"The Character of God"
In Genesis 1:26, we are told: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:" Again in verse 27 it says: "So God created
man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Here we learn that mankind was created in
the very image of God, but what does this mean? Does it simply mean that we look like God, or is there more to it than that? To answer this,
let's look at some of the other uses of the word "image" in God's Word.
Hebrews 1:13 describes Jesus as the express image of the Father in heaven. In what way is Jesus the express image of the Father? Is it
because He looks the same? The Apostle Paul gives us a very important piece to this puzzle when he says: "And have put on the new man,
which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:" (Colossians 3:10) Paul says that as Christians we have been
renewed, in knowledge, after God's own image. Obviously this is not talking about our looks, for we know that we basically look the same
as before we accepted Christ. Paul also tells us about the change that takes place in verse 8. It says: "But now ye also put off all these;
anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth." (Colossians 3:8). The image of God that it talks about here is not
the way we look on the outside, but the way we are on the inside. It is our character that was created like God in the beginning. It is our
character that was greatly changed when Adam sinned. And it is our character that God wants to restore into His perfect image.
1. Is it possible to list all the attributes of God's glorious character? John 21:25
2. List the works of the flesh that are found in Galatians 5:19-21.
3. Now list the fruits of the Spirit that are found in verses 22-23.
The works of the flesh are those things that come natural to us in our fallen state. They are really a list of our characteristics, or our
"characters." After we accept Christ and His working in our lives, we actually take on the characteristics of God; His "character." These are
found in those fruits of the spirit. All of your life, you might have been taught that God's ten commandment law has been done away with. In
fact most people believe that it is impossible to keep God's law. Most of the churches in our land openly teach that although the ten
commandments are the standard, they simply cannot be obeyed. But what does the Bible say on this important subject?
4. Who does John say will be blessed with eternal life in the heavenly New Jerusalem? Revelation 22:14
Regardless of what you might have believed about God's ten commandments, we can plainly see from this verse that it is those who do God's commandments that will be allowed entrance into the Holy City. How important this is! We've been led to believe that the keeping of God's law has nothing to do with our eternal salvation, but what does God's Holy Bible say?
5. Are we saved by the keeping of God's law? Ephesians 2:8-9
We are saved by faith in God's great plan of salvation; by trusting in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us at Calvary. We will never be saved by keeping the ten commandments.
6. Does this mean that we no longer have to keep the ten commandments? Romans 6:15
There is a whole list of verses that are commonly used by those who argue against God's law (Romans 3:28; 5:19-21; 7:4-6; Galatians 2:16;
3:17-19) They will quote the part that points out that we cannot be saved by keeping the law. They will use this to convince you that we cannot
keep the law of God, neither does He want us to. But in every instance, after Paul tells us that we are not saved by the keeping of the law, he
goes on to tell us just how important it is that we keep God's law, just the same. Paul is not arguing against the keeping of God's law. He
believed in and taught us to keep the ten commandments (Romans 3:31; 6:1, 2, 15; 7:7; Galatians 2:17; 3:21). Instead, Paul is telling us the true
purpose for the law. The law does not save us! The law points out our sins, and points us to the Lord Jesus Christ who is able to save us!
Jesus saves us by first forgiving us of our past sins, and then giving us victory over our present temptations.
[PLEASE COMPARE THE TWO LISTS OF VERSES IN THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH, AND ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION: WHY WOULD PAUL TELL US THAT WE
DON'T HAVE TO KEEP THE LAW, AND THEN TELL US THAT WE DO HAVE TO KEEP THE LAW? OBVIOUSLY HE IS NOT TELLING US THAT WE DO NOT NEED TO KEEP GOD'S HOLY TEN COMMANDMENT LAW!]
7. What is the purpose of the law? Romans 3:20
The purpose of the law is to show us our sins. The apostle James uses the illustration of a looking glass or mirror to illustrate God's law (See
James 1:23-25). Most of us look into a mirror several times every day. Many times you look into that mirror, and everything is just as you expect
and desire it to be; you go on about your business. But sometimes you look into that mirror and your hair is messed up, or you see a dirty
smudge on your cheek. If it had not been for the mirror, you would not have known that something was wrong. But now you can take the
appropriate measures to straighten out the problem. God's law is like that mirror. If it had not been for the law, you would not have known that
there was a problem. As Christians, we are to be constantly looking into God's "perfect law of liberty," and comparing ourselves to God's
standard of righteousness. Many times we should see that everything is just fine and we go on about our business. If, however, we look into
God's law and see that there is a problem, we should go immediately to Jesus and seek forgiveness and make the needed changes in our life.
Remember! No matter how long you look at yourself in the mirror, that alone will not comb your hair or wash your face.
8. How particular is God concerning Christian conduct? James 2:10
9. What is the gospel declared to be? Romans 1:16
10. What is the significance of the name Jesus? Matthew 1:21
Notice here that it says he shall save his people from their sins, not in their sins. The whole purpose of the plan of salvation, the gospel, is to rid you and I of our sin; Past; Present; and Future!
11. Did Jesus do away with the ten commandment law? Matthew 5:17
12. What did Christ come to take away? John 1:29
Many have taught that Jesus came to do away with the law, but the Bible plainly teaches us that Christ came to do away with sin!
13. What does Isaiah foretell that Christ would do concerning the law? Isaiah 42:21
14. What important question did the rich young ruler ask Jesus? Matthew 19:16
15. What was Jesus' response? Verse 17
What better evidence do we need? After being asked about the essence of salvation, Christ immediately pointed him to the ten commandment
law of God (See also verses 18-19).
16. What did Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, conclude in his book? Ecclesiastes 12:13
Over 500 times in God's Holy Bible we are told to keep God's ten commandment law. But there are over 350 "Christian" denominations in this country and almost all of them openly teach their people that we cannot keep the law.
How does something like this happen? God foretold through His prophet Daniel that this very thing would take place in the time of the end. "And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered." (Daniel 8:12)
God's Word forewarns us that this dark time would come, when Satan's forces would cast the truth to the ground. Notice that it says "by reason of transgression." What is transgression? "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4)