Recalling Our Purpose
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).- Genesis 1:1–2:3
Last week we explored the necessity of keeping in step with the Spirit by pursuing spiritual growth. We examined the effort required to pursue holiness and discussed how making concrete plans serves to further our discipleship. We also spent time examining the reality of the world, the flesh, and the Devil as obstacles in our race of faith.
In order for us to continue pressing forward toward maturity, it will be helpful for us to take some time to examine the purpose for which God made us. If we rightly understand the end for which we were designed, we will be better able to maintain balance and consistency in our quest for maturity.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Space prohibits us from going into all of the biblical background for this statement. Therefore, we will restrict our comments to the creation narrative found in Genesis 1:1–2:3.
If our end is to bring glory to God, then we must understand some of the ways by which God is glorified in us. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in the image of God. The fact that we are in the image of God means that we are in some sense a “copy” of the divine. Now of course, God does not have a physical body and is not bound by any of our creaturely limitations. Still, we do reflect His nature in some ways. Like Him, we are rational beings. We have a mind, a heart, and a will like our heavenly Father does even though all three of these differ in degree from His.
When we, as the image of God, reflect the character of God, we bring Him the most glory. When we live a holy life, we bear witness to His holiness and to His glory. When we act mercifully and forgive, we glorify Him as the gracious and compassionate God. When we fight for justice, we demonstrate His glory as the only perfectly just Judge.
Sin has marred this image, and, in the process of redemption, God is slowly restoring it. As we progress in our spiritual walk, as we are progressively sanctified, this image reflects the glory of God more and more. And, at the consummation, we will glorify God to the fullest extent and enjoy Him in worship as we dwell in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21).
When Adam and Eve fell, the image of God was marred in them and in all of their descendants. However, God was gracious and provided redemption for this image in the person of Jesus — the supreme image of God. Take some time to meditate on the character of Christ, and ask the Holy Spirit to conform you to His image.
Passages for Further Study
Gen. 9:6 • Lev. 20:7 • Matt. 5:21–26 • 1 Cor. 15:49 • Col. 1:15
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred (where applicable). If no such link exists, simply link to www.ligonier.org.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343