Image of God and the Counterfeit
By Mary Kroeger
A true image is the portrayal or representation of a reality. Therefore the reality has to be in existence before an image of the reality can be formed. Today we want to identify the true image of the invisible God. Since we cannot see Him, a true image of God has to come from Him and be formed by Him, for only He and the Son know who He is. It is impossible for us to know His true being unless He reveals Himself to us!
This is logical, and it sounds simple. Yet we have a problem. Our natural mind is very active in creating images in line with its own perception of the invisible. Since our natural mind is dead to spiritual realities, these images are not founded on truth. They look like truth to us, and feel like truth, but they are only a product of the imagination. However, when an imagined idea is given form, and this form becomes our truth, our truth is based on a lie, and a lie does not have substance!
An image of God gives evidence of the existence of God! A true image of God has to be formed by Him, for we cannot see Him, nor do not know Him. So all the images of God that are formed in the natural mind are not true images; they are counterfeits. They give us a false image of God. A true image of God can only be received by the spiritual mind! When God sent a true image of Himself to His people, the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out. Without Him, it was not possible for them to have a spiritual mind. The natural mind will always crucify the true image of God.
The natural mind will always cast God down to the human level. Many Christians do not understand that Christ has come again in the Holy Spirit. They think He still has a body that can be seen by the natural eye. After all, it says that every eye will see Him! They do not understand that this is a spiritual seeing. Christ is now the head of His body of believers! Many Christians do not understand that He comes to us again and again in revelation. So, just like the Jews at the Wailing Wall are waiting for their Messiah, the Christians are waiting to see Christ return in the sky and save us from this terrible world. They do not understand that redemption is not for the Adamic mind. That mind is crucified with Christ. In Christ we receive a new mind! We have to be careful that we do not put God in the concepts of our human nature, otherwise we will worship our own concepts of God.
The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom within us. It is the regeneration of the spirit. We want more than man’s idea of God. We want our spiritual eyes opened to see the true essence of God!
Although God is invisible to our eyes, how we would like to see Him! It would be so exciting to see Him in a visible form! This would help us to get to know Him! God saw our need, and He had a solution! He had a plan. He would give His Son a physical body, and then have His pure invisible essence of love and righteousness shine forth through that body! He knew that would be a very foreign concept for us. He knew that He would have to teach us so many things! He knew that He would have to convince us of the fact that the Man Christ Jesus was a true image of Himself! God knows all about our ignorance and lack of understanding! He knew that the physical body of Jesus would hide His true essence from our eyes. He also knew that His true being would be revealed by the things Jesus taught and did – by being that image! So He sent an image of Himself in human form, in Jesus Christ!! God’s invisible essence was revealed in what Christ said, what He did, and in the validity and conformity of what was prophesied of Jesus in the Old Testament! Then He poured His Spirit into us, to lead and guide us into all truth!
The author of Hebrews wrote, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory, and the exact representation of His being…” (1:3, NIV) Paul’s statement in Col. 1:15 also states this very clearly. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Notice that God is the initiator of all this. It was God who sent His Son, the Word made flesh, into this world. This solution to our problem was birthed in God. In Christ we see the very essence of the invisible God!
The presence of God stimulates worship. The fact that in every human being there is a desire to worship, shows that it has been placed there by God. When people do not know God in truth, they worship the image they have created in their imagination. Every image that does not have its source in God, is a counterfeit. It is against the knowledge of God and therefore must be cast down.
We like to put form to people with whom we converse. We also like to put a form to God. But what form does God have? What form can you give Him who is everywhere and fills all things? We don’t know, so the imagination kicks in and form is put to their image of God! In many nations, the mental ideas of God are crafted into the forms of strange and ugly creatures, and then worshipped. In our western world the images are more subtle. Instead of seen images, the desires of the flesh are worshipped. This worship of self is manifested in various forms. They come in a worship of pleasure, riches, accruing knowledge, self-indulgence, good deeds, etc. In whatever form these imaginary images come, they are false images of God. They are not rooted in God! They are counterfeits of the true God. Since they have their source in the beastly nature of man, they are images of the beast.
We may be surprised to learn that the devil has sons. In John 8:44, Jesus told the Pharisees and the religious leaders that they had been fathered by the devil. Jesus was not talking to the Gentiles, to the Egyptians, Assyrians, Romans and people like that. He was talking to Israel, the called-out people of God! They had received the law and the prophets, miracles, etc.! In spite of all that they had received, they were fathered by lies, and the truth was not in them. God's people had not learned to know Him! The leadership loved their ideas of God – ideas that their carnal minds had created! They loved the prestige, the control, the glory, the honor and the attention their religious minds had procured for them. Their old-time religion was too precious to lose. They did not want to change, so they crucified the true image of God!
It is difficult for us to leave our comfortable abode consisting of doctrines and rituals that have become our truth! It is also very humbling to admit that our truth was a lie! We fear moving out of the dictates of our organization. We fear isolation! We may even suffer persecution! We may lose our ministry! It is so much easier to move with the crowd and to remain in good standing with our organization!
Jesus Christ is the true image of God! He is the truth and the life! All our images that do not have their source in Him are against the knowledge of God! All these images created by our imagination have to be cast down! (2 Cor. 10:5)
Lies do not have foundation. They do not have substance! Yet without the knowledge of the truth we cannot discern the lie. When the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us, we need to be willing to receive it and experience it! It is not enough to store it in the filing cabinet of our mind. Willingness to receive truth does not first ask, “What will happen to me if I believe the truth?” That is not faith, and everything that is not of faith is sin! (Rom. 14:23) Without faith it is impossible to please God! (Heb. 11:6) Without faith we will remain in the iron grip of the lie!
God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ! He has revealed His love for us in giving His Son as a sin-offering for the sins of the whole world! He has revealed His power, even His power over death in raising Christ out of death! He has revealed His wisdom in creation and in His plan of salvation! His power is also revealed in His ability to keep His promises, and to make us witnesses of Christ! "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
This wonderful, great and loving God desires an intimate relationship with us! In Christ He has made this possible! He is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth! (John 4:23) How blessed we are when we yield ourselves to His outstretched arms of love, receive His perfect will as our will, and live in harmony with the truth and life that He is!