We are all birthed into this world as expressions of the Eternal One and are intended to be images and likenesses of His character, attitude, and personality (CAP). (a) [See end notes for all Scriptures] When we consider Scripture describing the essence of God as “Spirit, Light and Love,” (b) we should ask, how well are we reflecting our Eternal Father as a mirror and resembling Him as children?
Other than Jesus Christ,(c) is it reasonable to think any man or woman could actually be the image and likeness of God? Understandably not! So, when Paul said: “now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it,” (d) what was he saying? Where is the collective Body of Christ?
God’s Spoken Expression
Jesus is our visible example of a human reflecting and resembling our Eternal Father. While in his day a few called Jesus the son of God, there is no record of him saying such. However he called himself the son of man over 40 times. As a man, Jesus was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (e)
As a son of God and of man, Jesus maintained the attitude that “although he existed in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (f) As our example son, sons of man and of God, Jesus responded to his Eternal Father’s guidance and illustrated how we are intended to respond.
Scripture says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (g) The Greek translated ‘Word’ in this text is logos, which means “spoken expression.”
This verse in essence is saying: In the beginning God’s spoken expression created all natural things (this universe). And then, two thousand years ago “The Word (spoken expression entered a woman’s womb and) became flesh, and dwelt among us…we beheld His glory (visible manifestation), glory as of the only begotten (in this way) from the Father.” (h) The spoken expression of God became a man.
Additionally, we are told: “What was from the beginning…we have heard…have seen with our eyes …have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word (expression) of Life…we have seen …testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” (i) The life of Jesus is the most exact expression of God in this temporal world, as a single person.
The spoken expression of God became a man.
Complete in God
When I consider God’s amazing character, attitude and personality (CAP), as revealed in Jesus, I’m a bit embarrassed at how immature I am. On my best days, the quality of my expressions lacks the brilliance of His light and the purity of His love. Truly we “see in a mirror dimly and know in part.” (j)
So, where do you and I fit into the scheme of things? As children, we tend to be inconsistent. One day we appear to be on target and the next we stumble and come up short. As individuals, we fall far short from any real resemblance. At our best, we only partially reflect and resemble God’s CAP, as bits and pieces.
The solution to our parts is found in our interaction with one another. We are simply unable to fully be the image and likeness of God single-handedly. While God does not dwell in natural temples, a deposit of His Spirit dwells in everyone as the spirit of life. (k) It is our loving expressions and helpful interaction that allows God to dwell “with us, among us, and in our midst.” Together, we become the body of Christ.
Scripture tells us that those who respond to God as Jesus did, are “one body in Christ and individually members one of another.” (l) The body of Christ is made up of people that ascribe to the ways of God and interact as members of faith. (m) Our loving and encouraging interactions lend to making God’s CAP visible in the earth and contribute to drawing others into the interactive culture of Christ. (n)
I know, our Bibles say Jesus instructed us to be; “you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (o) Perfection however is a miss-conception conveyed by our translations. The original language of Scripture actually says, “Be complete as our heavenly Father is complete.” In the account of the creation, God even refers to Himself as ‘Us’ and ‘Our’ (p) because it is His nature to include His offspring.
Since every person has the spirit of life in them (a deposit of our Eternal Father), we are all part of the family of God. Yes, some close and some distant, as the Prodigal Son story relates. (q) No one is complete in and of ourselves; we are designed to be an interactive part of others.
The body of Christ is made up of people that ascribe to the ways of God and interact as members of faith.
His Collective Body
It is helpful to realize several passages in Scripture speak of ‘you’ in a plural sense. They are not written to individuals but to groups: the Colossians, Corinthians, and Romans. These verses address interactive bodies of people. A few examples are: “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” (r) “The Spirit of God dwells in you,” (s) and “do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.” (t) Together, we are!
The truth is no one can be perfect; we become more mature and complete as we interact with one another. (u) When God spoke the phrase “Let us make man in our reflection, according to our resemblance,” (v) the word ‘man’ was used to speak of mankind. It includes male and female. God’s design for humanity is a collective us, as visible interactive expressions of His essence, some good and some not so good.
Everyone’s life begins as empty slates, ready to receive input. Our personal perceptions begin to form in our mother’s womb. Perceptions continue to form as we are born into this world and receive and accept or reject insight from parents, relatives, friends, teachers, work cohorts, and our Eternal Father. Through this life experience, we grow and form into expressive “letters…known and read by all.” (w)
Most of our struggles and misunderstandings are with what we have been taught. The ideas we have accepted as truth formulate what we believe to be real and true. Many of our beliefs are founded on miss-translations of Scripture and archaic understandings of God. Consequently, we struggle with diverse ideas of God and His ways. Many are based on concepts that our Bible translations inserted.
One example is the common declaration that God loves you with an everlasting love yet, if you do not fall in line, He may torment you eternally. Do we really think God is like the fictional Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a loving entity that can also be very angry, harmful, and condemning? Is God really like us, swaying between everlasting love and eternal disdain? This is terribly confusing and can be very troubling.
When we are patient, forgiving, kind, and peaceful, we actually reflect and resemble the CAP of our Eternal Father! (x) It is correct, “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (y)
Our expressive attitude and actions demonstrate how mature we are becoming, individually and as interactive members of God-in-Christ. Let us continue to follow the example of Jesus, as responsive sons. Our lifestyle choices and expressive interactions enable us to progressively mature as expressions of our paternal Eternal Father. Together, we are the collective Body of Christ in this earth.
Together, we are the collective Body of Christ in this earth.
a) Genesis 1:26-27; b) 1 John 1:5; I John 4:8, 16; c) Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4; d) 1 Corinthians 12:27, 12; Romans 12:5; e) Hebrews 4:15; f) Philippians 2:5-6; g) John 1:1; h) John 1:14; i) 1 John 1:1-2; j) 1 Corinthians 13:11-12; k) Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:7; l) Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-20; m) Matthew 18:20; Ephesians 4:15-16, 29; 5:30-32; n) Matthew 5:16; James 2:24; 1 Peter 2:12; o) Matthew 5:48; p) Genesus1:26; q) Luke 15:11-32; r) Colossians 1:27; s) 1 Corinthians 3:16; t) 1 Corinthians 6:19; u) John 17:23; v) Genesis 1:26-27; w) 2 Corinthians 3:2; x) Galatians 5:22-23, 25; y) James 3:17