Genesis 5:1-2 … When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.
God created us differently than the land and seas, the plants and trees, and the birds and bees. Mankind was given a living soul. Men and women were custom-crafted in God’s image and likeness. All were originally created to be perfect sons and daughters who thought, desired, loved and lived like their Heavenly Parents. How fantastic is was going to be for all humanity to display the holiness of God.
However, Satan and his minions disrupted the plan. Adam, Eve, Cain, Seth, and all their descendants followed Satan’s deviation and distorted God’s image. Sure, occasional flashes of holy brilliance shown forth from humanity, but nothing was as it was created to be. All was disrupted. All was distorted. All was depraved. In God’s eyes, the wickedness of man was exceedingly great as every thought, desire, and action was consistently evil. Everything was skewed. Everything was wrong. Everything was messed up.
However, the overarching and awesome story of the Bible is this — God was not satisfied to leave all his people broken. In time, he would make things right.
So God came and communed with Adam and Eve. He told them about the Son to come who would make all things right. He continued conversations with the elect family. They began to “call upon the Lord,” and he instructed them in how they were to repent and worship via “clean” bloody sacrifices. In doing so, he surely told them the Good News about the Son to come who would be the real sacrificial lamb. God covenanted with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. And on and on it went, throughout the remaining 38 books of the Old Testament. God was the one who would send his Perfect Son, and he would be the means whereby God would fix his broken image-bearers.
Then, Jesus came, finished his work, and returned to the Father’s right hand.
Therefore, in light of the Gospel, how do we get to respond? Not by bloody sacrifices, but by being living sacrifices. We get the joy of worshiping God by living out the new identity we have in union with Christ. We get to practice being God’s holy image-bearers in our thoughts, lusts, relationships, words, and deeds.
How fantastic is creation.
Even more fantastic is re-creation.
Colossians 1-3 … Paul, an apostle … to the saints and faithful brothers … grace to you and peace from God our Father … We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God … For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard … Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving … Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator … Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ ….