“And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. “
“according to the image of Him who created him”
“Image” involves two ideas of representation and manifestation. God made man originally in His own image before Adam sinned (Gen. 1:27). Man defaced that image by sin (Gen. 9:6). However, God renewed that image by Christ’s work on the cross.
The New Testament uses “image” in several senses:
-of the descendants of Adam as bearing his image, 1 Cor. 15:49, each a representation derived from the prototype, of subjects relative to things spiritual.
-negatively of the Law as having “a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things (He 10:1),” i.e., not the essential and substantial form of them; the contrast is the difference between a statue and the shadow it casts.
-of man as created as a visible representation of God, 1 Cor. 11:7, a being corresponding to the Original. The condition of man as a fallen creature has not entirely effaced the image; he is still suitable to bear responsibility and has Godlike qualities such as love of goodness and beauty. We find none of which in a mere animal. In the Fall, man ceased to be a perfect vehicle for the representation of God; God’s grace in Christ will accomplish more than what Adam lost.
-of regenerate persons, in being moral representations of what God is, Col. 3:10; cp. Eph. 4:24.
-of believers, in their glorified state, not merely as resembling Christ but representing Him, Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49. Here, the perfection is the work of divine grace. Believers are yet to represent not something like Him but what He is in Himself.
-of Christ in relation to God, 2 Cor. 4:4, “the image of God,” i.e., essentially and absolutely the perfect expression and representation of the Archetype, God the Father; in Col. 1:15, “the image of the invisible God” gives the additional thought suggested by the word “invisible,” that Christ is the visible representation and manifestation of God to created beings; the likeness expressed in this manifestation is involved in the essential relations in the Godhead, and is therefore unique and perfect; “he that has seen Me has seen the Father,” John 14:9.
“According to” is a prepositional phrase meaning according to the standard. God’s standard is Jesus Christ. God’s purpose is to make us just like the Lord Jesus. God created the new man to be like Himself (Eph. 4:24). This is the same as the principle of Gal 4:19 — conformed to the character of Christ. One day we will be “like Him” (1 John 3:2).
God holds up Jesus Christ as the standard to which he wants us to conform.
Is your life day by day becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ?