– John MacArthur
A Moral Being
Morals are a sense of concern for what is right and what is wrong, for what is good and what is bad. It is basically a standard of behavior or beliefs about what is and what isn’t acceptable. God has put a conscience in each human He has created. This inherent tendency that is within every human conscience is even in unbelievers, too, and that by sinning, “they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2:15-16). It is by “their unrighteousness [that they] suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18). Everyone knows right from wrong, and that is part of our being made into God’s own image.
Being Fruitful and Multiplying
God is the Author of Life (Acts 3:15), and as such, He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth (Gen. 1:28) and commanded the created things, both plant and animal, to do likewise (Gen. 1:11-12, 22). He later repeated this command to Noah after the flood when sinful mankind had been destroyed: “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). He later told Israel, “Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants” (Gen. 35:11). Life is a gift of God, just as eternal life is (Rom. 6:23), and God gave mankind the capacity to bear life after their own kind and to be an image-bearer of God in this way.
By Reigning Over the Creation
In Genesis One, God told mankind to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Where man rules, God overrules, and where man reigns, God reigns supreme, but this is also part of being created in God’s own image–that He is ruling.
Becoming the Image of Christ
The most important way that we are made in the image of God is that we are being made into the image of the Son of God, as Paul wrote that we have “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col 3:10), “and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Indeed, mankind was created in “the image and glory of God” (1 Cor. 11:7) and during the creation of mankind, “God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26), which includes both male and female (Gen. 1:27). For the believer, this “makeover” is being made into a “Christ-likeness” and not talking about the shape or physical image of God because God is Spirit (John 4:24), so God means the image of God is internal and not external.
As John MacArthur said, life is a gift from God created in His own image. Today we are being made into the image of Christ. Someday we will reign with Christ as kings and priests (Rev. 5:10) and reign over more than the creation but reign over the kingdom of God, which is to begin with the coming down from heaven of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22), and for that, I cannot wait.