Do you know what it means to be “made in the image of God“? Recently, while beginning my study of the Bible chronologically, I found myself wondering what exactly it means to be “made in the image of God“.
God’s Word tells us in Genesis 1:27, that we are “made in the image of God“.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
What exactly does that mean? What does the “image of God” look like? How can we become more like Him while waiting for Jesus’ return?
What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
My first step towards discovering what the “image of God” was brought me to my Cruden’s Concordance. This is one of the most precious gifts I received from my parents as a teenager. A gift that my children use as well.
Romans 8:29 was the first Scripture that truly spoke to my heart regarding this particular study.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three in one. They are all the same, yet have different functions. So, being “conformed to the image of his Son”, applies to this study of the “image of God”.
I have a physical and digital copy of Matthew Henry’s commentaries. They are my favorite Bible study resource and my hardbound copies belonged to my grandfather, making them a prized possession.
Matthew Henry says this about Romans 8:29.
Holiness consists in our conformity to the image of Christ. This takes in the whole of sanctification, of which Christ is the great pattern and sampler. To be spirited as Christ was, to walk and live as Christ did, to bear our sufferings patiently as Christ did. Christ is the express image of his Father, and the saints are conformed to the image of Christ…It is not we that can conform ourselves to Christ. Our giving ourselves to Christ takes rise in God’s giving us to him; and, in giving us to him, he predestinated us to be conformable to his image.
Did you catch that? It is “our giving ourselves to Christ”.
In order to be “conformable to his image”, we must first give ourselves to Christ.
The first step, I believe, is that of receiving the free gift of salvation. Followed by continually offering ourselves to Christ, on a daily basis, to become more like Him…to be “made in his image”.
I tend to be a doer. Think of me as Martha, longing to be Mary. Driven by the knowledge that someone has to get things done and yet, filled with the desire to just be able to sit at Jesus’ feet, but unable to just be.
While I wholeheartedly believe that salvation is a gift, not earned through good works. I do believe that as Christians, we are known by our fruit, the works that we complete while here on earth.
In James 2 we read…
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my work. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
This Martha girl, needed to know specifics regarding the “image of God”, so that she could offer herself daily to Christ, knowing towards what she needed to be working to become more like Him!
What does the “image of God” look like?
When you think of God what do you “see”? After all, an image is something we see.
In thinking about what God looks like to me, everything He has done in my life came to mind. His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness are what turned the ashes of my life into beauty. That led me to research God’s attributes.
The attributes of God are what I think of when I “see” God. He is all things good and it is my heart’s desire to be just like Jesus.
Attributes of God
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1 John 4:8
What is love? It is more than a feeling. The Bible tells us that love is…
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 1 John 5:20
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God… Revelation 3:14
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us… Ephesians 2:4
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 8:12
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Psalm 103:8
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. John 12:26
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
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… Colossians 1:27
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:11
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance… Galatians 5:22-23
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14
God’s Word tells us that He is performing a good work in us and that He won’t stop until He’s completed it.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ… Philippians 1:6
I believe that the “good work” that He is performing is to ensure we are “made in His image”, which will be completed when we join Him in heaven.
While this could allow me to just live out my days, knowing that it will be completed no matter what I do. I find myself longing to be more like Jesus today. Not tomorrow.
In order for me to become more like Jesus this side of glory, I must “give myself” as Matthew Henry says to the Lord each day. Offering myself willingly to be made into His image.
Upon offering myself to God each day, a vessel willing to be molded, I must strive daily to keep the attributes of God foremost in my mind and heart.
Only when I remember all the things that God is to me, can I take steps to be more like Him in my everyday life on earth.
When spending time with my loved ones, I desire for them to see Jesus in me.
I can not imagine a more beautiful reflection of myself than being made into the image of God.