As deep and pervasive as the effects of sin have been on humanity, our plight is not irreversible.
The Bible speaks about the possibility of renewal and restoration of the image of God in us, at least to some degree.
The Bible clearly holds up the hope for us to be remade in God’s image. The renewal of the image of God in humanity is accompanied by a reduction of the effects that sin has had on us and our relationships. None of this, however, is the result of man’s own achievement. The Bible points to Christ as being the basis of hope for man’s renewal; also, whatever changes are wrought in our lives, our hope of salvation must rest always on what Christ has accomplished for us and the offer of salvation based on His righteousness, not our own.
How is 2 Corinthians 5:17 related to the re-creation of man in God’s image? Does being a new creature place a person beyond the reach of sin and its effects on the human experience? What does your own experience tell you about the answer?
Overall, the evidence from Scripture leads to the conclusion that spiritual renewal comes at the cost of watchfulness in a spiritual warfare. It is a warfare between the flesh and the spirit (Gal. 5:16-17). Those who are being renewed in God’s image find this spiritual warfare to be the reality of the human experience, and thus they embrace the challenge in the strength of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-13). To choose to be re-made in the image of God is to place oneself on the side of God in the great controversy. Writing about those who have experienced the renewing power of Christ, Ellen White noted, “But because this experience is his, the Christian is not therefore to fold his hands, content with that which has been accomplished for him. He who has determined to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Each day he must renew his consecration, each day do battle with evil. Old habits, hereditary tendencies to wrong, will strive for the mastery, and against these he is to be ever on guard, striving in Christ’s strength for victory.”-The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 476, 477.