The Image of God vs. The Image of the Sin Nature


In Genesis 1:26, 27, we are told that God originally created mankind in His image. Adam and Eve were pure and holy, without a sin nature. The serpent was placed in the garden by God to test them, whether they would obey the only Law they were given. Without the serpent to test them, they simply would not have ever eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Eve listened to the serpent and ate, then gave to Adam who was right there, and he ate, too. Their willful sin resulted in the development of a sin nature within them – a tendency to sin. This manifested immediately in their need to cover their nakedness, and passing the blame when God confronted them. This created a separation between them and God, and they lost the holiness aspect of the image of God, and took on the image of Sin, instead.

Since that time, all mankind has been sold under sin. We are all born with a sin nature, which manifests from a very early age.

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ came and paid the penalty for our sin, and crucified that sin nature in His body when He was hung on the cross. The price He paid opened the way for every person to be able to approach God through Him. Upon true salvation, we are born again of the Spirit, and become a new creation. Among other things, we become partakers of the Divine Nature, our spirit taking on the very nature of God. What Adam and Eve lost in the Garden, we begin to gain back.

As believers, we need to learn to recognize the Divine Nature in us, and to develop that nature. But that sin nature is not going down without a fight. Just as the serpent deceived Eve into believing she was not already like God – was lacking – so our sin nature will keep us in defeat through temptation, if we let it. It will keep us from seeing that Christ is in us, and that we can grow in spiritual maturity to continue becoming more and more like Him.

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us what we call the Be-attitudes, in Matthew 5:2-12. These attributes are what we must develop to grow in spiritual maturity. They are called the BE attitudes because the goal is not to act like them, but for them to become our very nature. The rest of this Sermon are real life applications of the Beattitudes, examples of opportunities we can look for to develop our spirit and put to death our old sin nature.

Now, the Beattitudes are often counter-intuitive; they are typically the opposite of the attitudes the world values. Just consider the stuff the entertainment industry puts out. They often ridicule meekness, making it look weak. They present revenge instead of mercy or being a peacemaker. They glorify sin rather than true righteousness. And, sadly, we Christians all to often eat it up with the rest of the world.

The Lord willing, in the coming lessons we will look at the Beattitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, and learn some of the ways we can develop God’s image in us.

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Jesus Went Up the Mountain. Will You Follow Him?


Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He (Jesus) went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them…

Up to this point in His ministry, Jesus had not done much teaching. Rather, He was in the role of evangelist, calling on people to repent for the Kingdom was at hand. He also healed and delivered many, establishing Himself in His ministry.

Multitudes of people followed Him from all over the region (Matthew 4:25). But many of these “followers” only did so because of the miracles He performed when He was in the cities. They were chasing the signs and wonders, as Jesus accused several times throughout His ministry.

So, Jesus left the city and went up on a mountain, and the real disciples came to Him. He went somewhere inconvenient. Climbing even a gentle-sloped mountain takes some effort and time. There would not be a show to watch out in the middle of nowhere, so many would not bother going after Him up a mountain.

Others, however, wanted to see what He would say, and so followed Him. His disciples came to Him….

Christ does not call us to follow Him only when it is convenient, or when there is something exciting to watch. The path to His Kingdom being revealed to and in us takes some diligence on our part. And this is the only way to establish ourselves in the faith and to begin to grow to maturity.

Jesus went up a mountain. He left the hustle and bustle of the busy city. The disciples put aside their busy lives to follow Him up that mountain, to see what He would teach. And because they followed Him, He taught them – and the people were astonished at His teaching (Matthew 7:28-29).

Matthew 8:1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.

Will you be an easy-believism follower, who only cares about the miracles, about getting your way with God? So many in the church today are like this multitude, who follow after Him when it is convenient, when it doesn’t interfere with their daily lives. It is so easy to fall into this trap, and think that He is happy we are following Him. But the true disciple goes up the mountain after Him.

Do you really want to learn from Jesus? Do you really want to hear from God Himself, to be a disciple, a student, of Christ? I guarantee that it will, at times, be inconvenient. It will also take some diligence and effort on your part to go after Christ. But He promises that it will be worth it!

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God’s Most Notable Attribute


Christopher Perdue (thebiblestop):

Want to know why evil exists if God is so good? Here is an article that explains it from a different angle than most.

Originally posted on The Life Project:

I originally ran this post back on August 16, 2013, yet I thought that it may be of interest to you again today, particularly since so many of you weren’t readers of this blog back then. This is a critical point in understanding Scripture, a point that is well worth reconsidering every so often, so here goes. I hope you find re-examining it as useful as I have…

I used to ask seminary students this question, “What is God’s most notable attribute from the ancient Hebrew point of view?”

Nobody ever got it right the first time around!

I got answers that contained wonderful divine attributes and these always included love, mercy, kindness and the sharper ones would chime in with faithfulness.  But theologically speaking, these are all subcategories of the one I was looking for.

To the Hebrew, God’s most notable attribute is restraint.

Without restraint, God (and man, for…

View original 521 more words

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Another Conspiracy, Oh No!


Isaiah 8:12-14a: Do not say, “A conspiracy,” concerning all that this people call a conspiracy. Nor in fear or terror or in dread.

The LORD of Hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary.

Everywhere you look, you can find a new conspiracy, some new scheme to come after you or trick you. Someone dies and it is big news? It is being used to hide something else going on. The latest war? It was really instigated by the C.I.A. Then there is the dreaded planet Nabiru/ Planet X, which every couple years is about to hit earth in a month or two, and the scientists are keeping it a secret. And so on.

Some people are so caught up by all the “conspiracies” that they live in fear of what is or may be coming at any moment. Now mind you, some of these conspiracies are real – don’t think that I am one of those who are blind to what is happening in the world. But some people are so caught up in all these conspiracies that they are losing sight of the One who should be their focus.

Be wise as serpents. Be sober-minded. Pay attention, in other words. We should be aware of what is happening in the world. But our focus should be on our God, on Jesus Christ our Lord. He will be a holy abode, a sanctuary for us.

Romans 8:35, 37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Yes, we may have to face difficult times for our faith. Yes, some of these conspiracies will come to fruition, one day, perhaps soon. If we focus on the tribulation and trial, then we are in danger of being conquered by that tribulation. But if our focus is on our Lord, He will certainly give us the strength to endure.
Do not fear what men can do to you, but fear God. People can hurt you and kill your body, true. But if your faith is in Christ, they cannot harm you, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Corinthians 5:8).
When our focus is on Christ, and on abiding in Him, then the fruit of the Spirit will grow, which includes love, joy, and peace. A peace that passes all understanding, that can strengthen us even in tribulations.

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Robin Williams and Depressive Disorders


Robin Williams, a famous actor and comedian, struggled with severe depressive disorder most of his life. The other day, the depression won, and he committed suicide.
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Most people have enough compassion, or at least enough humanity, that they offer condolences, even if they don’t really feel sadness at his death. But I have seen some making comments that essentially ridicule him and those who offer condolences.

On Facebook, one speaks of a horrible news story of a man holding his beheaded child in his arms as Muslims try to force him to convert to Islam. He then contrasted this to all the meme’s remembering Robin Williams, who had everything and had a “good” life, but committed suicide. He commented, all they have to do is call on Jesus for strength to endure. While there is a certain amount of truth, this showed a profound lack of compassion or understanding from someone who does not even begin to comprehend genuine depression.

Certainly, what that family had to face is horrible beyond imagination, but that does nothing to help those with depression. It is like telling someone is bound to a wheelchair for the rest of their life, “Look at so and so, his wife died. You should not feel so bad about being in a wheelchair and in constant pain.”

I also have a depressive disorder. And I certainly do call on Jesus for strength to endure, for strength to carry on. My disorder is perhaps not as severe as Robin Williams’ was, but it is still there. And I must live day by day seeking strength from Christ.

Most of the time, I do not think about the depression, because it is self-feeding. When you let the feeling arise, it just keeps building and building, reinforcing itself. But it is always there, right under the surface, waiting for opportunity to rear its ugly head.

Even when you go through a period of happy times, times of victories and accomplishments, it sits there, waiting. … Waiting for the elation to fade so it can resurface. It is like a living thing, there to tell you that you are nothing, a nobody. I am not talking about mere low self esteem. It goes even deeper than that.

Depression is attached to the natural man, the sin nature within every person. Most people have other strongholds that dominate that nature, those things they must always watch for if they engage in spiritual battle. It could be lying, or gossip, or anger, or lust. Any number of things.

But only a few things create such a battle as depression. Just as the love of money is a root of every kind of evil, so is depression. It can lead to murder, to suicide, to overeating or starving yourself, to sexual sins. Anything that might alleviate the pain for just a few moments, that might make you feel better about yourself, if only just briefly. Then, eventually, the depression comes right back in like a flood.

Through faith in Christ, I find a reason to keep fighting the good fight, even when I want to just curl up in a ball and shut out the world, shut out life. He is my hope, my certainty, that one day healing will come, in this life perhaps, but certainly when I fully enter into eternal life. If I endure to the end, as Scripture repeatedly says. If I keep on keeping on.

He is my source of strength when my depression arises. Many do not have that hope within, that certainty through faith that God loves them, regardless of what their feelings tell them. Others, who are believers, can be overwhelmed and briefly forget this truth, and then in their moment of weakness fall prey to suicidal thoughts. It would be so easy to just give in, to quit fighting. The fight, at times, can be quite hard.

There is a Michael Card song that says, “I swear by all that’s holy, I will not give up the fight. I will drink down death like water before I ever come again, to that dark place where I might make the choice for life to end.”

My sincere condolences to the family of Robin Williams from someone who understands that fight.

UPDATE: More to the story. On top of the depression he had to fight every day, he had just found out he had Parkinson’s disease, a very debilitating condition. So, we have the trigger, the thing he could not face.

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