Man in God’s Image and Likeness

In this creation, man had the capability of voluntary thought, which put him into a position of responsibility. He could therefore obey or disobey. We know that he disobeyed, and the motivation was not the fruit, but ‘self’. The fall was total: man gave up God. In new creation it is different, man now has the knowledge of what God is, having been created ‘in righteousness and holiness of truth’ (Eph 4:24). We have a powerful, intimate relationship in communion with God, by the Holy Spirit. We have been redeemed.

 

A summary of J N Darby’s note on ‘Image and Likeness’ – Notes & Comments vol 1 p 178.

In Genesis 1 God created man in His image.  The Greek word used, according to Strong (1503) is εἰκών/eikṓn – a mirror-like, high-definition representation, very close in resemblance.  The word is used for ‘statue’.  See 1 Cor 11:7 , ‘a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God’ and other scriptures.

This is different from chapter 2 which concerns man’s relationship to God – like offspring (γένος/genos – Strong 1085) – see Acts 17:29we are the offspring of God’.

In this creation, man had the capability of voluntary thought, which put him into a position of responsibility.  He could therefore obey or disobey.  We know that he disobeyed, and the motivation was not the fruit, but ‘self’.  The fall was total: man gave up God.

Christ, the second Adam, gave up any thought of His own will – He did not use His liberty or power for His will.  He came to obey ‘Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.’( Heb 10:7 and Ps 40:7-8).  He renounced self.  In the midst of ruin, He bound the strong man, whereas in the place of blessing, Adam succumbed.  He bore the abandonment, into which man had voluntarily run, to his eternal ruin.

In new creation it is different, man now has the knowledge of what God is, having been created ‘in righteousness and holiness of truth’ (Eph 4:24).  We have a powerful, intimate relationship in communion with God, by the Holy Spirit.  We have been redeemed.  Because of the Lord’s perfect work of grace, we have been brought back, restored and reconciled to God. What a wondrous thing is redemption!

 

Sosthenes

November 2016

 

 

 

Darby on Romans 3:21-31 – Justification by Faith

We have the mercy-seat through faith in His blood. The value of the blood brings the witness of righteousness in the remission of past sins. It justifies us, maintaining fully the justice or righteousness of God. He is just, and the Justifier, not the condemner, of those that believe. The principle of righteousness by faith is incompatible with law: one rests on grace, the other on works; one on God’s work, the other on man’s. In grace, God’s work justifies freely; in law, man’s work in righteousness seeks to make peace, redemption and God’s work unnecessary. Law recognises the claim of righteousness, but man having failed, God has met that claim in grace. The grace that was incompatible with law, met the claim of the law, in order to justify the person who had failed under it.

Rome

God being revealed, sin is measured by the glory of God.

After demonstrating that the heathen, the moralist and the Jew had all sinned, Paul returns to the subject of the righteousness of God. Man clearly had none If he had had a righteousness it would have been by the law, so it would only be for the Jews.  But all men – Jews and Gentiles – have proved to be under sin, so God has manifested His righteousness by faith, entirely separate from the law. It is towards all, and upon all who believe. It is free, by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

In chap. 1:17, we were told that God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel. Now in Rom. 3:21, it is wholly apart from the law, the way of man’s righteousness)  As all of us are under sin, we are justified by God’s grace, through redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

We have in Christ the atonement or propitiation for our sins, giving us a place of access to God on the ground of redemption.   The saints in Old Testament times had been subjects of God’s forbearance. God passed over the sins of the Abrahams, the Samuels, and millions of others on the basis of the propitiation that was to be wrought by Christ. God forgave sins as if Christ’s work had already been accomplished.  In His exercise of forbearance, He justified His remission of the sins committed before Christ was here.

Now for those of us who live subsequent to His work, we have God’s full present justice. Christ has been exalted. Now in righteousness God could be just and justify believers in Jesus. This is an immense truth: God’s righteousness has been revealed, justifying those who believe in Jesus and His perfectly finished work. He has gone up on high, having glorified God perfectly on the cross, revealing and declaring God’s righteousness.  Man has not accomplished it, man has not procured it. It is of God, it is His righteousness.  We participate in it through believing in Jesus Christ.

We have the mercy-seat through faith in His blood. The value of the blood brings the witness of righteousness in the remission of past sins. It justifies us, maintaining fully the justice or righteousness of God. He is just, and the Justifier, not the condemner, of those that believe.

Man cannot boast, for justification is by God’s work – God’s grace received in faith. We cannot mix gaining a thing by working, and receiving it by faith – one excludes the other.   God justifies sinners in His dealings for them, not man justifying himself by a law which he could not keep.  Sinners are justified freely by (on the principle of’) grace, through (by means of) redemption.

Justification was by faith does not set aside the law. The law brought the conviction of sin, the curse even, from which men under it had to be delivered. Christ delivered men from the curse, thus sanctioning the law to the highest degree. He bore the curse, and established the authority of law as nothing else could. The Jew just had do be convicted of the necessity of grace, redemption and the blood of Christ; he had to recognise his debt and obligations, and that Christ’s work had put an end to those.

The principle of righteousness by faith is incompatible with law: one rests on grace, the other on works; one on God’s work, the other on man’s. In grace, God’s work justifies freely; in law, man’s work in righteousness, seeks to make peace, rendering redemption and God’s work unnecessary. Law recognises the claim of righteousness, but man having failed, God has met that claim in grace. The grace that was incompatible with law, met the claim of the law, in order to justify the person who had failed under it.  Had it been a human righteousness, it would have been by the law which had been given to the Jews only. But being the righteousness of God Himself, is unto all.

Thus far the imputation of righteousness goes no farther than the forgiveness of sins. There is more farther on; but here that is all .

A simplified summary of part of the introduction to John Nelson Darby’s  Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans , with additional material from the Synopsis.

Darby on Romans – Introduction to Romans

We need to understand two aspects of man’s state of sin

Man as living in evil ways, alive to sin and lust. According to Romans, death must come in to free him from the evil – redemption by grace.
Man as dead towards God. Ephesians treats man as dead in sins and gives us new creation.

RomeBackground in Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians

It may facilitate our apprehension of the epistle to the Romans, if we briefly survey Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians.

We need to understand two aspects of man’s state of sin

  1. Man as living in evil ways, alive to sin and lust. According to Romans, death must come in to free him from the evil – redemption by grace.
  2. Man as dead towards God. Ephesians treats man as dead in sins and gives us new creation.

Galatians

Galatians brings out the following points: –

  1. Promise, in contrast with law, which brought a curse and no justification of man
  2. Redemption from that curse, by Christ’s being made a curse for us
  3. The promised Seed, come of the woman (once the source of sin), to redeem those under the law.

The law had been the school-master until Christ came. Now, as sons by faith, having the Spirit, we are consciously heirs – not servants but sons.   The flesh, our evil nature, may lust against the Spirit, but, we are not under law. There can be no law against the fruit of the Spirit – elementary, though most important teaching.

 

Ephesians

Ephesians begins with the counsels of God:

  1. Our place before God, morally like Himself
  2. Christ’s position, as gone to His Father and our Father, His God and our God
  3. God’s purposes as to the Christ Himself, head over all as Man
  4. The inheritance and the earnest of the Spirit given to us
  5. The present exaltation of Christ
  6. The working of the same power in us, so we are raised with Him
  7. The church His body associated with Him
  8. Christ as Head over all things, to the church.

Eph. 2 gives Christ’s work. God’s power comes in and raises us up into His place of glory and blessing. We are sons and heirs.   The church, Christ’s body is united to Him, something hidden from all ages and generations, impossible to exist or be revealed till the middle wall of partition had been broken down.

The gifts of the Spirit from the Man on high builds up the saints, forms the body in union with Christ, and evangelises the world. From Eph. 4:17 onward we have practical conduct.  Having been brought to God in Christ, we are to display God’s own character, Christ being the perfect pattern in man. Having put off the old man and put on the new, we love one another as Christ loves His church. Finally we are God’s warriors in Canaan – that is, in heavenly places – and have need of God’s whole armour against spiritual wickedness, walking in dependence on God.

 

Colossians

In Colossians saints are not sitting in heavenly places, but with a hope laid up for them in heaven. Their are affections are to be set on things above, where Christ sits. They are buried with Him by baptism unto death (as Rom. 6). The believer is looked at as previously alive in his sins, but now quickened with Christ (Col. 2:13). Colossians does not reach on to the full level of Ephesian doctrine, but we do not get these thoughts in Romans at all.

The fullness of the Godhead is in Christ in Colossians; in Ephesians it is the body that is His fullness. The glory of an exalted Christ is before the Christian’s eyes – the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

This should enable us to study the epistle to the Romans more intelligently. Romans does not develop the counsels of God, but lays the ground for their accomplishment. All have sinned, Jew and Gentile, and have the same fleshly nature. There is no difference: God’s righteousness is applicable to both. Sins are put away, and we have deliverance from the old man. Romans treats the responsibility of man, explains God’s righteousness, and unfolds His grace unfolded as the source and principle of God’s dealings with us.

The epistle to the Romans furnishes the eternal principles of God’s relationship with man – the way in which, by means of Christ’s death and resurrection, the believer is established in blessing.   It reconciles of these things with the promises made to the Jews, by Him whose gifts and calling are without repentance.

 

Romans comprises several parts:

 

 A simplified summary of part of the introduction to John Nelson Darby’s  Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans 

 

Darby Simplified – The First Man and the Second

The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever. Christ is in heaven – He could not take my sin there. I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God.

A preaching on Genesis 3 by John Nelson Darby

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

After covering the basics of the gospel, Darby said that sin must be put away perfectly. The sinner brought back to God must be spotless. Christ did not enter heaven again until He had settled the whole question of our sins and of sin itself. The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever.   I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God. No sin there

Man has a Conscience

Man is by nature a ruined sinner, shut out by sin from the presence of God with no way back in his present state. The last Adam brings us back, not to an earthly paradise, but into the very presence of God in heaven. God does not bring a sinner back to innocence, but to the “righteousness of God”.   The believer is “made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

Man has a conscience – he knows good and evil. Even if a godless man steals, his consciences tells him that he has done wrong.

Now look at Satan’s temptation. He wanted to make God’s creatures think that God had been keeping something that would be for their good back from them – that He was jealous of their becoming as Himself. Satan’s great lie was, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) It is his constant aim to make men believe that the consequence of sin will not be all that God has said it would be.

The Woman’s Sin

The woman listened to Satan; she lusted. Her heart was away from God, so she followed her own way – just like men do now, trying to make themselves comfortable away from God. Would you to meet God just as you are? God would say ‘Come and be judged’. So you would hide from God, as Adam and Eve did. Not only did they hide themselves from God, they hid themselves from themselves and from one another: the covering of the fig-leaves was just to hide the shame of their nakedness. And when they were hiding away from God, they were away from the only source of blessing. The light had come in and they wanted to get as far from it as possible.

Let us look at the character of their sin. They believed that the devil had told the truth, and that God did not. Satan wanted them to think that God was keeping from them the very best thing they could possibly have. And men are still believing the devil’s lie – hoping to get into heaven their own way, when God has said that nothing defiled shall enter in. Men are looking to Satan for happiness, instead of believing God. They cannot believe that God wants to make him happy.

Now I may say, ‘I have done very little wrong.’ But I am still making God a liar. All Adam did was to eat an apple. What harm was there in eating an apple? Alas! Adam and Eve cast off God, and that was the harm. Whether it was eating an apple, or killing a man, as Cain did later, the principle was the same. It was casting aside God’s authority, and making Him a liar.

Adam hides himself from God. He wanted to get out of His presence?  But the God of love brings the knowledge of the harm into man’s conscience. He does that in love, for if He were dealing with men in judgment He would have left them under it.

God called to Adam. When God speaks, it awakes the conscience; but this is not conversion. God speaks to show man to himself, and bring him back to blessing. His conscience is awakened and that brings him back to the presence of God. You would not hide from a policeman if you have done nothing wrong. But you try to hide yourself from God, because you have done what you know He hates, and that separates you from Him. Man cannot bear to meet God. Innocence, once gone, can never be restored.

The Effect of Sin

Sin has made man get away from God, and it has forced God to drive him from His presence. Man is out of paradise: toil, suffering, sorrow, sickness and death tell us that. And there is only one way back to God, and that is through the Second Man. Christ comes in by the door into the sheepfold, so there is no getting in some other way. He is the door, and whoever enters must come by Him. The flaming sword shut every other avenue to the tree of life. There was no possibility of creeping up to it by some unguarded path.

We also try to excuse ourselves. Adam laid the blame on the woman. “The woman whom thou gavest me, etc.” (v.12) It was as much as saying, ‘Why did you give me this woman? It was your gift caused the sin’. But Adam is condemned by the very excuse. “Because thou hast hearkened etc.” (v.17). Our excuses become our condemnation.

God does not comfort Adam or his wife. He shows man his sin to convict his conscience, not to make him happy. If my child has been naughty, do I wish him to be happy about it? No, I want to forgive him, but he must first feel his sin. God must have us see that we have sinned against Him. We justify God in condemning us. To see sin as God sees it is repentance. It is “truth in the inward parts.” It is holiness and truth in the heart.

God’s Way

God did not leave these poor condemned sinners without comfort. He said to the serpent, “The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head.” It was a new thing that God was bringing in – a new person and a new way. Christ was ‘the seed’. Blessing would come by the Seed of the woman through whom the curse had entered. This was perfection of grace. If sin had come in, sin had to be put away entirely. He who shut man out from heaven has fully provided that which shall shut him in again. We brought back to God through the precious blood of Christ. Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. That is God’s grace.

God commends his love to us, in that, we being still sinners, Christ has died for us.” (Rom. 5:8 Darby) We do not want a good Adam, – but a great God and Saviour. In the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, see all the wrath of God for sin was laid upon Jesus.

Sin must be put away perfectly. The sinner brought back to God must be spotless. Christ did not enter heaven again until He had accomplished this. “When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down,” (Heb 1:3). When all was finished, He took the throne of righteousness. Adam was cast out of the earthly paradise; Christ, as the last Adam, is in the heavenly paradise.

God justifies me when He says, ‘My Son has been given for your soul, and died for sin’. I am clothed with Christ; I am become the righteousness of God. What more could I have or want? I do not know Him fully, but He has redeemed me; and I am in Him that is the life. He is in me, and I in Him; and where He is, there I shall be in due time. I am still in the body, and bear about with me the bondage of corruption; but Satan’s power is crushed. The serpent’s head is bruised. He has been overcome: Christ went down under the full power of him that had the power of death; and He came up from it triumphant, for it was not possible He should be held by death.

He has overcome

We are told, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). We are not to overcome him (we could never do that), but when he meets Christ in me, he cannot stand that, he must flee.

The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven in love, devoted Himself to God for our salvation. He drank the cup of wrath for sin; He tasted death, shut out from God’s presence that He might bring us back into the presence of God without judgment and without sin. This makes us happy and blessed for ever. He knew what the holiness of God was, and what His wrath was; and therefore He knew what He was delivering us from. How I shall hate sin, if I have seen Christ agonising for mine upon the cross! This changes my heart.

The moment I, as a poor sinner, look by faith to Jesus as my divine sin-bearer, all my sins are gone – they are put out of God’s sight for ever.  Christ is in heaven – He could not take my sin there. I am pardoned through His blood, peace having been made through the blood of the cross. And the glorified Man is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us – of His Father and our Father, of His God and our God.

J N Darby – The Soul’s Desire – I’m Waiting for Thee, Lord,

I’M waiting for Thee, Lord,
Thyself then to see, Lord;
I’m waiting for Thee,
At Thy coming again.
Thy glory’ll be great, Lord,
In heavenly state, Lord;
Thy glory’ll be great
At Thy coming again.

 

6.6.11.6.6.11.

I’M waiting for Thee, Lord,
Thyself then to see, Lord;
I’m waiting for Thee,
At Thy coming again.
Thy glory’ll be great, Lord,
In heavenly state, Lord;
Thy glory’ll be great
At Thy coming again.

Caught up in the air, Lord,
That glory we’ll share, Lord;
Each saint will be there,
At Thy coming again.
How glorious the grace, Lord,
That gave such a place, Lord;
It’s nearing apace,
At Thy coming again.

We’ll sit on Thy throne, Lord,
Confessed as Thine own, Lord,
Of all to be known
At Thy coming again;
But glory on high, Lord,
Is not like being nigh, Lord,
When all is gone by,
At Thy coming again.

The traits of that face, Lord,
Once marred through Thy grace, Lord,
Our joy’ll be to trace
At Thy coming again;
With Thee evermore, Lord,
Our hearts will adore, Lord,
Our sorrow’ll be o’er
At Thy coming again.

But, better than all, Lord,
To rise at Thy call, Lord,
Adoring to fall,
At Thy coming again;
With Thee, clothed in white, Lord,
To walk in the light, Lord,
Where all will be bright
At Thy coming again.

For ever with Thee, Lord,
And like Thee to be, Lord,
For ever with Thee,
At Thy coming again;
I’ll live in Thy grace, Lord,
I’ll gaze on Thy face, Lord,
When finished my race,
At Thy coming again.

I’ll talk of Thy love, Lord,
With Thee there above, Lord,
Thy goodness still prove,
At Thy coming again.

J N Darby, 1881

Edited version in Little Flock Hymn Book  (1962, 1973) – No 19

 

J N Darby – Love Displayed – We’ll Praise Thee, Glorious Lord, Who Died to set us Free

Soon wilt Thou take Thy throne,
Thy foes Thy footstool made,
And take us with Thee for Thine own –
In glory love displayed!

Jesus, we wait for Thee,
With Thee to have our part;
What can full joy and blessing be
But being where Thou art!


S.M.

WE’LL praise Thee, glorious Lord,
Who died to set us free;
No earthly songs can joy afford
Like heavenly melody!

Love that no suffering stayed
We’ll praise – true Love divine;
Love that for us atonement made;
Love that has made us Thine.

Love in Thy lonely life
Of sorrow here below;
Thy words of grace, with mercy rife,
Make grateful praises flow!

Love that on death’s dark vale
Its sweetest odours spread,
Where sin o’er all seemed to prevail
Redemption glory shed.

And now we see Thee risen,
Who once for us hast died,
Seated above the highest heaven,
The Father’s Glorified.

Soon wilt Thou take Thy throne,
Thy foes Thy footstool made,
And take us with Thee for Thine own –
In glory love displayed!

Jesus, we wait for Thee,
With Thee to have our part;
What can full joy and blessing be
But being where Thou art!

J N Darby, 1881

Edited version in Little Flock Hymn Book  (1962, 1973) – No 235

J N Darby – Unfoldings – O Lord, Thy Glory we Behold

O LORD, Thy glory we behold,
Though not with mortal eyes;
That glory, on the Father’s throne,
No human sight descries.

C.M.

O LORD, Thy glory we behold,
Though not with mortal eyes;
That glory, on the Father’s throne,
No human sight descries.

But though the world can see no more
Him it cast out with scorn,
The eye of fresh-born faith can soar
Above – where He is gone.

‘Tis not for human eye to see
Nor human ear to hear,
Nor heart conceive what it may be,
Or bring the prospect near;

But God in love has freely given
His Spirit, who reveals
All He’s prepared for those, in heaven,
Whom here on earth He seals.

‘Tis thence, now Christ is gone on high,
Redemption’s work complete,
The Spirit brings His glory nigh
To those who for Him wait.

Blest gift! As sons we look above
And see the Saviour there;
And, fruit of God’s now well-known love,
We shall His glory share.

God has been glorified in Man;
Man sits at God’s right hand –
Obedient in the race He ran,
Can now all power command.

In lowliness on earth, as Son,
The Father He made known;
And now in heaven, His work all done,
He sits upon His throne.

And we our great Fore-runner see
In His own glory there;
Yet not ashamed – with such as we,
As First-born, all to share.

For we as sons through grace are owned,
And “Abba, Father,” cry;
Heirs too, so rich did grace abound,
Joint-heirs with Him on high.

The Father’s love, the source of all,
Sweeter than all it gives,
Shines on us now without recall,
And lasts while Jesus lives.

The new creation’s stainless joy
Gleams through the present gloom,
That world of bliss without alloy,
The saint’s eternal home!

J N Darby, 1881

Edited version in Little Flock Hymn Book  (1962, 1973) – No 81