Christianity -- Christian Living/Created to be like God?
In Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)
And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
My question is that are we created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness? If so, what does it mean and if not, what does the verse mean?
The King James Bible, which is a more accurate translation than the NIV, renders the verse a little differently.
Ephesians 4:24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The passage actually begins in verse 17, in which Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit commands the Ephesians to not walk as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. These Gentiles have their understanding darkened, are alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, etc. They are unsaved people.
Before salvation, man is dead both in body and soul (Romans 8:10, Ephesians 2:5). To be dead is to be separated from God. This entire state of existence, being dead both in body and soul is the old man.
Colossians 3:9: Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.
Ephesians 4:22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.
When God saves a person, totally by His mercy, then the old man will have less authority in that individual's life. This is because at the moment of salvation, God indwells a person's soul with the Holy Spirit, and from that point forward, that individual is alive in his soul. God is now working in him to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The person's soul is no longer dead and therefore the individual wants to keep the Law of God.
The 'new man' is that part of the person which is alive. After salvation, a person is only alive in his soul. Sin still reigns in his body (Romans 8:10). God can say that the new man is created in righteous and true holiness, because in our souls after salvation, we are perfect. We are alive (God indwelling in us).
Noah, for example, was considered perfect by God, as was Job. Were these individuals sinless? No, of course not. They still had bodies that lusted after sin. However, because they were truly saved, not only were their sins forgiven, but God had indwelled them in their souls, making them alive in that part of their personalities. This indwelling by the Holy Spirit allowed these men to put down sin more and more (reject the old man), and live in righteousness and true holiness in their soul existences.
That's why the Bible commands us to put down the old man. Even after true salvation, a person will still struggle with the lusts of the flesh. He still has a dead body in which God is not working. We have to pray and read the Bible and ask God to help us with this. But there will be a major change in a person's life, if they are truly saved. They won't continue living the way they always did, and claim that they're now saved. That's impossible.
Hope this helps.
May God bless you,
Revelation 2:14: But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.