The Image of God

There is nothing unlawful for a son of God. For the fact that a person is God’s son implies that he or she is born of God. He is of the truth and no evil exists in him. There are many unlawful things; from them he has been separated. And, everything he does is lawful. God has made him into His son by purging all sin from him. This is the greatness of a son of God that whatever he does has a meaning. The essence in his works brings glory to God. His way has been sanctioned by God that men may understand the uniqueness God gives to those who believe in Him. God’s Spirit guides him to the right things. His going forth and coming in makes men realize that God is indeed pleased with him.

All sons are not of God and therefore, all cannot do lawful works. He who is not separated from the world by God cannot shut himself from unlawful deeds. His mind holds on to the image of the world. On the contrary, a son of God is like a child that has not known the deeds of flesh. His heart is filled with the image of God and knows the things God has given him. Because he does what God did not consider unlawful, he is good in His sight. “And Jesus answering them said, ‘Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him” (Luke 6:3). When one has been established by God as much as David was, anything that is imperfect cannot possess a full jurisdiction over him. David, who was purified through faith in God, became much more important to God than the Law. The reason – he was made righteous by faith and the Law, which was imperfect, was not given to the righteous. Anything imperfect is weak and can always be overcome. He overcame and ate the consecrated bread. He did not sin. Therefore, Jesus said that the Son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath.

Faith in God has irreplaceable power. He who is of it has surpassed every law that imposes its jurisdiction on him. Every law, whether of land or of man, will have no power over him. For the faith that justifies him is the law that guides him. It controls him for perfection. It perfects a man that he is examined only by the God who is perfect. Thus, he stands perfected more than any law could ever make him. When people attain to this stature, they inevitably become like the Lord of the Sabbath. To eat the consecrated bread is by all means unlawful according to the Law. But if one has been made a son of God, i.e. righteous, like David and his companions, he or she is, nonetheless, without sin. This is the greatness of the word of God that produces faith – by it a person is made righteous, for now and for the age to come. With this Word there is nothing present to compare. So, Paul also willfully said, “but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you” (Rom. 15:23).

He who considered it lawful not to build on another man’s foundation has been able to consider it lawful to go to them. How lawful is it that one should not build on another man’s foundation, since God is able to appoint ministers at every place according to His power and working nature! He appoints them to gather men. Yet, His word made it lawful for Paul to go the Christians in Rome. In this case that which was lawful for him became profitable; it was from the Lord. Though he has never been to Rome on behalf of the gospel, the reason behind his lawful act was the irreplaceable power of faith. When God calls men, by faith He sanctions them lawful acts. There was a necessity for God to prevent Paul for some time to go to Rome; it was to preach the gospel around Jerusalem. When he finished preaching, God made it lawful for him to go to Rome; not for building on another’s foundation, but for reasons levied by the Lord Himself. For the perfect law cannot be overcome.

When Paul intended to go to Rome, it was to receive help on his way to Spain, to acquire fruit from among them and be encouraged by each other’s faith; but, most importantly to impart to them a spiritual gift for their establishment in Christ. This was Christ’s will for him while still in Jerusalem. It was Christ’s will for Christians in Rome. They were born of God and it was needed that they be established in the Lord to stand perfect that no other law should overcome them. In this way, to every place the Lord sent Paul, he proclaimed the gospel to make each man complete in Him. This is evident when he said, “For now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord” (1 Thess. 3:8). He was determined to establish Christians in Jesus. It is for this reason the gospel is proclaimed. If Christians are not established in Christ, there will always be present the image of the world in them. As sons they will keep doing unlawful things. What is the result? They cannot be firm in the Lord. To be firm in the Lord is to surpass every law, whether of the land or of the flesh. This gives freedom; freedom to do all the things God considers as lawful.

Now-a-days the churches for the most part have not understood the importance of standing firm in the Lord. It is because they are puny to the idea of being established in Christ, i.e. they do not see the need to obtain a spiritual gift. One or two are commonly taking place – either the gospel is not being proclaimed that Christians are established in the Lord or they who call themselves Christians are averse to the knowledge of being established in Christ. In either or both cases the obvious outcome is people living according to the flesh. But, the reason Christians ought to be established in the Lord is to know Him. “John answered them saying, ‘I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know’” (John 1:26). Many wondered as to why John was baptizing people if he was not the Christ. They did not see it as lawful for him to baptize, since he did not meet their interpretation of the Scripture. They did not grasp that God had made it lawful for him to baptize and lay the foundation for the baptism that is to come from Christ. It is obvious their interpretation of the Scripture was in stark contrast to the wisdom of God.

John spoke by the will of God. He was baptizing in water, but spoke of the One whom the unbelievers will not know. Incidentally, many current churches still do not recognize Him. The plain reason – He did not come to baptize men like John, but to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Their understanding of the Scripture is in steep contrast to what John had been saying all through his proclaiming of Jesus. Further, they consider it unlawful to associate believers with Jesus’ baptism. Yet, God has made it lawful. Had Christ not come to baptize men with the Spirit, Paul’s worry of building on another man’s foundation is baseless. Again, he would not have gone to do what Christ willed for him to do at Rome. Instead, he would have gone to lay a foundation in Christ like a wise master builder. He knew that Christians in Rome received Jesus’ baptism and were needed to be established in Him. Holy Spirit became necessary for sanctifying believers and the gift that comes by Him to stand above every law on this earth. And if Christians in these days should be any different to the Christians in those days, it is utterly needless to speak of the spiritual gift that establishes them in Christ. They are well within these words. “And those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).

For this reason, not all sons are of God and therefore, not all do lawful things. Those who speak of baptism apart from Jesus’ baptism cannot please God. Their baptism is for the washing off dirt from their bodies. The Pharisees that did not believe the words of John ended up not believing in Jesus. They were not prepared for Him. They could not please God and will reap the consequences of it. Even so will the churches that do not please God by the lawful pattern He gave in His Son. They are not of the law of faith. They are not established to stand firm in the Lord. Every law that is of this earth has overtaken them.

But, if you are born of God, you have this conviction in you that existed in our predecessors. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1). His hope in Jesus is the result of the irreplaceable power he possessed by faith. Faith in Jesus made him righteous by the Spirit. Hence, besides being established and standing firm in Him, he also imparted spiritual gifts to those that needed establishment in Him. Through him God not only revealed the need for men like him, but also the need for His sons to be established in His Son. If we are baptized by Christ, we are sanctified. We will be established to do lawful things for God. They will be with a meaning to indicate our separation from the world; they profit us. Then, we are the sons that please God. No law can separate us from Him. He is glorified.

Nevertheless, many are still without the law of faith, since their belief in the Son of God is not to the point of being baptized by Him. Their failure to house God’s image in them is costing them dearly. It is God’s image, i.e. the Holy Spirit in them that makes them the sons of God. Nothing is more important for God than for His children to stand firm in Jesus. The churches are to begin realizing the true purpose of Christ, because “when the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rev. 8:1). Then comes severity!

Posted in 2011, Archives.