A Devotion for 25 June 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1:26-28
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
There is a subtle reference in the very first verse of the Bible (Gen 1:1) to the Trinity, Elohim being a plural form of a singular entity – an idiosyncrasy of the Hebrew language. We have no comparable noun in English. But Elohim refers to the Triune God in wholeness. In his book, “Trinity in the Universe,” Dr. Nathan R. Wood, former President of Gordon College, gives a detailed account of how the Triune God is evidenced in Time, Space, and Matter. All the universe is comprised of elements of three’s – without either one of which there could be nothing but nothingness. For example, we learned in elementary geometry that a point in space is nothing more than a reference point having no substance. But two points in space describe a line – one dimension. Three points in space describe a plane – still without substance. But four non-linear points in space describe a three-dimensional space. This space may be comprised of spatial ether, or of any description of matter common to nature. There can be no material object without these three dimensions. Though a brick has three dimensions, it is still one brick.
The above example also applies to the Triune God. He is three-dimensional in His nature and Being. There is no Triune God without Christ, or the Holy Ghost, or the Father. These three are distinct, but ONE. The great difference is this: the dimensions of our God are infinite in all directions. The width, depth, and height cannot be measured for they are infinite comprehending all the physical Universe and more.
But God made man in His own Image. What does this mean? There is much disparagement of images today. We have military and political statuary that is intended to reflect the most perfect likeness of the person of whom it is made to commemorate. Yet, it is only an image and not the original. There are movements of unbridled hatred today that attempts to destroy these monuments of our nation’s past glory. The images are marred, or even pulled down in an attempt to erase the political memory and principles of a people. Those who seek to demolish monuments of a nation and to destroy private property inherit that sinful inclination from their father the devil. They are simply imitating their father.
Man was a glorious image of His God at the early dawn of Creation at Eden. He was created sinless and given dominion over the Garden and the many wonderful animals and foliage of the Garden. The Lord communed with the couple, Adam and Eve, in the Garden – what an unparalleled privilege! But there was another personage in the Garden whose heart was filled with hate for the beautiful Creation God had made. The personage was the fallen Lucifer who held a special animosity toward the man, God’s crowning creature of His Creation. The image of man (after the likeness of God) was beautiful both in physical features and in personality. Like the iconoclasts of our own day, Satan resolved to mar that image – and he did so by appealing to the pride of Eve.
So, man no longer bears that perfect likeness to his Maker. That image was marred in Eden. It was not Satan’s intent to merely mar that image, but to pull it from its pedestal and destroy it. But the Creator intervened. He was not surprised at the fall of Adam and Eve. In fact, He who knows all things, knew that man would not be able, by his own merits, to live sinlessly. He, therefore, provided a sacrificial Lamb from before the foundation of the world to cover the sins of our primitive parents – the federal head of the human race. That Lamb of God, was predestined from before the foundation of the world to restore the image which Satan had marred. Our Lord Jesus Christ was more than a mere image of the Father, He was the very issue and substance of the Father. “1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” Hebrew 1:1-5
The righteousness of man is as filthy rags. He is dead in trespasses and sin (Eph 2). He can do nothing to save himself from his awful predicament; however, Christ has come to redeem from that marred image – to impute His righteousness to every one of His elect so that they enter the Holy Gate with that imputed righteousness and not the old filthy rags of their own works and choices. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6 Like the statues of our historic statesmen whose images have been toppled from their high alters, the marred image of man cannot lift himself up and restore his Edenic image. Only the sinless blood of Christ would suffice to cleanse that marred image and restore it to the chosen community of God the Father.
An early picture of the great Sacrifice of the lamb of God was given in Eden when God found it necessary to kill one of His beautiful creatures to provide a covering for the nakedness (sins) of Adam and Eve. He loved that creature, but even more, He must have felt revulsion at the sin that made such a death necessary. It represented another innocent Lamb that would be sacrificed for our own sins in the fulness of time. That Lamb, being the ‘express image’ in the Person of the Father – an image that was not superficial, but the very substance of the Father. He was the only Begotten of the Father – not the ‘one and only son’ as modern apostate Bibles aver NIV, ESV, Jehovah Witness bible, etc. “14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The image of our Lord is coin of the realm – authentic, pure and complete. How is He different as the only Begotten Son from His elect who are also sons and daughters? Our Lord is God in the second Person of the Trinity. He is of the same substance and issue of the Father having His exact image and likeness, character and personality. We, on the other hand, are not natural children of God. Our image has been marred by sin. We are children by means of adoption. He has chosen us to be His children by adoption through the agency of His Son who purchased our salvation by mercy and grace of the crucifixion – not negating the law, but fulfilling the judicial requirements thereof.
Being the ‘express image of the Father’ the image of our Lord makes known to us the nature and Being of the Father. A counterfeit bill may appear to be an express image, but it falls short either in artwork, paper, or quality. But the true image is the genuine currency of the Kingdom. How shall we know the counterfeit from the genuine?
Bank tellers handled thousands of bills a day. Yet, they are not taught the images of the counterfeit – they are taught to recognize the genuine so well that any imitation will be immediately detected. The same is true of the Gospel faith. If we learn of the Word to such accomplishment that we have an intimate knowledge of the Lord that is represented wholly by the Word, we will immediately recognize and imposter whose lies reveal the counterfeit that he is.