“When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God….. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image…”- Genesis 3:1-3
When Adam and Eve were first created, they were made in the likeness of God – formed in His image. Perfect and powerful, every part of them – body, soul and spirit – replicated the glory of their Creator.
But sin entered the human race, and like a disease it infected not only Adam and Eve, but their offspring as well. So it’s noted here that the sons of Adam were born ‘in [Adam’s] likeness’, not in the likeness of God. Sin had contaminated mankind, and every generation of people since that time has lived with the consequences of Adam & Eve’s decision .
There’s a couple of things I take from this:
1) We must be born again. Perhaps you’ve seen a photocopy of a photocopy? With each generation the quality decreases. It’s a lot like that with the human race. In order to walk in the fullness of who we’ve been made to be, we must be born again – a Photoshop touch up is not enough – we need a complete regeneration. This is what Paul talks about when he describes us as ‘a new creation in Christ’. The moment we confess our sins to God, and hand the keys of our lives over to Him, we are born again by the Spirit of God. It’s a whole new page, a clean sheet to start from.
2) As leaders, we must be committed to forming people into Christ’s image, not ours. Even the best, most inspirational leader is still only a reflection of who God is. Every person has been uniquely made, and our responsibility as leaders is not to make people like us, but to make them like Jesus. Paul said “I am in labour until Christ is formed in you”. He wasn’t looking to make a bunch of Paul-clones, but rather like a great father – he was seeking wisdom from above as to how to encourage and form his ‘children’ into the shape that God had called them to be.