The Meaning of Life
What is the meaning of human life? This is a tremendous subject, yet within the first pages of the Bible we find an answer so simple, and yet so profound: man was created in the image of God. God's first words concerning man were this: "Let us make man in our image." (Gen. 1:26). Although God created a multitude of creatures, none of them were said to have been in God's image. To man alone it is given to be in the image of God. Thus, Adam was unique among God's creation.
Christ - The Reality
Yet this first man, Adam, was just a shadow of the coming reality. It is only as we come to the New Testament that we find this reality. Christ, the Word of God, came to declare God to us (Jn. 1:18). Being more than a prophet or a teacher, He did not just talk about God — He expressed God. He thought, felt, and acted as the expression of God. Thus, when men saw Him, they saw God. Such a Person walked this earth — the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15).
Man - Created to Be Filled with God
Although created man possessed God's image, he is still empty; devoid of the reality. He possesses God's image, but he lacks God Himself. The glove, although possessing the image of the hand, is empty until it is filled with the hand. The hand is the reality, the glove, the expression. Without the hand, the glove lacks expression. It is the same with man. Man needs a content, a reality. This was, and still is, God's intention-that created man would be filled with God and become His living expression.
The Fall of Man
But what about today? The present situation is that man is in a sorry state and far from God. How did this come about? It began with Satan's desire to frustrate God: since God's intention was to indwell man, Satan decided to do so first. So man, when he ate of the tree of knowledge, did more than simply disobey God — he took something into his being. Thus Satan gained a foothold. As a result, man's body (his outermost part) became corrupted, while his spirit (his innermost part) became deadened. Because of this, fallen man has no sense of God. Although his five physical senses function normally, his spirit — by which he may contact and realize God — is deadened. Thus God becomes the object of mere philosophical speculation. Even though God is real, man has lost the ability to perceive Him. In short, fallen man is dead (Eph. 2:1). Furthermore, without real inward life, man is swept away from God by the course of this age (Eph. 2:3), like a fragile leaf in a turbulent stream. This is why we are so easily carried away with various fashions and trends. Only a living fish can swim upstream. As long as we are spiritually dead, we are powerless to fight against the current of this present age. Exhortation can never improve a dead man. Our unique need is to be made inwardly alive.
The Recovery of Man
Yes, man fell. But how wonderful it is that still God did not abandon us. Two thousand years ago, a little man appeared on the scene. He walked this earth for 33½ years, was crucified, and was buried. But then something marvelous happened — He rose from the dead. Now in Him is the power of life that can meet our inward need. Now as the life-giving Spirit He is available (2 Cor. 3:17-18) and able to quicken our deadened spirit. Yes, Jesus is the hope of fallen man.
How to Receive Christ
Why not try an experiment? Try speaking out sincerely, "Lord Jesus, I receive You." This isn't some old-time religion; this is a definite experience. You'll experience Christ getting in and changing your being from the inside. That hidden part within will become enlivened and empowered. You'll become a member of another race — the race of men with shining faces, those who have come to know the life of Christ in their spirit. It's by this that we may be saved from the fall of man and from the course of this age.
The Christian Life
Yet after receiving Christ, many attempt to live by imitating Him. How short this is of God's goal! The glove does not imitate the hand — it contains the hand. Man also can never successfully imitate Christ. He is created to be filled with Him. A monkey can be trained to dress like a man, sit like a man, and even eat like a man. But when the show is over, the money drops his act and scampers off on all fours for a banana. Suffice to say that a monkey, through imitation, can never express a man. In the same way, the Christian life is not an act — it is a life of being filled with Christ. Daily we must be filled and conformed to Him. As we behold Him in prayer and in His Word, something is happening inside us — we are being transformed into the same image (2 Cor. 3:18). Eventually Christ is formed in us (Gal. 4:19) and we become like Him (1 Jn. 3:2) — the full expression of God. To receive Christ takes only a moment, but to be conformed to His image takes a lifetime. If you have never received Christ, we invite you — open to Him. If you have received Christ, we encourage you — behold Him and allow Him to spread throughout your entire being. This is man in the image of God. And this is the meaning of human life.