Friday, April 15, 2016

The Image of God

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,” (Genesis 1:27).

“…be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth,” (Ephesians 4:23 – 24).

The Gospel message is that we were created in the image of God and that through sin that image in us has been desecrated; we have fallen from the glory of God, from the image of God. In Jesus Christ we can be reconciled to God and in that reconciliation the image of God is restored in us.

When we repudiate that image we repudiate the Gospel, and when we repudiate that image we no longer have the glory of God as our trajectory, but rather a swirling vortex of confusion tossing us every which way, destroying everything within it.  

Since Jesus Christ is the express image of God (Hebrews 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15; John 1:14 – 18), humanity’s assault on the image of God is an assault on Jesus Christ and it not only leads to confusion about humanity’s own identity (as desecrated as it may be) but it also leads to confusion about Jesus Christ.

Mankind has sought to redefine itself throughout history, exchanging the glory of God for image after image, external images and internal images – whatever those images have been is what humanity has been transformed into. Thankfully, in the ebb and flow of history God’s mercy and grace has preserved us from the full measure of self-destruction and self-repudiation, from collective suicide.

When we thought it improper to worship actual images of animals we adopted the myth that we come from animals, which in turn allowed us to behave worse than animals and to worship no longer images of animals but ourselves. Apparently we think that because we are gods we can do what we want, including changing ourselves into myriad forms and insisting that all of those around us bow down before our new self-images – worship what we worship or there will be trouble.

The professing church has acquiesced in the foregoing by abandoning the field of morals and ethics and righteous behavior – in ceasing to teach its own people to live in holiness and righteousness and truth, and in no longer teaching its own people to obey all that Jesus has commanded us. We seek to please those within congregations rather than please God, and have thereby brought idols into the temple just as those in ancient Judah brought idols into Solomon’s temple. The professing church, including some of its academic institutions, would also rather please the world rather than God – the approval of the world means more to us than the approval of God.

If the professing church will not clearly articulate the Word of God, and if we will not live righteously, then we can hardly expect the world around us to understand what we mean when we speak of the image of God – because the image we portray is confusing and without definition.

We must cling to Jesus, proclaim Jesus, and seek to bring others to Jesus – but if we are ashamed of the image of God in Jesus Christ, if we are ashamed of Jesus – of His holiness and righteousness and truth…of His Cross…if we are ashamed to be identified with Him by living in obedience to Him…then what? Is the church participating in the collective suicide of humanity? 

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