IN THE LIKENESS
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul is wrestling with the influence of his remaining corruption in chapter seven of his Roman letter. Some say that was when he was lost, and that he only gets saved in chapter eight. But that can’t be because the lost man has no understanding of such spiritual matters, nor does he seek after God and holiness! Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 1 Corin. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
He comes to the agonizing plea as recorded in chapter seven and verse twenty four, seeking to be rid of the shackles of the body of this death (Amplified). Then he reveals the only solution to this dilemma for all who come to know the Lord in redemption. The answer is recorded in verse three of chapter eight. The only solution for all of us seeking deliverance from the shackles of this flesh is in God sending his own Son In The Likeness of sinful flesh! Praise His name! He took our place, was abandoned by God and His mercy so that we never would be!
That word, likeness comes from the Greek word translated together in John 21:2. And we also find that word translated, with one accord in Acts 2:1. It means that the Lord Jesus was sent by the Father in the guise of, or in the similitude of our sinful state!
Philippians 2:7 clearly relates to us THAT it happened! But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Hebrews 2:17 tells us WHY it happened! Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
But we must look at 2 Corinthians 5:21 to see HOW it happened! For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. And yet this mysterious transaction of the Triune God is still shrouded with such glorious mystery that we have little knowledge of just how this took place! But we know by faith, and the effect of the experience of it, and by the glorious gospel, that it most certainly did! There was a glorious double imputation! The elect’s sins were imputed to the Lamb, and the righteousness of God was imputed to the elect!
For it is that which transpired at the cross between the Persons of the Trinity that provide the pattern of spiritual experience for all the ransomed church of God! The Son’s physical death is our death in the spiritual realm! Did not the Apostle state, I die daily? (1 Cor. 15:31) The mortification of the flesh is provided for and has the pattern set for it by the cross! Listen to the Apostle tell of his hope of truly knowing the Lord; That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Phil. 3:10. He sought for a personal and compatible experience with the Lord Jesus Christ – not just a bare ascent to facts about Him!
Read carefully the following verses. Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
“Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.”
Daniel W. Whittle (1840-1901)
And it is just as certain that the elect have been born naturally, and therefore taken on the image of the first Adam, that they shall be born spiritually, and shall all share the image of the last Adam! 1 Corin. 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
In the Likeness of God
Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; The eternal Son of God was made in the likeness of man, but only as man was made in the likeness of God! But what likeness was that?
In Genesis 1:26 we read, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: But what image was that? God was invisible! 1Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
But wait! We must not therefore just think of “image” as of personal appearance! We must think of “image” as that character of Being in which God saw Himself before the world began! And we have a glimpse of that in Revelation 13:8, which reads, in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As long as God has been, and he is from everlasting, the Son has been in the attitude of, and submission unto, total and complete sacrifice! And THAT is the image that God had in mind when he said, Let us make man in our image! And the Son’s physical body was the image of which God referred! Col. 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Blood must be shed, without which is no payment for sin! (Hebrews 9:22). For his life, the life of the God-man, is in the blood! (Lev. 17:11). Therefore he must have veins, arteries and a heart! Need their be sweat as great drops of blood falling to the cursed ground? (Lk. 22:44). Then there must be glands and pores, to make available the Holy Bread for the children to eat! For in the sweat of their faces must their bread be eaten! (Gen. 3:19). He must bear the curse of the thorns exacted on the first Adam at his fall! (Gen. 3:17,18). Therefore a forehead must be in this design to grant a space for them between the eyebrows and the hair line!
Nails must be driven! Therefore he must have feet and hands! A spear must be thrust! Therefore he must have a rib cage and a torso! The most plaintive cry ever made must come from him (Psa. 22:1). Therefore he must have a mouth, a tongue, vocal chords and emotional senses! He must be a seed planted in the ground for the church to spring forth from him as its Root! Therefore he must be buried in the earth! John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Was he to be numbered with the transgressors? Then thieves must accompany him in the carrying out of his sentence! THIS is the image that God had in his ‘mind’ when he undertook to fashion man in the garden.
True man, spiritual man, is to be in the image of the Savior, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God! (Romans 12:1). These are those whom God foreknew! These are those whom the Father chose in Christ before the foundation of the world! Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
These are those blessed, who are the poor in spirit that receive the kingdom by the new birth! These are they that mourn, who shall be comforted by God! These are the meek, who shall inherit the earth! These are the peacemakers, who are called His children! These are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, who shall be filled with the Holy Spirit! These are the pure in heart, whose gaze is upon His face! (2 Cor. 4:6) These are the merciful who have obtained that mercy which endureth forever!
A Prepared Body
We are clearly instructed that Adam was the figure of him that was to come, that is, Christ Jesus. (Romans 5:14). And we are farther told, And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. (1 Cor. 15:45,47).
And as God fashioned a body in the virgin soil for the first Adam, so he fashioned a body in the virgin womb for the last! God breathed into the lifeless form of the dust and man became a living soul. So God, the Holy Spirit, breathed into the virgin’s womb and that Holy Thing came to be the Son of God! (Lk. 1:35).
And here is where the invisible glory should meet the tangible soul – in a body fashioned by God! This takes place both in Incarnation and regeneration! It takes place in a body designed for sacrifice. This was so much so that the very first human thought from the newly Incarnate God began with the word, sacrifice! Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
For the blood of bulls and goats never took away one single sin! Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. But when the Lamb of God came on the scene in his body prepared of God, his one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified! Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Therefore that Christian body is not to be cremated as do the heathen. It is to be reverenced and planted as a seed, like Christ’s body to sprout forth at the resurrection of the last day! Phil. 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Pastor Gene Breed
Oct. 19, 2010