February 17 I Wednesday
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” —Ephesians 4:22-24
How then is the moral law determined? Do we decide what it is purely by consensus, where whatever holds the majority is the determiner of whether or not something is right or wrong? Or is there a more fundamental sense of what is right and wrong?
In the Gospel of Mark, a rich young man came to Jesus and said, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responds, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good—except God alone” (Mark 10:17-18). From Jesus’s answer, He points to what is good, which is only God. In other words, if something is consistent with God and His character, it is good, but if something is not consistent with His character, it is not good. There is a moral absolute and it is the moral character of God.
We were created to display God’s moral character, which is the meaning behind Genesis 1:26, when God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness....” Theologians have debated frequently what is the nature of that image. We can perceive it as “incommunicable” and “communicable” attributes.
“Incommunicable attributes” are things certain about God that we know are not true about human beings. For instance, God is omnipotent—He is all powerful, but we are not. God is omniscient—He knows everything, but we do not. God is omnipresent—He is everywhere, but we are not. God is immutable—He does not change, but we do. God is eternal—He has no beginning and no end, but we have a beginning. These attributes about God have nothing to do with the image in which human beings were created. Instead, we take on “communicable attributes” of God; things that are true about God that are being made to be true about human beings. For instance, God is love and we are to be loving. God is just and we are to act justly. God is merciful and we are to be merciful. God is kind and we are to be kind. These communicable attributes of God are the image of God in which we are created to be.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam was intended to be a visible expression of the moral character of God. But something tragic happened: the first human beings disobeyed God by sinning, and from that moment on, fell short of His image. Yet, the marvellous event is that God sent His Son to redeem us of our sinfulness, as Paul tells us, “All are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Because of Jesus, we can once again reflect God’s communicable attributes.
Prayer: Heavenly Lord God, thank You for Your Son Jesus who not only revealed Your moral character, but also allowed me to become who I am created to be through Him. Praise You!