When God spoke and said, “let us make man in our image and after our likeness”, we can receive further understanding from the dictionary as to the definition of “image and likeness”. Image is a word meaning “an imitation or representation of a person, to be a symbol or type; embodiment”. The word “likeness” means, “the state or quality of being like”. Therefore, beginning as a formed dust man, when God breathed into him, the man became a living soul with the ability to manifest a god likeness, to be the embodiment and quality of his creator. With this being a truth, what kind of value can we place upon the soul? Know that the mind, the will, the emotions and the desires placed within the man are from the life of God breathed to manifest a God-like nature.
To receive a degree of understanding of the soul’s value as God values it, we must consider what makes up man’s soul. It contains all power, even the power of reproducing itself as man allows himself to submit to God. That is, the perfecting, maturing process of God which, through obedience, matures man into God’s creative purpose for each vessel. Remember, God breathed from Himself His spirit into the man and herein man received that which is of God’s nature. With this being the desire of God from the very beginning, He eventually sent forth His Son Jesus Christ to become a sacrifice because disobedience caused man to fall. Jesus died on the cross that man might be restored to God’s original purpose. Therefore, unto that man which follows, in obedience, the pathway God places him upon at the time of repentance, that man shall come to know the fullness of God’s power working in and through him.
Man’s soul also contains within it the power for the fullness of joy. “Joy”, a word meaning “to rejoice, happiness, great pleasure, and delight, expressions of man’s feelings. Doesn’t this definition sound like that for which the whole world looks for? With the world’s continual search for such joy, all manner of counterfeit joys has been tried, only to find that these counterfeits continue to lead to death and destruction. But, within man’s soul the power of a joyful life still exists. The joy of the Lord is just waiting to come forth as man finally submits himself to follow God in all things revealed. In forsaking the fallen man’s nature, which seeks to follow the appetites of the flesh, and by pursuing the ways of God we have the promise of God in Rom. 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. With joy being our promise in the things of God, the soul experiences the complete fullness of happiness. Again, is this not what mankind look for? Happiness is a reason for living, for giving, for coming into unity with the body of Christ that the kingdom of God might rule and reign on the earth.
Know that God places within man’s soul, at repentance, His own seed which contains the power of complete fulfillment. With mankind being motivated by his mind, his will, his emotions and his desires, we have found that man; left alone to pursue his own way has become a completely failure. All that mankind has achieved since his fall in Eden has fallen far short of that which God purposed for him. Man’s mind has been keen on building for himself kingdoms to rule over. With man’s kingdom (houses, lands, possessions, riches, position and religions, all that motivates his comings and goings), man still finds himself unfulfilled. Man’s will to create for himself status, through education and reputation, to make a name for himself in his chosen society, still does not know nor has it brought him complete fulfillment.
Man has continually reached out to handle all things that he desires, left unfulfilled, then to finally move on to something else. In this, fullness seemingly and constantly slips away only to have desires that remain unfulfilled. With man being an emotional being, he has responded to every sort of pleasure that he could imagine, again seeking to be satisfied without permanent results. Wars have been fought and bodies lay wasted as drugs and alcohol consumes the emotions of the people. But, in it all fulfillment always seems to slip away with a driving force to consume something else, to try the newest fad.
Meanwhile, among all this darkness, the mystery of Godliness is but one step away. This step, once taken will cause man to come into a life changing relationship with the Christ, the One that fulfills man in all his makeup. Matt. 13:44 says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field”. The scripture speaks to us of a person who is willing to part with everything of the carnal world to possess all that the kingdom of God consist of. Could it not be that Jesus purchased the field (which man is) to secure the kingdom for all who are willing to follow him?
Again, while the world offers much, it remains an empty shell to those who seek after her. Matt. 16:26 declares, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will man give in exchange for his soul?”. With God willing to give to all men eternal life, including the fullest experience of kingdom life, we must renounce all our self-centered empty ambitions in exchange for Him.
Can the seed of God, the breath of life placed within repentant man produce anything less that the giver of the seed? God, the eternal Spirit, has left us a promise. A promise from God has the assurance contained within it that the thing promised will be done. Thus, in 1 John 2:25 we are told, “And this is the promise that He has promised us, eternal life”. This scripture means that God has pledged to do something for us and that something He will do is eternal life. “Eternal life” signifies not only an endless life, but also a quality of life that comes only to those who have faith in Jesus Christ.
Thus, God gave a witness to attest to the promise when he declared in 1 John 5:7-13, “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: The father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: The Spirit, the water and the blood: and these three agree as one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God Which He has of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God”.
These verses speak of life denoting not only spiritual life, but also physical life, a life which one can possess only through faith in Jesus Christ and the acceptance of His sacrifice. It contains a present life of grace and a future life of glory. It is this life of glory that is now beginning to appear through and coming forth in a people.
With our priorities established in God, we are to put our hands to God’s way. (Read Matt. 6:24-34) with Matt. 6:24 declaring, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”. God takes great care of all things concerning the order of His kingdom. He watches over it and nurtures it in all the good things of God. Where then is this kingdom spoken of? Is it not within the heart, the soul of the receiving man as spoken in Luke 17:20-21, “Now when He [Jesus] was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said the kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, see here! Or see there! For indeed the kingdom of God is within you”.
Herein we see that the kingdom of God has already come. It is within the man who receives the seed of God. A seed that progressively matures until Christ is seen in and through the receiving vessel. But, in this kingdom, we must forever acknowledge that the kingdom of God is ruled over by God and we cannot operate independently of God’s power and grace, His government and nature. Obedience brings full salvation with a restored relationship with God gaining the full potential for His kingdom to rule within us. This is a people who only do those things that they see the Father do. They only say the things they hear the Father say, while only doing the works of the Father. With the revelation of knowing who the Christ is, the keys to the kingdom are given to his people even as Peter was given keys as He began to receive that understanding, the divine revelation of who Jesus Christ was.
Matt. 16:15-19, “He [Jesus] said to them, but who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered and said to him, blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven”. These keys denote authority that Jesus was passing on the His disciples, the authority or control to bind and too loose on earth. Jesus is stating that His people will be empowered to continue in the privileged responsibility of leavening the earth with His kingdom power and provision. This means an entering into God’s kingdom spirit, soul and body.
The main concern today is in recognizing that the church, for the most part, has not entered that life-style of such authority. The main reason is because of being a people of unbelief. Unbelief is the results of drifting away from the high calling that Christ has left for us. Entanglements with the things of the world will cause separation from God and keep men from being apprehended for that which they have been apprehended for. Where is that people who do the works and greater works that God has promised? John 14:12 states, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believed in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father”. The door into Christ has never closed. It remains open to a people that have been called, chosen, and are being justified. The Christ is willing to sup with each one who opens the door to their soul, that He may come in and share with them the many-fold mysteries of His kingdom. Remember, remaining a vessel of the world means to remain in its darkness with the inability to see. Thus, those ones being and remaining blind unto God’s truth lack contentment and fullness but coming to Christ causes man to awake unto and walk in the light which is the knowledge of God.
What is the food prepared for God’s people to eat as Christ Jesus expresses a desire to sup with them? John 6:48-51, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world”. In this, as we feed on Him through faith, we become partakers of the divine nature, which is life eternal. What a relationship, a nature changes as the result of what He has done for us. A relationship that joins us to a nature that receives from the Father renewed sight, hearing and strength. This all comes as the results of obedience to Christ through faith alone.