August 22 I Sunday
1 Corinthians 5
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness…’” —Genesis 1:26
When we look at an image, we get some insight into the real thing that it portrays. When God created human beings in His image in the beginning, the image is not a physical image, but a moral image because God is not a physical being. God created human beings in such a way that we were designed to be a visible and physical expression of what God is like in His moral character. In other words, God intended for our lives, actions and reactions to reflect His moral character.
If we were a fly on the wall in the Garden of Eden, the way the first man, Adam, treated his wife, Eve, would have showed us what God is like: kind, gentle and patient. But of course, something went tragically wrong, Paul tells us, “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned...” (Romans 5:12). Our sinful nature separated us from the life of God and spilled into the breakdown of our relationships and behaviour. We have jealousy and murder, which was evident in the first child of Adam and Eve, who became jealous of his brother and murdered him. The tragic consequences of that are with us right down to today. Human beings were created to portray the truth about God, but when we sin, our lives tell lies about what God is like.
Suppose somebody asked us, “What is God like?” Would we be able to answer, “If you want to know what God is like, just follow me around for a week—shadow me, watch me, listen to the things I say, see how I spend my money and treat my spouse. Watch me in the privacy of my secret life. If you follow me for a week, I guarantee to you that by the end of this week, you will know exactly what God is like?” Probably not. Now, what does that say about us? We are sinners and, apart from Christ, our lives cannot tell others the truth about God.
But Paul encourages us, “[He] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Ephesians 2:5). We portray the character of God not by imitating God, but by God Himself being active in us. Paul prays, “…that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…” (Philippians 1:9-11). His presence in us is the means by which His image—His moral character—is seen through us.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for creating me in Your image. I pray that my life may be a true portrayal of Your moral character as You actively live in me.