GOD’S ORIGINAL CREATION OF MAN
In Genesis 1, God created man with His image to express His glory and beauty. Then in chapter two, we have the tree of life, which signifies God’s intention for man to receive Him as life and to live by Him.
THE RESULT OF MAN’S FALL
When man fell, he destroyed the image that God created for him, and lost the position of receiving God as life. The image that God created for man is one of love, light, holiness, and righteousness. These things are the very essence of the Ten Commandments in the law, and they were created for man by God according to His own image. God is a God of love. Hence, He created love for man. God is a God of light. Hence, He created light for man. God is a God of holiness. Hence, He created holiness in man. God is a God of righteousness. Hence, He created righteousness in man. But after man fell, he destroyed this image that God had created for him. In addition, God had barred the way to the tree of life by the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). We were unable to be reconciled again to God and to enjoy salvation in life until Christ died for us and redeemed us.
CHRIST’S REDEMPTION BY HIS VICARIOUS DEATH AND HIS SALVATION IN LIFE
Christ’s redemption by His vicarious death and His salvation in life first redeems fallen men so that they may be justified by God and reconciled to Him (Rom. 8:30). In addition to this, He regenerates, sanctifies, renews, transforms, and conforms them to the image of the Son of God (Rom. 1:17b; 6:19b, 22b; 12:2; 8:29). This conformation to the image of the Son of God begins from regeneration. After regeneration there is sanctification. After sanctification there is renewing, and the renewing brings in transformation. When all these items are added together you have conformation to the image of the Son of God. Furthermore, we will be made the sons of God (8:19) that Christ may become the Firstborn among many brothers (8:29). Thus, God gains a corporate expression, the mingling of His firstborn Son with His many sons. In this way, we are enabled to enjoy God’s salvation in life and are delivered from the expression of the natural life, having no self-boasting or self-esteem, and are conformed to the image of the Son of God.
Part of the third stanza of Hymns, #52 says:
He leads the praise! How precious to Thine ear The song He sings!
This shows us that it is most pleasing to God for the firstborn Son to lead the many sons into the praise of God the Father. The second and third stanzas of Hymns, #1 say:
As we view the vast creation, Planned with wondrous skill, So our hearts would move to worship, And be still. But, our God, how great Thy yearning To have sons who love In the Son e’en now to praise Thee, Love to prove!
Actually, the many sons are in the firstborn Son. In other words, the firstborn Son includes the many sons. It is a corporate Son that is praising and exulting God. This is a profound truth. But it has been written into a hymn and is explained in very simple words. I hope that you can all enter into these truths and can teach them to the new ones.
(Salvation in Life in the Book of Romans, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)