A. Man is good because He is made in the image of God.
In Biblical Evangelism of Gentiles we find that the first message preached to the Gentiles was to a good and righteous man in the sight of God. It is important for us to not assume that God thinks mankind is evil. If we have that attitude it will show in the way we treat those who are not yet sons and daughters of God. It is even more obvious because in many cultures mistrust is endemic, with an attitude that other people are bad.
2. Man is created very good
A. God made man in His image
In Hebrew, the word image is a kind of shadow: h6754. צֶלֶם ṣelem; from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom,
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.”Genesis 1:26
B. And, He said what He created was very good
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.Genesis 1:31
3. Man is created in His Likeness.
A. Not only is he made in God’s image, He is made in His likeness
In Hebrew the root word is different from image, it is (h1819. דָּמָה ḏâmâ; a primitive root; , to resemble, liken, consider: — compare, devise, (be) like(-n), mean, think, use similitudes.
In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.Genesis 5:1
Therefore we are much more than just a physical shadow of Him. We are comparative to Him and resemble Him. Compared to the rest of creation, we even think like Him (for example awareness of self, others, creativity.
4. Man Carries the Glory of God.
A. Mankind carries the glory of God.
This following verse was written under the Old Covenant:
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,Psalms 8:5
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
B. Sin destroys that glory.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,Romans 3:23
C. Being a New Creation restores and magnifies that glory.
The glory we have now is far greater than that given to Adam and Eve.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.2 Corinthians 3:18
Therefore, under the New Covenant we are no longer sinners, and a brand new creation, our glory is greater than that of the angels.
5. Mankind are also Children of God
A. Paul talking to the philosophers and others at Athens:
Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.Acts 17:29
B. All mankind are children of God in the natural sense.
However they have not yet entered the family of God until they have belief in the death, resurrection and enthronement of Jesus.
6. Mankind is Capable of Showing God’s Love
A. Even those who have not entered the family of God are good enough to show love.
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.Luke 6:32
B. The word used here is agapao which is the same love Jesus showed as He died on the cross for us.
7. Job was a Man who God called Good.
Job is one of the first people in the Bible, perhaps from the time of Abraham’s call to leave his home country.
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”Job 2:3
GOD is saying Job is blameless and upright, fears God and shuns evil, showing an example that God see the goodness of man.
8. Cornelius is a Man who God called Good
A. Cornelius is the First Example of a Gentile to Accept Christ
Cornelius’ good works had been noticed in heaven
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.Acts 10:1-4
About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”
So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
B. In Biblical Evangelism of Gentiles you will find the keys to evangelism found in this conversion of Cornelius
Again seeing the goodness man in Cornelius, means we need to look for the goodness of man.
9. Believing Mankind is Good will Empower your Evangelism
In our evangelism we must not assume that all people are bad, and that all people will respond to a message about repentance. Cornelius was an unregenerate man who was good in God’s sight and who believed before he repented.
The goodness of man is not the issue. This is because the issue is entrance into the kingdom of God and the family of God through the New Covenant. Jesus said this:
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:20
Man’s righteousness cannot save him because righteousness is a free gift that comes from a covenant, made by Jesus with any person who believes. This is the New Covenant.
© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/ Dr Neville van Eerten 2021