In His Image
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB
The Work of the Holy Spirit
One last point to grasp in this whole idea of being image bearers as God’s purpose in our salvation is that this is the work of the Holy Spirit in us through regeneration and our ongoing practical sanctification.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – 17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB
Not only were we created generally like God in our human nature in the first creation with Adam, but when we were powerfully born again by the Holy Spirit in regeneration, we were created more specifically like Him as a new creation in Christ. And now being in Christ, or having union with Christ, we have been fashioned like Him in such a way that His divine life and nature have been re-created in us (re-genesis…regeneration), delivering us from the power of sin and death under which we became slaves in the fall. In this new liberty from sin and death, God is powerfully working in us by the Holy Spirit to fashion us in His likeness so that we become image bearers in much greater degree and intensity. This process in us is what we call practical or progressive sanctification. This powerful sanctification by the Spirit is an essential part of salvation and the outworking of our election and regeneration in our everyday life.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 – 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. NASB
1 Peter 1:1-2 – 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. NASB
Titus 3:5-7 – 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. NASB
Consider how the New Testament describes this image bearing as God’s very purpose in saving us. It speaks of us being “conformed to the image of His Son” as the chief reason for our predestination, election and calling in salvation, that we would be a people to the “praise of the glory of His grace!”
Romans 8:28-30 – 28 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. 29 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; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. NASB
Ephesians 1:3-7 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. NASB
Ephesians 1:11-12 – 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. NASB
Here, the salvation of the saints is seen to be “predestined according to God’s purpose,” but notice that this is not God’s highest purpose. Oh no, here it says that the predestination of salvation is “to the end that we……should be to the praise of His glory!” And this purpose of God is being powerfully worked and fulfilled in us through our union with Christ by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The New Testament explicitly connects this purpose in salvation as the work of the Holy Spirit in causing us to bear God’s image, having already, past tense, been “created like God” in regeneration. As new creations in Christ, He has created us in His image and likeness, and we are now becoming in practice what we already are in reality, children of God fashioned after the image of our Father and His Son Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:45-49 – 45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. NASB
Ephesians 4:22-24 – 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. NASB
Colossians 3:10-11 – 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him 11 — a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. NASB
Consider how the Scripture speaks of our “being transformed” progressively into God’s image from “glory to glory” because we have been created like Him already.
2 Corinthians 3:18 – 8 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. NASB
See in these Scriptures how the very work of the Holy Spirit in salvation is to not only powerfully re-create us in regeneration, but also to powerfully transform us in progressive sanctification, causing us to be conformed to the image of Christ practically throughout our life.
When He is finished with the work of progressive Sanctification, the process of conforming us to His image practically, we shall ultimately take on His image in much fullness and be “like Him” at the resurrection, on the day of Glory! We call this glorification.
1 John 3:2-3 – 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. NASB
Philippians 3:20-21 – 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. NASB
1 Corinthians 15:50-54 – 50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. NASB
This is the eternal state, to experience the fullness of the glory of God (as receptors) and to sing forth the praises of His glory as an overflow of the enjoyment of His Goodness (as reflectors).
If you would like to know how to know Jesus Christ and be ransomed from your sins and receive eternal life….. have a look at these links below that explain the Gospel…..
What is the Gospel? by JI Packer
An excellent overview of the Christian Gospel.
Defining the Gospel
A brief and concise overview of Gospel Basics.
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Pastor Shaan Sloan
Christ’s Servant at
Heritage Christian Fellowship
11104 Menaul Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87112
The Lord is the Strength of My Life