January 3

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’” (Gen. 1:26). The uniqueness of humanity is that we are created in the image of God, which separates us from the animal kingdom. Unlike the animal kingdom that operates out of divine instinct, we have the capacity to think, feel, and choose. Even after the fall, we retain a tarnished image, but we have lost the likeness.

Paradise is where everyone is like God in moral purity. That was true in the original creation. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). Can you imagine living in those conditions? Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. They could have intimate relationships with one another in the presence of God. They were supposed to multiply through sinless sex. Hard to imagine!

Paradise ended when Eve was deceived and Adam sinned. Sin had separated them from God and they were no longer like Him. Everything that God created was affected. “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:22,23).

We are all in this mess because of the fall, and God has only one plan and that is to reconnect fallen humanity with Himself. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope, fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure”(1 Jn. 2,3). Let’s fix “our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2).

God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, and sanctification is God’s will for our lives, i.e. that we become more and more like Jesus. To accomplish this, Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The questions is, do we really believe that repentance and faith in God is the only answer for the mental, emotional, and moral decay that is evident everywhere? I think it is, and let me show you how.

Neil

For Spanish, see http://ficmm.org/blog