“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 the 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 renews that image by Christ’s work on the cross.
The New Testament uses “image” in a number of 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, Heb. 10:1,
· negatively of the Law as having “a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things,” i.e., not the essential and substantial form of them; the contrast has been likened to the difference between a statue and the shadow cast by it of the relations between God the Father, Christ, and man,
· of man as he was created as being 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, he still has Godlike qualities, such as love of goodness and beauty, none of which are found 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 yet 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, both in His spiritual body and in His moral character;
· 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. The new man was created to be like God (Eph. 4:24). This is same as the principle of Gal 4:19 — conformed into the character of Christ.
One day we will be “like him” (I 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?