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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

We Were Made in the Image of God



< Genesis 1:24-31 >

“Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food’; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”



Today’s Scripture passage describes the sixth day of the creation of the heavens and the earth. Chapter one of the Book of Genesis provides a broad blueprint for God’s plan that allows us to see the plan in its entirety. And it foretells God’s completion of this design.

Our God created mankind for His glory, so that we should be to the praise of His glory. As Genesis 2:1 says, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished,” with His work on the sixth day, God completed everything He sought to do.

On the sixth day, as God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind,” it was done as He commanded. As God made animals of the earth, He saw that it was good. After making all the cattle, beasts, and creepy things of the earth according to each kind, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”



Mankind Was Made in God’s Image

What is God’s image? On the last day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” This implies how God would make us His children.

Until the fifth day of the creation of the heavens and the earth, God had made the sun, the moon, the stars in the heavens, aquatic creatures such as fish, and birds in the sky. And on the sixth day of creation God made all the land-dwelling animals, from cattle to creepy things to the beasts of the earth. After this, our God now wanted to make His children to live in the Garden of Eden.

When God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” He truly wanted to make mankind in His image and likeness. This image of God refers to the children of God who are completely sinless before Him. So, put differently, God wanted to make holy people on this earth—that is, the righteous.

My fellow believers, for what purpose did God make us humans? God first prepared our Savior for us, then on the last day He wanted to make us His children, and He did indeed make us. God says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him.” To make us conform to the image of God through the salvation of Jesus Christ was the very purpose for which God made us. So we are God’s craftsmanship made in His likeness.

The masterpiece of all the creatures made by God is none other than mankind, created in the image of God. That God made human beings, who are no more than mere creatures, as His own children in the likeness of His divine attributes is God’s providence. God first made the whole universe and then He made Adam on the very last day of creation. On this last day God made the masterpiece of all masterpieces, and this was none other than mankind, whom God made righteous and sinless according to His image and His likeness, and turned into God’s children to partake in His divine attributes, all through redemption in Jesus Christ. This is the Truth.

When the Bible says, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished,” it indicates the fact that our God made us on the last day. On the sixth day of the creation of the heavens and the earth, God made mankind, but He did so only after making everything else. Moreover, God did not just make mankind like all other creatures, but He made it according to His image, according to “Our likeness.”

What, then, does it mean that God created human beings in His image? It means that as God has no sin, He made mankind sinless; as God is righteous, He made mankind righteous; and as God is King, He made human beings as His sinless and righteous children, so that they may succeed the authority of His Kingship.



We Are the Masterpiece of God’s Creation

We have received the remission of our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel of the righteousness of God. That we have received the remission of our sins is the very reflection of our creation by God, made according to His image and likeness. God made mankind in the likeness of His image on the last day of creation, on its sixth day.

When we consider ourselves carefully, we can realize that we are the masterpiece of all God’s masterpieces. God made the whole universe, and of all the creatures of this world, He chose you and me, the born-again, and made us His own children, so that we may rule over the universe. Having been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have now been made God’s children by God Himself.

It is absolutely not true that we appeared on the planet earth by accident through mutation, as claimed by the theory of evolution, which is nothing more than a man-made hypothesis. The fact that we are living in harmony with all other creatures, and that we were born as God’s children who inherited the right to rule over them, can never be described as a mere coincidence. This is something that was achieved according to God’s plan established at the very beginning. God made us, and according to His image, He made us sinless and holy.

It is not through our own effort and change that we become God’s children, but it is according to how God had already planned in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that we are turned into the born-again righteous, reigning and ruling over everything in the world. This is God’s doing, not ours. God Himself made us through Jesus Christ. None other than this is what is meant by the fact that God created us according to His image.

God wanted to make us His children, and it is according to this will that He created us on the last day. With what kind of plan did God make us humans? God did not make the universe and everything in it without any plan. Everything in the universe was created by God to give to His children. God made human beings according to His image to make them His children. This is the purpose for which God made mankind. Even though human beings are no more than mere creatures, God made them sinless, and thereby turned them into His own children with real sovereign power.  So, considering this, we the born-again may be described as the greatest masterpiece of all God’s creation.

Can a human being make another human being? Of course not. As creatures, we belong to God’s creation, but because we are actually God’s sons and daughters, we are not just in the universe, but we are standing over it. So we need to realize what an amazing and great grace it is that out of all His creatures, God chose us to be made His children.

How were we made? God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” and God was pleased to have made mankind. It is God who made us.

As what kind of beings did God make us? He made us as His children. Since God Himself says that He made human beings His own children, does this then mean you are also Gods’ children? Of course! You are not just ordinary human beings, but you are God’s children. People routinely say that mankind is the “master of all creation,” but in fact, we are God’s children who have come to partake in His divine attributes.

“Can mere creatures dare to be placed in the same position as the Creator?” Some may question like this. No, this does not mean that we, mere creatures, should be so arrogant and presumptuous that we would covet God’s place. Rather, we have become God’s children because God had already made us so by creating mankind according to His image from the very beginning, and because we believe in this. This was made possible all because the Almighty God had already made us as His children from the foundation of the world through Jesus Christ, and because He has given the same authority and glory as His to those who know this and believe in it. God made us according to His image.



We Are to the Praise of God’s Glory

God’s work is truly amazing. If we realize the fact that God made us according to His image, we can also realize why Satan is trying to challenge God on this earth and cover His glory. And we can also grasp the reason why we must give thanks to God everyday and praise Him wholeheartedly.

The purpose for which God created us is explained in Ephesians 1:12: “That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Herein lies the very purpose for which God made us—“that we… should be to the praise of His glory.”

What, then, does it mean that God made us so that we “should be to the praise of His glory”? It means that God allowed us, who are no more than creatures, to put on the image of the Son of God. This is none other than God’s glory. In other words, God has clothed us with His own glory. It is because God has clothed us with His glory that we are praising Him, to return this glory back to God again. It is to thank God for the grace that has allowed us to put on His glory that we give praise to God.

The purpose of His creation is “That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” On the sixth day of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, He made us according to His image and likeness. Since God turned us, mere creatures, into His own children, this means that God has clothed us in boundless glory. None other than you and I have put on this glory of God. It is you and I, who know that God made us according to His image just like Himself, for His glory and by His love and grace, that have put on the glory of God and should be to His praise.

God made us by giving Himself up. That is how we have put on the glory of this grace, and we have become no less than God’s own children partaking in His divine attributes (2 Peter 1:4), no longer being mere creatures. It’s because God has thus clothed us with His splendor and glory that Ephesians 1:12 says we “should be to the praise of His glory.” We need to realize just how glorious and splendid we have become, now that we have received the remission of our sins from God.

A psalmist says, “A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20). Why is this the case? It is not to live in vain that God sent us to be born from the womb of our mothers and carry on with our lives in this world.

Yet despite this, people do not realize their original selves, constantly mourning about how wretched their lives are. They complain bitterly, lamenting, “My life is worse than a beast! Why was I born on this earth?” However, our God absolutely did not make us so that we would live like this, born in vain only to return to a handful of dust without any purpose.

By clothing us with His glory, God has made us His own sons and daughters. God made us in His own image and clothed us in His glory, so that we would praise the glory of God the Father forever. This is why God made us. God created us and made us be born on this earth so that we would praise God for His Sovereignty and glory all over the universe that He made.

How amazing it is! We knew nothing, and we were no more than mere creatures, helpless and powerless. Yet now that we are in the Lord, how have we changed? We have put on glory in the Lord, we are now living in Him, and we have been made to be the praise of the glory of God. God has made us give glory to Him. Of the countless creatures that God made, God is so rejoiced to see us the born-again, and we can only thank God for His grace and praise Him.

Our glory is such that even angels desire it. Even angels wish for the grace of God bestowed on us, wondering, “How have human beings become God’s children? How do they conform to the image of God?” At first, God made us slightly lowlier than angels, but His plan was to recreate us according to His image and likeness.

When we begin worship service, we always sing hymns praising God. Our praise is different from the ritualistic praise given by the religionists of the world. With our lips we praise God for clothing us in glory, and for bestowing us with His love and grace through His glorious light. To praise God, who is our glory, and to praise Him for clothing us with this glory of His, we part our lips and exalt Him for everything He has done. This is what praise is all about. This is the proper praise that we give. It is our hearts that praise God out loud. It is with our hearts, coming together into a single heart, that we praise our God for what He has done for us.

Therefore, when we praise, we shouldn’t just sing thoughtlessly. We should remember what kind of glory our God has bestowed on us. We must remember that God has made us His children, clothed us with glory and splendor, and made us dwell in everlasting life. When we praise, it should be in remembrance of the glory that God has clothed us.



God Has Redeemed Us from All Our Sins

What God did on the sixth day is so amazing! After making the heavens and the earth and everything in this world, God did something truly marvelous, and we cannot help but praise Him for this work.

What amazing work did God do to His people on the fifth day? My fellow believers, on the fifth day, God told us how we could live by faith, and He told us that He has made it possible for our faith to grow and for us to live by faith. What God did on the fifth day is also so amazing! God has given us great faith, like wings, so that we may live by faith after being born again. God has made us the righteous to soar above the earth of this world and fly across the firmament of the heavens.

There is no way for those who are not born again to live by faith. They cannot survive once they leave this earth. In contrast, for us the born-again, though we are living on this earth, our earthly lives are not our real lives, but we live heavenly lives and do heavenly works by faith. In other words, it is not the earthly life that we the born-again righteous people live, but it is the heavenly life.

This means that those who have now been born again should no longer live for the things of the earth that would perish away, but live a spiritual life by faith with everlasting life in sight. God has made us the people of faith, so that by trusting in God, we would freely enjoy the dominion of His Son and do His righteous work.

Ephesians 1:14 says, “Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” God has redeemed His purchased possession! My fellow believers, through Jesus Christ, God has gained us as His children. God the Father made us according to His image. By redeeming us, God took us in as His own children.

In other words, once our God saved us, He began to reign over us completely. We can never escape from His hands of redemption. We can never depart from God’s glory. God leads the born-again, His people, and reigns over them wholly, so that He would never again lose us to the Devil.

Ephesians 1:5-6 describes the purpose for which God created us. It is written, “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” The reason why God made us His sons and daughters is so that we would be, “according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

God has made us His children. By His grace God has remitted us from our sins. Through Jesus Christ God has washed away all our sins as white as snow. So that there may be no more sacrifice for sin, no more reason to receive the remission of sin again, God has saved us completely and perfectly. It is written, “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18). That Jesus Christ has saved us by His grace means that Jesus Christ has made us His children.

“To the praise of the glory of His grace.” We praise our God for being such a God of love and mercy. He is such a God of grace that He has bestowed us with so much of His abundant grace, loved us so perfectly, clothed us with His grace so completely, and bestowed His own glory on us so flawlessly—and we praise Him for all this. It is to make us praise God—His grace, His glory, and His love—that God has saved us, so that we may exalt Him high above. So when we raise our voices to praise God’s glory, God is so pleased to have made us and saved us.

It is you and I who are to reveal the glory of God on this earth. It is the born-again who are to proclaim God’s glory. Our God created mankind on the last day of creation, making a man and a woman, and our God blessed them. He gave them dominion over all creation, saying to them, “Rule over everything on the earth.” When God made us, He did not make us merely as ordinary creatures like everything else. Fundamentally speaking, God made human beings as His divine sons and daughters in the likeness of His own image, thus clothing them in His glory. Tragically, however, countless people still remain oblivious to this, living in this world in vain only to perish away so wretchedly.



What Is a Spiritual Life?

My fellow believers, have you lived a spiritual life? When we live a spiritual life, we can realize how God has glorified us. It is after being born again that we begin to live a spiritual life. What, then, is this spiritual life? It is to live by faith for God, for the gospel and the Truth, ruling over the things of the earth. Once you and I, the born-again, have the belief that “God is making us live for His righteous work,” then from then on our hearts are strengthened, and from then on God entrusts us with His work so that we may do the work of righteousness and fulfill spiritual ministries. In other words, God has entrusted us with spiritual, righteous ministries. As we do the Lord’s work and live our lives for the Lord, it is through this that the glory of God’s grace is manifested, and God Himself is glorified by us.

Our God is glorified when He hears our praise. And God is also glorified through the spreading of this gospel that we do, through the lives that we live, and through everything that we do. It is through our faith that God’s glory and authority are manifested, His power is revealed, and His divinity is proclaimed.

Satan is the fallen angel whose arrogance led him to his downfall. Challenging God, the Devil said, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). However, God drove out this angel from His Kingdom, cast out the other angels that followed him as well, and then created mankind in the likeness of His image. That’s why even angels, seeing human beings made according to the image of God, envied them. That’s because God glorified human beings to become His own children. Although angels wish they could also put on such a glory, God made them suffice as His servants, while He made mankind His children. That is why the Bible says, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).

God made us according to His desire. He made us according to His will. So no creature can object to God. God took a rib of Man, and made Woman out of it. God made us be born again by giving a part of His body to us. Without expecting anything in return, God made human beings according to His image, freely giving a part of His body and even breathing His life into them, and God took them as His children. Even the parents of the flesh give a part of themselves to their children when conceiving them; likewise, God bestowed His glory on human beings and gave them life, so that they may live God’s spiritual life forever. In other words, by giving His life to mankind and thus sanctifying it, God has made us holy like Himself. None other than this is the very glory of God.

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished”(Genesis 2:1). What marvelous things our God is telling us in Genesis! By making you and me be born again, God completed everything He sought to do.

That’s why God rested after making mankind be born again. And He made the born-again live forever in the Garden of Eden. Moreover, God also allowed His children to rule over everything in the whole wide world. Therefore, it is you and I who are to reign over all the dominion of God as His children.

My fellow believers, are our lives ruled by anyone else? No, even as we live on this earth, we are not ruled by the world. Are you then barely getting by in this world? No, we are not such people. Do you realize just who we are? Apart from God, there is no one else who can rule over us. At your work, you probably feel as if you are pushed around by your boss, right? But does your boss actually command even your hearts? No, of course not! There is no one but God who has dominion over our hearts.

We are God’s people ruled by no other human being. Our king is God Himself. We are His children, and as His children, we live to rule over this world.



We Praise God’s Glory

My fellow believers, our God has made it possible for us to live spiritually. God has enabled us to live by faith, He has bestowed us with the abundant riches of His righteousness, He has nurtured our faith to grow, and He has blessed us all. From the very first day, our God divided the light from darkness, His people from the rest, and those who stand on His side from those who do not.

Once we are born again, and once we realize why God loves us and why He has saved us through Jesus Christ out of all His creatures, we come to now stand on God’s side. Those who thus stand on God’s side by accepting His Word and glory come to put on the glory of God. That is God’s justice. However, while some people become God’s children by believing in Jesus Christ, still others reject the majestic glory of Jesus Christ and His grace. Such people are standing on Satan’s side, and as such, God cannot clothe them with His glory.

The glory of God has already filled in abundance the entire universe, this firmament, and us. God has made us righteous with His justice. That God made us according to His image and likeness is the greatest glory of all that God has bestowed on us in Jesus Christ.

However, countless people still believe in the words of the prince of the power of the air, Satan the Devil, and deceived by his words, they are unable to put on the glory of God. We see countless people living accursed lives on this earth, standing against God.

Let us now recapitulate God’s message and reach our conclusion. How is it possible that we are now able to live before God as the masters of this earth and the Kingdom of Heaven? How did we put on the grace of God that we have now come to proclaim the Kingdom of God and the glory of our Lord far afield? All that we can do is just give thanks to God for allowing us to live in such tremendous blessings, for glorifying us to become God’s own children, and for making us live spiritual lives.

You and I are kings of the Kingdom of Heaven. God has bestowed us with such a grace. God has clothed us with His boundless love. God has given us such an honor to become His own children. By making us His children through His grace, God has enabled us to partake in His divine attributes, and He has made us holy beings like Himself. We should forever praise God for this, thank Him, spread His righteousness, and live our spiritual lives for this righteousness.

God did not place the righteous on this earth just to live in vain. It is to make us praise His glory that God has saved us. Jesus Christ has saved us, God has made us His children, and although we are living among creatures, God is telling us that we are not just creatures, but His children and kings of the Kingdom of Heaven.

That we are now kings, that the love of God is boundless, and that God has bestowed this grace on us—we should testify all these wonders, praising God for His grace, His love, and His blessings. To our God who has clothed us in His grace, I give all glory! For making us such children of God, I give all my thanks to Him and glorify Him!

We are now enjoying everything that God has given us in our lives. As God’s children, we will enjoy what the Father has given us; as His people, we will testify the Lord our King far afield; as His servants, we will serve the Lord who is our Master; and as kings of His Kingdom, we will reign over all things—this is how we will live the rest of our lives. We will live our daily lives with our hearts filled with blessings, and when we go to the Kingdom of our Lord, we will live with Him forever, enjoying all His splendor, glory, blessings, and grace.

 

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