Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion … over all the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)
As He is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)
I was just thinking about how similar these two verses are. In the beginning, God created man in His own image. He formed him out of the dust of the ground, then He puffed the breath life, His own breath, into man’s mouth, and man became a living creature. No other creature in heaven and earth is like man. Nowhere are angels ever said to be created in the image of God. No other creature has received the breath of life from God’s own lips. Only man is created in the image of God.
To be created in the image of God means this: As He is, so are we in this world. God created man to have dominion over the earth and everything in it. In other words, man was made to represent God to the world—created in the divine image, animated by the divine breath, the Holy Spirit of God, and endowed with divine authority to rule and reign on earth. Whenever any creature looked upon man, they would see the image of God.
As we know, Adam and Eve lost that authority when they rebelled against God and submitted themselves to satan. But that is why Jesus came, to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and restore us to God and the plan He has always had for us. Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead, and fully divine, became fully human and walked among us. He so thoroughly identified with us that He carried our sins to the cross—became sin for us, the Bible says (2 Corinthians 5:21)—where He died in our place. By His body given for us and His blood shed for us, He broke the power of the enemy over us. Three days later, He arose from the dead. Then, before He ascended to His throne in heaven, He gave us His authority and power:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)This authority and power has been given to all those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ and been baptized in His name. To be a disciple of Jesus means to learn how to exercise this authority and power just as He would, though most churches have forgotten how to do this.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Nonetheless, we are fully authorized by the Lord Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak and act in His name, to exercise the kind of dominion He exercised, and be the agents of His kingdom on earth. That is why the apostle John could write:
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.This dominion is about doing the Father’s will and manifesting the Father’s love in the world. That is what Jesus came to do, and what He authorized and empowered us to do. If we want to know what that looks like, all we have to do is look at Jesus, because as He is, so are we in this world.