The vast majority of Christians believe that man is in the image of God. Man WAS made in the image of God in the creation but is fallen man still a bearer of God’s image?
Emphatically NOT. Christ said of the unbelieving Jews,” Ye are of your father, the devil.” Is Satan in God’s image or his children? Fallen man has taken on the image of Satan and has nothing left of God’s image, not even an eternal soul, rationality, conscience or a will which the fallen angels still possess. Many large and well-known Christian organisations such as Answers in Genesis, the Christian Institute and Christian Concern (in the UK) believe in the sanctity of life BECAUSE man is in the image of God STILL. Not true! The image of God Scripture tells us consists knowledge (of God), righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24, Col.3:10), this fallen man does not possess. Life is sacred because of man’s original dignity.This message deals with all the relevant passages:
Jesus did say “Judge not, lest ye be judged” but he was there speaking of hypocritical judging, in another place he said this:
Having finished Owen’s “Communion with God” I propose to read and summarize his treatise on the Mortification of Sin based on Romans 8:13. It can be read in full here:
There is now a flier to advertise the book: click on link
Why must we be holy?
- HONOUR. It is by holiness that we are made like unto God, and his image is renewed again in us. This was our honour at our creation, this exalted us above all our fellow-creatures here below. This we lost by sin. To this honour, of conformity to God, of bearing his image, are we exalted again by holiness alone. “Be ye holy,” says God, “for I am holy,” 1 Pet. 1: 16; and, “Be ye perfect” (that is, in doing good), “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” Matt. 5: 48, — in a likeness and conformity to him. And herein is the image of God renewed; Eph. 4: 23, 24, therein we “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” This was that which originally was attended with power and dominion; — is still all that is beautiful or comely in the world. How it makes men honourable and precious in the sight of God, of angels, of men;
- PEACE.By it we have communion with God, wherein peace alone is to be enjoyed. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest;” and, “There is no peace” to them, “saith my God,” Isa. 57:20]. There is no peace, rest, or quietness, in a distance, separation, or alienation from God. He is the rest of our souls. In the light of his countenance is life and peace. Now, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another,” 1 John 1: 7; “and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” verse 3.
- USEFULNESS. A man without holiness is good for nothing. “Ephraim,” says the prophet, “is an empty vine, that brings forth fruit to itself” And what is such a vine good for? Nothing. Saith another prophet, “A man cannot make so much as a pin of it, to hang a vessel on.” A barren tree is good for nothing, but to be cut down for the fire. Notwithstanding the seeming usefulness of men who serve the providence of God in their generations, I could easily manifest that the world and the church might want them, and that, indeed, in themselves they are good for nothing.
Adapted from John Owen “Communion with God”.
Isaiah’s vision of the thrice holy God (Isaiah 6)
Why is holiness (sanctification) an absolute necessity in the new covenant?
1.The highway of holiness which is eternal life, leads to everlasting life in glory and it is the way appointed of God for us to walk in for the obtaining of salvation. So he that has hope of eternal life purifies himself, as he is pure: and none shall ever come to that end who walketh not in that way; for without holiness it is impossible to please or see God.
- It is a testimony and pledge of adoption,a sign and evidence of grace; that is, of
acceptation with God.
- It is the whole expression of our thankfulness.
The saints cordially approve of our righteousness (Christ’s imputed), justification, as that alone which is absolutely complete, and able to make them acceptable before God. And this supposeth six things:—
TBC (Adapted from Communion with God by John Owen)
“And because the number of the saints is gathered by no preceding merits, as was said, but only by the gratuitous will of God concerning such, correctly John, about to write to the seven churches which are located in Asia, puts forth the heading of his greeting, saying: Grace to you and peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:4-5). For, grace is said to be something that has been given freely, not something paid as a reward, but something conferred freely through kindness. For, when this grace shined within us, we, from enemies were led back to friendship with our Creator, from ungodly were made godly, and from servants of sin were adopted as children of righteousness. Every day we are illuminated by this preceding grace so that we may be able to see where we should place our step regarding good work. We are guarded by subsequent grace so that in the end we are not bitten by a serpent in the heel. By this grace we are incited to good work, but having been incited, unless that grace supports what it has incited, we are unable to complete that same work. On this Paul says: The will is present with me, but to do good I do not find (Rom. 7:18). Accordingly, therefore, the will that is present with you, is only because you received it by grace, as you yourself said in another passage: What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7) Therefore, just as the will was present with Paul because he received this very thing by grace, so he did not find it to do good unless that very grace, which gave him the will, supported it. Accordingly also, the same Apostle says again: It is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). For, John, Peter, and Paul, when they were about to write to believers, put forth this grace in the heading of their greetings in their writings.”
Ambrose Autpert (730-784), Expositio in Apocalypsin. On Rev 1:3
Thanks Andy Underhill (USA)
Part 3 of Owen’s treatise
The Holy Spirit is the agent in mortification (Rom.8:13): He it is who takes away of the stony heart, Ezek. 11:19, 36:26, “I will give my Spirit, and take away the stony heart;” “Without Christ we can do nothing,” John 15:5. All actings of any grace whatever, from him, are by the Spirit, by whom he alone works in and upon believers. As per Acts 5:31 he grants repentance of which mortification is no small portion. Having “received the promise of the Holy Ghost,” he sends him abroad for that end, Acts 2:33.
All self-denying religious acts, like many indulged in by Romanists, Hindu monks and fanatical Muslims are useless and impotent in mortification because NOT in the Bible.
So states Christ in Luke 6:27.
Helen Berhane who was imprisoned and tortured for her faith in Eritrea shares this exhortation.
The love of God shed abroad in our hearts enables us to do what is otherwise humanly impossible-to love our enemies.
” Every good gift that comes to us comes as a gift from our amazing Father in heaven. Sharing in the sufferings of Christ always brings us deeper into fellowship with Jesus-and for this gift we must be thankful.”
“Here is a great mystery: when we respond to hatred with the love of God , it sets us free!”
Can you guess what we are freed from? Free from slavery to fear, revenge and hatred.
” It enables us to be free even when in prison.”
“God so loved the world that he sent his son into the world to die for those who would hate him, harm him and ultimately put him to death.” AMAZING!
” There may be some who chose to hate me and harm me because I am a Christian-but God’s love complels me to do them good.”
AMAZING POWER OF GRACE!
Brothers and sisters reading this. May this be our experience too as it is soon coming our way!