In the Image of God
God’s law is more than a set of rules. It foreshadows good things to come. Things we cannot even begin to imagine!
Man’s physical existence is only the first stage of accomplishing something far greater than most imagine. When God said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” (Genesis 1:26), He meant more than a physical likeness. Man is to be perfected in His image, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). He envisaged like-minded, spirit beings with whom He can share His power and glory. The divine nature, or mind of God, is to be reproduced in those with whom He will share His Kingdom for all eternity.
Man’s ability is currently limited to things physical, but God whose understanding is ‘infinite’ (Psalm 147:5) and whose greatness is ‘unsearchable’ (Psalm 145:3) has no such limitations, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?” (I Corinthians 2:16). In order to share in God’s power and glory man must have the understanding and ability that can only come from God. He enhances man with his own divine nature through the gift of His Spirit, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (I Corinthians 2:11). God’s Spirit transforms the human mind to a spiritual plane in preparation for final resurrection to a spiritual existence in God’s kingdom. The law foreshadows this event, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come,” (Hebrews 10:1). And, “… it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9). There is a lot more to the law than most imagine!
How Will It Be Accomplished?
In the Bible there are two basic types of law. There is the ‘moral law’ that is an expression of God’s mind foreshadowing the attributes of God that are to come to fruition in man. Then there is the ‘ceremonial law’ that governed the Tabernacle with its associated priesthood and sacrifices that foreshadowed Christ under whose administration the creation of man in God’s image man is to be fulfilled. Man is to become the embodiment of the law he has been instructed to keep.
Christ was represented by the High Priest who presided over the Tabernacle. He now presides over a spiritual temple comprising those currently under his administration whom he is preparing for eternal life, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,” (Hebrews 4:14). And, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16).
The sacrifice Christ made on behalf of all mankind was a key event that was also foreshadowed in the ceremonial law by the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. He opened up the way for individuals to be reconciled to God the Father and receive God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a seed containing all the attributes of its parent replicating God’s divine nature in man. That divine nature then becomes part of the psyche of man as God promised, “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17 and Jeremiah 31:33). This is what the law foreshadows.
The process by which man is ultimately created in God’s image was pioneered by Christ’s own resurrection, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (I Corinthians 15:20). He was the first to be resurrected to spirit. His resurrection, witnessed by many at the time, provides hope for believers today (I Peter 1:3). They also receive the Holy Spirit as God’s personal guarantee of the outcome, “… ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Fulfilling the Law
Christ came to fulfill prophecy and law, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17, see also Matthew 2:15, 23, 4:14 and 8:17). He fulfilled the ‘ritual law’ by becoming the embodiment of what it foreshadowed (Hebrews 7:12 to 8:2). And he prepared the way for the fulfillment the moral law indicating very clearly that this was something yet to occur, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18). Until this is achieved the law remains in force. At this stage no one has been resurrected to spirit except Christ, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13). The ‘moral law’ will only be fulfilled when all who accept God’s offer of eternal life have become the embodiment of what the ‘moral law’ foreshadows. Then they will be fully created in the image of God.
That is the destiny of man, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:20-28). Once this has been completed man will be able to share in the power and glory of God for all eternity.
God’s law is more than a set of rules. It truly does foreshadow good things to come. Things that are beyond our imagination!