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July 10, 2019 at 8:14 am #14572
Ron McGatlinKeymaster“Transformed into God’s Image”John Belt, Cincinnati, OH
“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.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
We see in the beginning that God created man in His own image and likeness. Before the fall of man, Adam and Eve reflected that image of God in fullness. They walked in the presence of God, not having a “self-awareness” in the sense of having to fix themselves (Genesis 3:8). The glory of God surrounded them in the Garden of Eden, which literally means “the garden of pleasures.” After the fall, although physically they still had an essence of God’s image, it was now distorted by sin as they now fell short of “His glory.”
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
After this point God spoke of a day of restoration where Christ would come to bring man back into a place of walking in His glory (Genesis 3:15). Through this life of communion with the Spirit God would enable man to more fully exemplify the image of God once again in fullness.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
It is a process of restoration from glory to glory where we behold God and become those who shine with His radiance as was His original intent. Ultimately we will be completely like Him as we will be with Him, seeing Him as He is.
What image we project is a big deal. That is why God wants us transformed into His image and likeness. How does that happen?
There are two sides to this coin. One side is about our intake of the knowledge of God. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Proverbs 23:7; Matthew 12:34). The other side of this coin is about the relationship. This is our communion with God through the Holy Spirit. (Photo via Unsplash)
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
As we understand the image of God we learn that He is totally different than us. One word describes this. That word is “holy” or “set apart.” This is what God wants for us. He calls us to holiness. To discard holiness in our lives is to remove God from our lives – rejecting who He is with the refusal to respond to His invitation.
The Father invites every person to His House, because He loves them, but not everyone responds to His invitation. God loves the entire world and has also issued an invitation to every person (John 3:16). But not every person responds to that invitation. Actually, only a small percentage take Him up on it (Matthew 22:1-10).
As Believers in Jesus, we have been issued an invitation to live a life of holiness before God – to be set apart like He is. To be totally and radically different than the world. What is very important to realize is how that holiness occurs because the method by which you are attempting to “be holy” makes all the difference.
Get to Know the Holy Spirit
Only one method truly works. How does holiness happen in our lives? It happens by relationship with God through the Holy Spirit – inside out. After all, His first name is “Holy.” That should be a big clue. Could that be the reason Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they could be clothed with power, receiving the Spirit?
“For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” (2 Corinthians 13:4)
This power of the Spirit not only enabled them to perform all the miracles, signs and wonders but also enabled them live “set apart” to God. Where Peter had failed in denying the Lord before, things would now be different because of the power of the Spirit in his life. Peter now had boldness to speak the truth in the love of God as he preached the Good News.
Waiting on the Spirit, spending time with God, makes all the difference in being transformed into Christ’s image. If it was all about head knowledge then the religious leaders in Jesus’ day would have reflected the image of God – but they didn’t.
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me (OR to have a relationship) that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40 emphasis mine)
They rejected Jesus and crucified Him. They knew the Book but did not have the Holy Spirit, the Person who wrote the Book. (Photo via Unsplash)
It is an issue when someone acts like they know someone just because they read their book but has never actually even met the person. So it is with our relationship with God. It is more about the encounter, the experience of spending time with Him – knowing Him in an intimate relationship. Outside of this there is no possible way of having His image restored in our lives. The goal is to know the Person of who He is, not in gaining the abundance of information.
“Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!” (1 Chronicles 16:29)
Remember that holiness is a beautiful thing because that is the essence of God – He is holy. We are extremely blessed to receive such an invitation to His House with the vehicle of His Word and Spirit to take us there. God has not called us to dry religion but the living waters of His presence – where we can come and drink at any time.
“They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.” (Psalm 36:8)
Eat of His Words and drink of His Spirit! In doing this you cannot help but discover life-changing transformation into His very image!
John and Brandi Belt are the leaders of Overflow Global Ministries. The heart of their message is that God’s greatest desire is to indwell His people with His presence. They believe that man was created to be inhabited by God through His Spirit. With a sincere devotion to God through the Holy Spirit, people can live in a place of overflow in His presence. This overflow translates into touching the lives of others through living encounters with God. When John and Brandi minister, the intimate presence of God is manifest – being accompanied with demonstrations of God’s power to heal, revive, and restore.
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