Man was created in the image and likeness of God

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… Then God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26, 27

The Eternal God created the first man and the first woman in his image and after his likeness. Since God is a spirit, the image and likeness referred to here does not refer to a visible likeness, but to a spiritual likeness. We learn from this image of God in the New Testament.

Colossians 3:10 says of the new man or new nature among Christians, that he “is renewed in knowledge in the image of him that created him”. Ephesians 4:24 says of this same new nature that it “is created after God in righteousness and true holiness.”

Therefore, we see that the image of God is to know God and His perfect will and also to be truly righteous and holy. Adam and Eve were created with perfect knowledge of God and His will, and at first had only holy and pure thoughts, desires, words, and deeds.

Of course, the fall, recorded in Genesis 3, changed all that and God’s image was lost! Man’s knowledge and understanding of God and his perfect will has become obscured so that he now has his own ideas and beliefs about God and even worships and serves the creature (what God created) rather than the Creator.

Instead of being holy and righteous and fully devoted to the service of Almighty God, man has turned inward and focused on himself, his desires and ambitions and lives in disobedience and rebellion against the holy commandments of God.

In believers, those who recognize their state of absolute sinners and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for their salvation, the image of God is restored. They have a new nature, created in them by God the Holy Spirit, which is “renewed in knowledge in the image of Him who created them”, a nature which “after God is created in righteousness and true holiness “. Them, “with their faces uncovered, contemplating as in a glass [a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

But believers in Jesus will not attain sinless perfection here in this world. They will not perfectly reflect the glory of the Lord. The Bible clearly tells us that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8); and we are encouraged to confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ and because of his atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity…if any sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:9; 2:1-2).

And, when the last day comes, all who have put their trust in Jesus Christ will be resurrected with a perfect knowledge of God and in perfect righteousness and holiness.

The scriptures speak of this when they say, “As for me, I will see your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I wake up with your likeness” (Psalm 17:15); “Beloved, we are now sons of God, and what we will be does not yet appear; but we know that when he appears we will be like him, for we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2); and “For now we see through glass, in darkness; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I will know as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

And so, dear friend, you and I were created in the image of God, created to know God and his perfect will, and created to serve God in accordance with his will and purpose. Adam’s sin took away this image of God from all of us. Instead of reflecting the holiness and righteousness of God our Creator, we have each gone our own way, seeking to satisfy our own fallen and sinful nature and to glorify ourselves. God’s image was lost and we were born into this world dead in our trespasses and sins and under the wrath of God (cf. Eph. 2:1-3).

In Jesus Christ, God’s own beloved Son made man, God has provided a sacrifice for our sins and offers us forgiveness and forgiveness through faith in the Son. God the Holy Spirit, working through the good news of forgiveness in Christ, regenerates us, brings us to faith in Christ, and then works in our lives to restore the image and glory of God that we have lost. And, when Christ returns and the dead are resurrected, then all who have placed their hope in him will reflect his image and serve him in eternal righteousness and holiness!

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that my life does not perfectly reflect Your holiness or Your glory. Wash away my sins in your shed blood and create in me a new heart and a new nature that loves you, seeks your will and lives for your glory. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] Moll’s other devotional writings can be freely read or heard at The opinions expressed are those of the author.]

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