GOD’S IMAGE—LOVE, LIGHT, HOLINESS, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
In the Bible the image of God refers to what God is. God is love, light, holiness, and righteousness. Therefore, love, light, holiness, and righteousness are what God is, hence, His image. Ephesians 4:23 and Colossians 3:10 clearly say that we need to be transformed and renewed into the image of the Lord. God’s image is love, light, holiness, and righteousness in reality.
The virtues spoken of in the Bible are summed up in the things that are true, dignified, righteous, pure, lovely, and well spoken of, as well as in virtue and praise, as listed in Philippians 4:8. If we put all these items together and carefully analyze them, we will clearly see that these virtues are love, light, holiness, and righteousness. These four words represent all the virtues in the Bible, which are the expressions of God. God’s expression is God’s image, which is love, light, holiness, and righteousness.
Human Virtues as a Photograph of God’s Image
Human virtues are a picture of God’s image. Many things in the universe are symbols. Suppose you take a picture of me. You may say that the person in the picture is I, yet it is not I. You may also say that it is not I, yet it is I. If you send this picture to someone, saying, “This is Mr. Lee,” that is not exactly correct. This is because the person in the picture is actually not I, but only my picture. The picture of a person is not the reality of the person or the person himself; it is merely the image of a person.
Consider yourself. Before you were saved, you desired to be kind, honest, upright, and fair. These desires are innate; they are not the result of any outward teachings. Why was man created this way? It is because man was created in God’s image. The first man was a photograph of God. We are all reprints of this photograph. The negative of this photograph can be developed into millions of copies. The descendants of Adam are all reprints of this picture. We are pictures of God, reprints of God. Our relationship with God is so intimate. God is our source, and we are His pictures. God is love, light, holiness, and righteousness; we also have the essence of love, light, holiness, and righteousness.
The Law as a Portrait of God’s Image
We have said earlier that the Ten Commandments given by God through Moses are a portrait of God’s nature; therefore, the law is a portrait of God’s image. The Ten Commandments may be likened to the menu in a restaurant. You do not go to a restaurant to eat the menu. A menu merely indicates the dishes to be served. The law is merely a “menu” that portrays what God is. Therefore, the contents of the law exactly correspond to the image of God. What the law speaks about are love, light, holiness, and righteousness.
Christ as the Living Out of God’s Image
The law is only a portrait of God’s image. It was not until Christ came that the true image of God was expressed. The four Gospels in the New Testament are biographies of the Lord Jesus as the records of His life on the earth. To sum up, the Lord’s entire life was the expression of love, light, holiness, and righteousness. He was not merely a portrait or picture of God’s image; rather, He was actually a man who lived out God Himself.
(The Subjective Experience of the Indwelling Christ, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)