John 15:9-10 NRSV
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

We are shown what those commands are:

Matthew 22:35-40 NRSV
and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

We are given further scriptures of what is required of us (because we belong to Him and He lives in us) as follows :

Micah 6:8 WEB
He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Matthew 12:50 NRSV
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

Luke 8:21 NRSV
But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Summary
We can see that we are to abide in Christ and this is pictured as branches of a vine abiding in the vine, bearing fruit. We glorify the Father by bearing much fruit. We are shown what that fruit is. We are also left in no doubt that the fruit borne is determined by Christ and that basically we are the fruit hanger. The fruit is produced through us as we abide in Christ, and allow Him to live with us, in us, through us, for us, as us. Just like Christ, we of our own selves can do nothing. The Father is all, and in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).

In part four we will see Yahweh God pictured as a potter and we as the pot as he forms us into the perfect image of himself.

Truth or False Doctrine, does it matter?

Does it matter what we believe about God, who He is and what He says? Does it make any difference ‘which Jesus’ we accept and trust in? Is it important which ‘gospel’ we receive? If what we preach or bear witness to is incorrect, is it a problem? Do we know what scripture says about these things?

As we shall see from the scriptures in this study, it can make all the difference in the world, and therefore we ought to ensure that we put our whole heart and mind into seeking and finding the true God, the true Jesus and the true gospel. Is this possible for us?

1 Chronicles 28:9 NJB
‘And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with an undivided heart and willing mind; for Yahweh scrutinises all hearts and understands whatever plans they may devise. If you seek him, he will let you find him; but forsake him and he will cast you off for ever.
Where will we find the truth? Is the Father’s word the source of truth?

John 17:17 NRSV
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth

In the above scripture the Greek word translated as ‘truth’ is Strong’s number 225 and has the definition ‘ truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness’. We should also note that we are to be ‘sanctified’ in/by the truth – the Greek word used here is Strong’s number 37 which means ‘set apart as holy, purify’. So we begin to see how important truth is.

Did Jesus say it is vital to worship God in spirit and truth?

John 4:24 NRSV
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

The Greek word for ‘must’ is Strong’s number 1163, meaning ‘it is necessary, inevitable; less frequently: it is a duty, what is proper. properly, what must happen, i.e. what is absolutely necessary’. So from this we see we can’t take ‘truth’ casually, just assuming, we need to be certain.

Did Jesus say it was possible to worship God ‘in vain’?

Matthew 15:6-9 NRSV
So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: 8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ “

Do they make God’s truth void (to make of no effect, to annul, to cancel – Strong’s number 208) by following their own traditions, man-made rules and doctrines? Does this result in unacceptable worship? Same verses.

Is this true even of the ‘traditions of the elders’?

Mark 7:5-8 NRSV
So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ 8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Do we need to be careful not to follow false preachers (prophets) and their own ideas, instead of the word of God?

Jeremiah 23:16-18 WEB
Thus says Yahweh of Hosts, Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you: they teach you vanity; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of Yahweh. 17 They say continually to those who despise me, Yahweh has said, You shall have peace; and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come on you. 18 For who has stood in the council of Yahweh, that he should perceive and hear his word? who has marked my word, and heard it?

Jeremiah 23:21-22 NRSV
I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

What did Yahweh say through Isaiah regarding the difference between light and darkness (truth and falsehood)?

Isaiah 5:20-21 NRSV
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!

Shouldn’t people consult the true God?

Isaiah 8:19-20 RSV
And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! Surely for this word which they speak there is no dawn.

Did Paul warn against false teaching and human tradition?

Colossians 2:8 NRSV
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.

Did Paul also warn about people who will preach ‘another Jesus’ rather than the true one, deceiving people and leading them astray?

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NRSV
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.

Did Paul warn that people will not believe the truth, but believe what is false?

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NRSV
The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false,

Did he also warn about a false perverted gospel being preached and accepted, and pronounce a double curse on anyone preaching a different gospel than the original one?

Galatians 1:6-9 NRSV
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!

This sounds as though it is essential to know and understand the gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached – and not some other gospel!

How does Paul describe people who preach a false gospel?

2 Cor 11:13-15 NRSV
For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.

Did Paul point out some key elements of ‘the truth’?

1 Timothy 2:3-7 RSV
This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Did Paul make absolutely sure that the gospel he was preaching was the correct original gospel?

Galatians 2:1-2 NRSV
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain.

Should we also do the same?

2 Corinthians 13:5 NRSV
Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!

What foundation of truth should we be built on?

Ephesians 2:19-22 NRSV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 NRSV
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.

Did the Father, Yahweh God say we must LISTEN to Christ, His son?

Mark 9:7 NRSV
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

Luke 9:35 NRSV
Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Are we going to LISTEN to who Jesus said the Father is? Who he said he is? What he said the gospel is? DOES IT MATTER IF WE DO OR NOT?

Do Christ’s sheep hear his voice?

John 10:27-28 NRSV
27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

If you don’t believe Christ are you his sheep?

John 10:26 NRSV
but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.

John 8:47 WEB
He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.”

Do some refuse to believe because of rebellion?

Isaiah 30:9-11
9 For they are a rebellious people, faithless children, children who will not hear the instruction of the Lord; 10 who say to the seers, “Do not see”; and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

John 8:45 NRSV
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

Jeremiah 7:26 NRSV
yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.

John 5:37-38 WEB
The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word living in you; for whom he sent, him you don’t believe.

Are we LISTENING or rebelling? Are we LISTENING to Christ and the scriptures?

Some didn’t believe the scriptures and some still don’t LISTEN!

John 5:46-47 WEB
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Acts 28:24 WEB
Some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

Some suppress the truth, and deceive themselves and others!

Roman 1:18 NRSV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

Rom 10:17 NRSV
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

James 1:22 ESV
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Matthew 4:4 ESV
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

But some accepted the truth eagerly and examined the scriptures carefully to establish whether it was true or false teaching!

Acts 17:10-12 NRSV
That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing.

How important is it that we believe the truth, rather than false teaching?

John 6:47 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

John 3:36 NRSV
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

John 5:24 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Mark 16:16 NRSV
The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.

Summary
We can see from the scriptures that it is essential to worship the true God in spirit and in truth, to receive, accept and believe the true God, the true Jesus and the true gospel he taught. Any old version of God, Jesus and the gospel will not do, men’s traditions will not do. We need to ensure that what we receive and believe and teach to others is the pure truth of Yahweh and His Messiah (Christ) Jesus.

So, does it matter what we believe about God, who He is and what He says? Does it make any difference ‘which Jesus’ we accept and trust in? Is it important which ‘gospel’ we receive? If what we preach or bear witness to is incorrect, is it a problem? According to God’s word, the answer is absolutely YES, IT DOES MATTER! We had better make sure that the doctrines we follow are God’s truth and not traditions and ideas of men.

What does it mean to be created in the image of God ? Pt 2

Previously we saw that Jesus is our gold standard of what “created in the image of God” looks like.

Hebrews 1:3 NSB
God’s Son is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his being.

Colossians 1:15 HCSB
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation;

Is Jesus the pioneer, the trailblazer for the rest of humanity?

See above and :

Hebrews 12:2 NRSV
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:29 RSV
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.

1 Corinthians 15:49 RSV
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Did Jesus have the fullness of God?

Colossians 1:19 NASB
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,

John 10:30 NRSV
The Father and I are one.

Are we to be filled with the fullness of God?

Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:9 RSV
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

Are we to have the fullness of Christ

Ephesians 4:13 RSV
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;

Colossians 2:8-10 NRSV
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.

Colossians 1:27 NRSV
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Is Christ to be formed in us?

Galatians 4:19
My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!

Philippians 2:5 NRSV
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

Did Paul say that Christ was living in him?

Galatians 2:20 NRSV
 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

As Christ has the fullness of God, we are to have the fullness of Christ and through Christ we are to have the fullness of God. Having this fullness is put this way in scripture:

John 14:20 NRSV
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

John 17:23 NRSV
I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Are we to be imitators of God?

Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Are we to be imitators of Christ?

1 Thessalonians 1:6 NRSV
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit,

2 Corinthians 11:1 NRSV
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ

Philippians 3:17 NRSV
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us

Romans 12:2 NRSV
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us

As we can see by imitating Paul, who was imitating Christ (who is the perfect image of God) we are imitating God.

If Christ is in us and we are in him, are we a new creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17 RSV
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

Is this “new creation” created in the likeness of God?

Ephesians 4:24 NRSV
and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NRSV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

Through this transformation we become “participants of the divine nature”

2Peter 1:3-4 NRSV
His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.

Are we to keep ourselves in the love of God

Jude 1:21 NASB
21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

John 14:23 RSV
Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

What did Christ say about “love of God” and “love of neighbour”.

Matthew 22:36-40 NRSV
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

John 14:21 RSV
He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 13:34 NRSV
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

1 John 4:12-16 RSV
No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

John 15:9-10 NRSV
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

I John 17:21-26 HCSB
21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. 23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation. 25 Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me. 26 I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.

Colossians 3:14 NASB
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

The above scripture tells us that “God is love” and that those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them

How do we demonstrate that we abide in the Father and Christ?

1 John 2:6 NRSV
whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked

Colossians 2:6 NASB
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

The word “walk” is translated from the Greek word “peripateó”, Strong’s number 4043

Definition: I walk, hence Hebraistically (in an ethical sense): I conduct my life, live.
So basically we are to conduct and live our lives as Christ our perfect example did.

The Father abiding in us and we abiding in the Father and Christ abiding in the Father and in us results in us becoming perfect/complete.

Matthew 5:48 WEB
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The word translated “perfect” is from the Greek word “ teleios” Strong’s number 5046

Definition: perfect, (a) complete in all its parts, (b) full grown, of full age,

Colossians 2:10 NASB
And in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

2 Corinthians 13:11 NASB
Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you

Summary

Christ is the “express” image of the Father. Christ is the gold standard and perfect example of what “being created in the image of God” looks like.

He has the “fullness of the Father” which is expressed in the statement that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Also expressed in the statement: The Father and I are one.

Christ is the pioneer and first born of the “new creation”. We are to be filled with the fullness of Christ and in so doing be filled with the fullness of the Father and participate in his divine nature.

By Christ abiding in the Father and Christ in us and us in him we abide in the Father. If we love Christ we love the Father and they will make their home (abode) and love us.

Christ is to be formed in us.

We demonstrate our love for Christ and the Father by obeying them by :

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

In future posts we will study how we are enabled to be “Created in the image of God”