“The New Self, Which is in the Likeness of God” (12/16)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Ephesians 1-6.

In the beginning, man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This did not mean that man’s physical appearance was like that of God. “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and does not have a flesh and blood body like we do. Man was made in God’s image in the sense that he had a spirit that would live on after his physical body went to the grave. In this way, man was distinguished from the animals (Ecclesiastes 3:21).

However, there is another sense in which man can be in the likeness of God. Christians are not just to be distinguished from the animals, as all men are, but are to be different from the world. Notice what Paul told the brethren in Ephesus:

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, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which is in the likeness of God and has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

When one becomes a Christian and puts off his old “body of sin” (Romans 6:6), he becomes a new man in Christ (Romans 6:4; Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). But instead of simply being in God’s image in the sense that he has a spirit, as all men do, his “new self…is in the likeness of God” in the sense that he takes on the characteristics of God.

Christians must conform themselves to the image of God – “in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” We must strive to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) and perfect as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

Tomorrow’s reading: Philippians 1-4

[I’m using the Chronological reading plan on the Bible Gateway website if you’d like to follow along, too.]

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