God's Design for Man

God made everything by his own design - or by the blueprint of his own will. (Rev 4:11) "….for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Eph 1:11) "…according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will :"

Science has discovered and publicized the amazing harmony and design of the universe - especially of earth, in all the harmonious interaction of all its elements of nature. So intricate is this design in what is called "the balance of nature" that great care must be taken to prevent its disruption by man, in order to avert ecological disaster. Much time and money is being spent in global conferences to address this concern.

As surely as there is appropriate jealousy for working with the design of God in “nature”, so there should be concern for the design of God in “man”. You see, God designed man with a specific purpose in mind. It is obvious that a thing works best when it is functioning in accordance with its design.

I worked at a filling station once, (so many years ago that the price of regular gasoline at that time was 25 cents a gallon). A man in a large Cadillac pulled up to the pump and told me to fill the car with a type of gasoline that back then was called "ethyl". It was significantly higher in octane than regular gasoline. He left, and soon came back very angry. Evidently I didn't hear his request for ethyl, because I had filled the car with regular, and the engine was knocking very badly. I returned his money with apology for the error. This concession didn't satisfy him because his car was running poorly. I don't blame him. The car was designed for ethyl and I had filled it with regular. Likewise when we try to live our lives out of harmony with God's design of humanity we will find ourselves in increasing difficulty and ultimately broken in failure.

Consider the creation of man: God's design for man was evidently more special than for the rest of creation. On the third, fourth, and fifth day when God created elements of nature God saw all that he had made, and the bible says "behold it was good". But after God had made man on the sixth day the bible says that "God saw all that he had made, and behold it was VERY good". In other words, the crowning of God’s design in his creation was humanity.

It is really not hard to find out what the design of man is all about. That is because we have an important key to understanding man's design with the teaching of scripture that “man was made in God's image”. To understand the image of man we only need consider the nature of God - and for that we have plenty of scripture.

God made man in his own image therefore the image of God is the design of man. Consequently, the proper function of man requires that he have the image of God. This image of God was lost from the fall of man until the coming of Christ but is now once again available through the experience of salvation described as being "born again".

Man is designed to function in God’s image, not man’s image. This means that the current “social image” of what a human is supposed to be is frustrating to God’s design of man. Although the image of God was lost to man from the fall of Adam until the coming of Christ, it is now once again available through a miracle called “the new birth”.

Once a person has been born again he has renewed access to the image of God. (2 Cor 3:18) "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (Rom 8:29) "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." It is by this new birth that you and I can function within God's design of us as his image.

The bible is the best place to begin to determine whether we are operating in accordance with God's design for us. If we discover in its teachings that we are not functioning within the design that God has for us then we must return to the creator and present ourselves to him so that he can remake us according to his purpose. (Rom 12:1-2) "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (2 Cor 5:17-18) "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. {18} And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;"

So how were you and I designed? We were designed to be the ongoing expression of Christ in the earth. Since the above scripture says we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, we can see our design in the living of Jesus Christ.

We are therefore designed by God to be the current living expression of Christ as his body in the earth. (1 Cor 12:27) "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." Whatever the bible says about Christ in his ministry to men is relative to us, inasmuch as we are the current living body of that expression.

In subsequent articles we will examine aspects of our design in much greater detail, but a brief overview of some of the elements of God's design in Jesus and in us seems appropriate for this article. To understand our design we must understand the ministry of Christ.

Jesus was the manifestation of God . (1 Tim 3:16) "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory ." “Godliness” by this verse is “the manifestation of God in flesh”.

We too are called to godliness: (1 Tim 6:11) "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness...." (1 Tim 2:2) "..that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." We are designed to be the manifestation of God in the earth as the current body or expression of Christ - so that the glory of God can be seen in us. That is our design.

Jesus was the light of the world . (John 8:12) "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: ..."

We also are the light of the world. Since that is his design it is our design. (Mat 5:14) "Ye are the light of the world. ..." (Eph 5:8) "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:" Light is exposing and illuminating by design. Our living should be the light of truth that reveals to men their need of God - as they see themselves in contrast to us.

Jesus was the son of God . (Mark 1:1) "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;"

We also are the sons of God. That is our design. (1 John 3:2) "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

As sons of God we are designed to do always those things that please our father. Since God is our father we must to guard his honor as his sons - and do justice to the family name.

Jesus was the righteousness of God (1 Cor 1:30) "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:"

Likewise we are the righteousness of God: That is our design; (2 Cor 5:21) "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." As the righteousness of God we are designed to do the right thing - no matter what the cost may be. Doing the right thing is our design. The rightness of God can be seen by any careful and honest observation of our conduct.

Jesus was eternally alive . (Heb 7:25) "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." We then are also eternally alive: That is our design; (1 Tim 6:12) "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life...." (1 John 2:25) "And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life."

We are designed to live forever: Not to be in fear of death, or live as though all we have is this life of roughly 70 years. The child of God is never going to really die; so it is the will of God that we give ourselves to joyful living, as though forever existing. It is in fact the way we are designed.

Jesus was separate from this world. (Heb 7:26) "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, ...; "

We too are designed to be separate from this world. (2 Cor 6:17) "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," (Rom 12:2) "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (1 Pet 4:4) "Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:"

Separation from the world of unbelievers is very important in that God designed us to be a priesthood - separated unto him to make intercession for people in the world. Furthermore friendship with the world that hates God results in our enmity with God, and must be avoided. We are not designed for oneness with the world, and we will be destroyed by it.

Jesus increased in stature and wisdom . (Luke 2:52) "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."

God wants us to grow and increase: It is our design; (1 Th 3:12) "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:" (2 Pet 3:18) "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."

Every living thing in creation seems designed to grow. Likewise, we are expected by God to grow. It is part of our design. (Eph 4:15) "But speaking the truth in love, ..grow up into him in all things...” God is glorified when we want to move forward in God, and increase our effectiveness and service to him.

Jesus rose from the dead . (1 Cor 15:4) "And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

We too are designed to be continually raised from the deadness of yesterday into the life of today. (Eph 5:14) "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Col 2:12) "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."

Jesus glorified God by rising from the dead, and by that resurrection God declared him to be the son of God. Likewise, we are designed to rise from impossible situations with resurrection power, and thereby bring glory to God.

Jesus was submitted to God . (Phil 2:8-9) "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. {9} Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:" (Mat 26:39) "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

We too are designed to be submitted to God. (James 4:7) "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." In submission to God we allow God's control of us, and what God controls extends him. As the extension of God, we are designed to have authority over those things that are not of God, in order to establish the will of God in the earth. This brings the kingdom, or government of God to those areas of life. This is the design of God and it works.

Jesus worked the miracles of God. (John 2:11) "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." (John 2:23) ".. many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did." (John 3:2) ".. Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

We too are designed to work the miracles of God. (John 14:12) "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (Mark 16:17-18) "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; {18} They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." The miracles of God happen when we gather together to worship him. From speaking in tongues, to living above sin, to healing of dreaded diseases; these miracles happen because we are designed for interaction with the miracles of God.

Jesus spoke the word of God (John 14:10) "...the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:24) "... and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."

We too are designed to speak the word of God. (1 Th 1:8) "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad...." (Rom 10:8) "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach,"

God works through men to help men, and the greatest way that this is accomplished is by the word of God that comes through you and I to others. We literally have the power by the words we speak to cause people to change for the better. Of course, that is because it is the word of God, rather than our own words, that we speak. This happens by what we call "the anointing", or the empowering of our speech by the spirit of God. The speaking of the word of God is what we were designed for.

Jesus was filled with the spirit . (Luke 4:1) "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,"

We too are designed to be filled with the spirit. (Acts 2:4) "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Eph 5:18) "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" It is not the will of God that we simply be touched by the Holy Ghost. It is God's will that you and I be filled with his spirit. (Ezek 36:27) "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

It is the Holy Ghost that enables us to live out God's design. Living God's ways doesn't make sense to the carnal mind, and neither does the words that the Holy Ghost causes us to say. But those words are the creative force of God and out of the words of God comes the ways of God - and we find ourselves doing the right things. It is mysterious, but it is the design of God.

This then is the official position of New Life Assembly. Man was designed and made to be the extension of God in the earth. The failure of Adam to fulfill this image design of God was corrected by the successful expression of the image of God in the person and living of Jesus Christ. God has made Jesus the current design for all men out of which we grow into the that body of Christ in the earth - manifesting God in numerous ways and situations. We therefore affirm that the members of New Life Assembly are by design the body of Christ, and are growing into the full expression of Christ as his body.

According to his eternal design God has raised Christ from the dead "and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Eph 1:22-23) The church then is designed to be the fulness of God in the earth and this is therefore the mission of New Life Assembly.

By revelation we are at last beginning to see what God’s design for man really is. We anticipate that in the days to come that when faith is increased people will at last accept and function in that image of God which he has kept by his power “ready to be revealed in the last time”.

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