The Perfect Pattern Genesis 1:27

God created man in his own image. Genesis 1:27

Some grown-up people have, as you boys and girls know, a way of turning you around about and looking you up and down, and then saying, “Let me see, who are you like? Why, of course, you are just your father over again!” or “You are your mother’s mirror image!” You don’t care for the looking up and down, but secretly you are not a little proud of being told you are like father; for where could you find another man so splendid? And you are really very pleased to know you resemble mother; for her face is the dearest on earth.

But there is Someone else whom you all resemble more or less closely, and that is God. Today’s text tells us that God made man “in his own image.” What does that mean? It means that when He made man He made a copy of Himself. It means that God made us—you and me—after the very best pattern that He knew.

God formed the flowers and the fruits, the fishes and the birds, the insects and the beasts, each after its own wonderful pattern, and God saw that they were all very good. But there was something still lacking.

What was it? God wanted something finer and nobler than any of these, something nearer Himself, something that could think and understand, something that could share His friendship and return His love. Where could He get a pattern for that? The only worthy pattern for such a being was God Himself. And so, because nothing but the best was good enough, God made man in His own image. Doesn’t that make you feel proud and humble at the same time?

Now, if God made us after His own likeness, it means that He intended us to be as like that likeness as possible. He did not want us to be a poor copy. When you are making a copy of anything you try to make the copy as near the original as you can. You keep the model beside you, and you measure it and study it every other moment to make sure that your copy is right. In the same way God meant every man to be a good copy of Himself.

But alas! man was not content to be like God. He preferred to spoil the image which God had created. He began to mar it and deface it, and so to destroy it that sometimes it is only God Himself who can tell where the likeness is to be found; for man has made himself nearer a beast than a man.

But God’s image is still there, and it can be restored. Have any of you seen an old house which has been restored? Once upon a time the building had ceilings with wonderful paintings. Or it had walls with beautiful wooden paneling. But somebody who knew no better splashed these exquisite ceilings with tacky color-wash, and daubed that lovely paneling with green or red paint. All the loveliness was hidden. Then an artist, or a man who knew about such things, came along, and he guessed what was under the color-wash and the paint. He had them removed, oh! so carefully. He restored to the house its original beauty, and now it is the glory of the neighborhood.

So God can restore His image in man. How does He do it?

Well, God found that there was one way, only one way, that man could be remade in His image. It was by coming Himself to earth, by showing men the Original. He came to earth two thousand years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. He showed us the Original Pattern, the Perfect Example, and He asks us to copy it.

Can we remake ourselves then? No. We may do a little; but if we want ourselves properly remade we must put ourselves in God's hands. God has shown us the Perfect Pattern to awaken our desire and longing to be like Him, but He knows that we cannot manage the remaking all by ourselves. And so He is ready to help us. We have only to come to Him and say, “Father, I want to be like Jesus. Make me anew in His image.”

And if we really mean it God will do it. Day by day, with His help, we shall grow more like Jesus, more like Himself, more worthy to be called “a child of God.”