Th e Image of God will set you free. Th ere has never been a time in history, in which global chaos has been so frightening. It doesn't have to be. Security in life is all about who you know, and what you know.
In Th e Image of God you will learn:
• Who God is
• What you can expect in life
• Why bad things happen
• How to overcome tribulations
• How to walk as one with God
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The Image of God
By Scott Clampitt
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Scott Clampitt
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFaith in God's Love
If there is one thing that every single person has had some difficulty accepting, at one point or another, it is the love of God for them. We have all struggled, in some degree, with the idea that we must earn God's love, as if it were conditional. Conditional, as if God's love towards us is on a meter that is raised and lowered depending on the level, we feel, we are pleasing Him. While all along, God's love is always 100% committed to us. God's love is unrelated to our pleasing, or lack of pleasing God. Pleasing God is only contingent upon our faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Our faith pleases God, but His love remains the same regardless of the actions of our faith. God's love is not altered by our actions, but God's love is enacted by our faith. What do I mean by that? If we do not believe or accept God's unconditional love for us, our faith is not pleasing Him. God is pleased when our faith allows Him to reveal how solid, how deep, and how never ending His love is for us.
I am completely amazed, at how amazed I keep getting, as He continually reveals His love to me. Am I saying I have always gotten everything I've ever wanted, exactly when I wanted it? No, of course not. Contrary to what we may want to think, that is not the measuring stick for love. So why can life take us through so many hardships?
I wish I knew the answers for the whys to every difficult moment, because we all go through growing pains that are unique to us. We will explore some reasons to help explain why bad things happen, later in the study. Some things, more than others, can persuade us to doubt or flat out deny God's love. Following doubt could hinder our fellowship with God just as it did to Job.
As things went wrong for Job, he began to question what he might have done to anger God. Job started to doubt God's love for him, as if his pleasing God raised or lowered God's level of love for him. Then God spoke to Job in a whirlwind, and come to find out, that God's love for Job hadn't changed a bit. The only thing that had changed was Job's faith in God's love for him.
Job's fear held his faith back just far enough that when trouble came, Job was overwhelmed by the trouble, instead of staying focused on what God has promised. It is easy to have faith when things are going great, but that is not faith. In all actuality that is just being thankful, which is also good to do but it's not faith. Being thankful helps to build our faith, but shouldn't be mistaken for faith. Before we are able to physically see it, faith calls things that are not, as though they were.
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
We find out that Job's faith was not in God's love, nor in His Word, nor His covenant. If our faith is not in God's Word (covenant), it is in something else. Anything that is not in faith of God's covenant Word is in fear. It is fear because, we are afraid that God's covenant Word is not true, or that it won't work for us. Depending on when Job lived, perhaps could have been the father of us all, instead of Abraham, but his faith was held back by fear.
Job said it himself, "For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me."—Job 3:25. Job feared that God would not uphold His covenant Word with him. Let's understand that God is not going to force us to have faith, or magically cause us to have faith in His covenant with us.
When we have fear working in the place of our faith, beginning with the fear that God doesn't fully love us, the difficult times we face in life will become more intense, and more frequent. If we are going to grasp the magnitude of our covenant with God, we must first grasp the fact that God is perfect love, and there is no waiver in God's love. God loves me, has to be a fixed truth that is firmly settled in our hearts and minds. What is wrapped up in God's love?
The Names of God Reveal His Character
Knowing that God is love allows us to then put our trust in God and in His Word. How do we accomplish that? Building trust in and with God is no different than building trust with another human being. It requires the same elements of time and energy that it takes to get to know someone.
All throughout the Old Testament, God used different names to reveal who He is and what He stands for. Each name defined something different about WHO He was. The names He used revealed His character. I would also like to point out that He always used the name necessary at the time. In other words, it was the exact name that the people needed to hear to be comforted. It was the name they needed, for the exact situation they were facing, at the exact time they needed it.
The fact that God was always willing to provide a name and meaning that was needed at the time, helps shed light on why Jesus said, "Don't be afraid, God knows what you need." Jesus was reaffirming that trust in God, by reminding us of God's character.
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
There is another reason God provided many different names in the Old Testament. The surrounding cultures always had many gods for many different needs. These gods were made out of stone or wood and then sold. There was a god for fertility, a god for wealth, a god for health, a god for victory, a god for rain, a god for sunshine, etc. There was a god for just about anything you could think of.
So, this is what people were used to and this is what God was up against when it came to renewing their minds. In the minds of the people, many gods were needed to achieve all the good things in life. That is why God is constantly reminding them that He is their peace. He is their healing. He is their victory. He is their salvation. He is their provider. He is the source for whatever it is that they have need of.
God is giving them an image that is not made with hands out of stone or wood. He is giving them an inner image, of who He is, which is all loving, and all powerful. Not only is God telling them He is the source of all their needs, but He is also telling them that He is the only living God.
"What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, The molded image, a teacher of lies, That the maker of its mold should trust in it, To make mute idols? Woe to him who says to wood, 'Awake!' To silent stone, 'Arise! It shall teach!' Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all.
God tells them that these gods will never speak to them, because there is no life in them. These are all dumb idols. Neither will God ever dwell in any graven image. What kind of head would an image maker carve onto the image of God?
Is it a lion, an eagle, or a bear? No, it is none of those. There is one image of God and we are made in His image. There is only one head, which is Jesus Christ.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Here we see that it was God's plan to dwell within us all along. Verse 15 says that, "Jesus is the image of the invisible God." 2 Corinthians 4:4 also shows us that Jesus is the image of God. Verse 18 of Colossians 1 shows us that Jesus was the first born-again from the dead, making him the head of the body, because He is the beginning.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
When we are born-again, we take on the image of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God. Jesus was predestined to be the first born-again man, which means we were predestined to be born-again, and conformed to His image. His image is the image of God, thus our image is the also the image of God who is the image of Jesus. Remember Jesus saying, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father."—John 14:9
His Name Sake
We don't think too much about the meaning of names these days. We pick names, because of the way they sound, or to follow trends. But, once upon a time a person's name meant something. It still does in certain parts of the world, but not so much in the United States. People in this country used to say things like, "Their word is their bond", but not anymore. Nowadays, there is just too much distrust from person to person.
Distrust is created when a person does not live up to what they have advertised to be. In many cases, it is because they are incapable of being, and or, doing what they said. They have overpromised and under delivered. This could be because they thought they were more capable than they were, or it could be because people are only looking out for themselves. Either way, it creates an element of distrust, so that even if a person's word really is their bond, it's tough for others to warm up to the idea.
What God did in the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, was establish the fact that not only is He capable of living up to His Word, but He is the actual source of the Word. God called Himself, Jehovah-Shalom. Peace is who God is. God called Himself, Jehovah-Rapha. Healing is who God is. God called Himself, Jehovah-Jireh. Provider is who God is. God called Himself, Jehovah-Shammah. Always there is who God is.
I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but look at the meaning of those names, and see if you can't find where Jesus called Himself by the same. You can go down the list of all the names of God, from salvation to sanctifier, to shepherd to everlasting, and no matter what the meaning, you cannot separate the meaning of the word, from who God is. That's because God is the source, and He is more than capable of delivering. This is something the people of the Old Covenant, and even the early church of the New Covenant, understood.
When the Bible says that God did something for His Name sake, it's not saying, God did it in order to keep a good name for Himself. Not at all. God only operates by faith. So when the Bible says that God did something for His Name sake, it is because someone called on His Name, in faith. They called on whatever name He gave them, and so, God honored His Word, concerning their need.
The people who receive from God today are the same as the people who received from God in the Bible. There is a big difference in the person who calls on God by faith, expecting Him to be true to His Word, and the person who calls on God, yet expects nothing to happen, though hoping that it might. Let's look at the difference between the two.
Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh, visit me with Your salvation, 5 That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance.
6 We have sinned with our fathers, We have committed iniquity, We have done wickedly. 7 Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, But rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea.
8 Nevertheless He saved them for His name's sake, That He might make His mighty power known.
Notice how it starts out, "Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people." Now that is expecting! Did you notice there are no question marks anywhere to be found in those verses? That's because he is not asking or begging, or pleading for God to deliver what God had already promised. This is calling on the Name of the Lord with great certainty and expectancy.
Verse 7 and 8 says that even though our fathers did not remember God, God still delivered them out of Egypt for His Name sake. What does that mean? We know of at least three people, who believed God, when they called on Him: Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. While the overwhelming majority did not remember God, there was at least one person in the bunch who knew to call on His Name, and they had faith He would honor it. And so, for His Name sake, God saved them.
Thank God, that all it takes is one person to call on His Name for Him to make good on it. Now, there are lots of people who call on God who never see results, and this is directly linked to knowing the Names of God, knowing He is the source, and praying with great expectancy. Let's look at a few more examples of God delivering for His Name sake.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.
—1 John 2:12
These next few verses are especially important, because they show that even when we have missed God and gone in the wrong direction, if we seek Him out and call upon His Name, God still makes good on His Word. This picks up as Israel continued to ask God for a king, even though it was against God's wishes.
18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. 19 And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves."
20 Then Samuel said to the people, "Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. 22 For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people.
—1 Samuel 12:18-22
The Name above All Names
Of all the Old Testament names that God used, my favorites are El-Shaddai, in which He was known the Abraham, and I AM, in which He was known to Moses. These names are very similar in definition. El means Almighty God. There is none above Him. Shaddai means blesses abundantly with whatever is needed.
I AM means God is living and is whatever is needed. Essentially the same as El-Shaddai, both names point to the fact that God is the living source of whatever is needed, and there is none above Him. Whatever is needed, He is.
Jesus held nothing back when He walked the earth, going about His Father's business. Everything He did was an effort to show Himself, as the image of God, and as the way to God. Jesus plainly said that He was whatever we needed.
Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."
Jesus made some extraordinary claims. All pointing to the fact that once a person comes to Him, their search is over. Jesus made it no secret of who He was. He definitely wasn't bashful about it. He is everything that Jehovah claimed to be in the Old Testament. He is savior, healer, deliverer, peace, joy, but most of all He is love. Everything that He provides is wrapped up in love.
Excerpted from The Image of God by Scott Clampitt Copyright © 2012 by Scott Clampitt. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Faith in God's Love....................1
Chapter 2: The Prodigal Son....................25
Chapter 3: 70 Times....................733
Chapter 4: Knowing God's Will....................61
Chapter 5: Understanding Man's Nature....................83
Chapter 6: Drawing Near to God....................95
Chapter 7: My Prodigal Journey....................111
Chapter 8: The Old Covenant....................125
Chapter 9: The New Covenant....................151
Chapter 10: Fear Not....................193
Chapter 11: In His Presence....................215
Chapter 12: The Spoken Word....................243