“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28
God placed man upon the earth after everything was already created. God did not create man and then make him some food. He did not create man then make him a house. Literally, God had everything prepared for man before the creation of man - there was nothing left for man to do. This is grace. Grace says that everything man needs to sustain himself has already been provided.
Verse 26 says, “Let Us make man in Our image…” Notice it does not say, “Let me make man in my image.” The plurality of God is brought out in the verse. In fact, the Hebrew word for God is “Elohim” and it is plural. This verse could read: “And Elohim (the Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”
“Why Am I Here?”
All men come to a specific point in their lives in which they ask themselves the question, “Why am I here?” The sad thing is that many people grow up and die and still never know why they were here.
In chapter 3 of the book of Ephesians we find what God’s purpose for man is. Paul says, “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:8-11)
Notice that when Paul was a sinner called himself the “least of all saints.” He said he was the worst of all. Prior to his conversion, Paul was a powerful man - he was a religious man. He had money, position, and power.
The Worst Sinners
The worst sinners are not prostitutes or homosexuals or drug addicts in the street. The worst sinners in the world are religious people. In fact, Jesus brought the worst type of condemnation on religious people. He said that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in that day than it would be for His generation - a generation ruled by religion. Jesus hates religion. God hates religion. The most difficult people to witness to are moral people who have gone to church all of their lives and because of their good works they think that they are going to get into Heaven.
Jesus won thousands of people off of the streets, but He won very few religious people. Tax collectors, prostitutes, the people on the street who had no illusions about themselves were looking for the answer and could see right through the phoniness of religion. When Jesus came along labeling religion exactly what it was, the masses followed Him. Jesus called the religious people of His day white-washed tombstones. On the outside they appeared clean and white, but on the inside they were full of dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27).
This is exactly how Paul had been before his conversion, therefore he called himself the “least of all saints.” Yet, as a believer, Paul called himself less than the least. People often talk about what they gave up for Jesus. Listen, no matter what a man may have given up, Paul describes it as “dung.” All of the glamour, all of the money, and all of the life you gave up to come to the Lord Jesus is nothing.
“And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery…” The Greek word for “fellowship” is “dispensation.” Paul is saying in these verses, “My mission in life is to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and once they have come into the kingdom of God, my next mission is to teach to them the truths concerning the dispensation in which they live.”
One of the primary things you need to understand as a believer is the dispensation in which you live. We live in the Dispensation of Grace or the Church Age. Our dispensation is also called “the mystery”, which means it was hidden in the past, but has been revealed today. Moses, Abraham, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David - none of the Old Testament saints understood the Church Age. To them it was a mystery. But today the “mystery” has been revealed to man through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We need to understand that the things that we have in our dispensation were not available in other dispensations. Before the Church Age, man had to be born into a special tribe to be a priest. Today, men become priests before God through salvation. Also, today man can become a child of God; something that never happened before. We have the right to enter into the presence of God because we are His children. Under the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit was with them and would come upon them, but they did not have the new birth. Today, the Holy Spirit has come to live in us and has recreated our spirits. Spiritual gifts are available to all believers today. All of these things are specialized for our dispensation.
To Display the Wisdom of God
What is the purpose of man on the earth today? Paul says in verse 10 of Ephesians 3, “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” Why are we on the earth today? Our purpose is to display the wisdom of God to Satan and the principalities and powers. God does not go directly to Satan and show him His wisdom, He points to us.
When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden, He said, “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). God told man that he had dominion over everything - including Satan. Even though Satan, by creation, was much, much higher than Adam, Adam, by position, was far above him. Position takes authority over creation.
Adam was placed here on the earth and given authority. That authority was to subdue the whole earth. But when Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he took his authority and turned it over to Satan. After the fall of man, Satan received his position back as lord and god over this earth. God knew that man was going to fall and had prepared a plan so that Jesus Christ would come and bring man back to his rightful position; that is the work of the cross. God sent His Son to become a man, and because Jesus was without sin, He was qualified to destroy the barrier of sin between God and man.
Hebrews 2:9 says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Jesus came as a man into the earth and He held the same position that Adam had originally held; by creation He was lower than the angels, but by position He was higher than the angels. Why did Jesus have to come and be a man? Because as God He could not die; deity cannot die.
Hebrews 2:14-16 says, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.” If Jesus would have come to this earth and destroyed Satan as deity, Satan would have been destroyed by a superior. If Jesus would have come as an angel, Satan would have been defeated by an equal. Instead, Jesus came into this earth below the level of angels, and Satan was destroyed by an inferior creature called man. It is not the name of Christ that makes us free, it is the name of Jesus (the name for His humanity). It is the name of a man that has been exalted in Heaven and placed on the same level with God Himself. The name that causes demons, principalities and powers to bow is the name of Jesus.
Satan was defeated. He could put up no argument because Jesus, the man, conquered him once and for all. Jesus made a show of him openly; and when Jesus arose from the dead, He gave authority back to man. The moment you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, by creation you are still inferior to angels, but by position you are once again lifted up above the level of angels. Man’s purpose on the earth is to display to Satan and his demons God’s wisdom in that God chose an inferior creature (man) to reclaim the authority that Satan once possessed. And that authority is in the name of Jesus!!