In the last post, we explored what it means to be created in the image of God. In this post, let’s explore how we should respond to that great privilege and responsibility.
Men Who are Created in the Image of God
Our being made in the image of God is not merely a matter of character, but one of activity and function. In other words, man is to imitate God in what he does – that’s what we’re created to do.
God subdued the chaos and created order. In chapter 2, we will see that Man subdues and rules over creation by cultivating the garden. Intelligent creativity, like God’s work.
After Genesis 3, the Fall into sin, God made it very clear what that imitation of Him would look like. That instruction on His nature has come to us in the Ten Commandments. We are to subdue the chaos in our own hearts and order our lives according to His nature, not our fallen desires.
If we really believed this, how would we act differently when we are alone? What are the major motives for the stuff we do? What is the pattern of most of your days and does God rejoice over you and delight in you as a beautiful reflection of Him?
Check out James 2:8-11.
What does James say about the worth of God displayed in how He treats sin?
How ‘bout that I’m 51% good rule? How ‘bout 90% according to James? It’s an all or nothing test, why?
He who said…
His commandments flow from His nature and being, of which we are an image. We either reflect Him or dishonor Him in thought and deed. There is no in-between.
If we really believed that man is created in the image of God, how would we act differently toward each other? Toward strangers?
He goes on in James 3:1-10.
Here, it just addresses the things we say. What about the things we do to each other? The concept of Imago Dei has profound implications for our conduct toward other people. Every single human being, no matter how marred by sin, or illness, or weakness, or age, or any other thing, still has that status as the image of God. Notice that it is not rooted in the inherent worth of man, but in the worth of God Whose image we bear.
Racism should not even be named among us. All men from every family on earth bear His image. Disdain for those who are mentally slow should not even be named among us. All men, regardless of their mental gifts bear His image. Apathy toward the ongoing slaughter of the unborn should not even be named among us. All human beings, regardless of their stage of life, bear His image. Using a member of the opposite sex as a commodity should not be named among us. He created them male and female…in His image.
Our culture has denied the unique status of man as an image-bearer of God and has devalued human life in many areas – in degrees of apathy toward great injustices to outright hostility of viewing human beings as parasites on the planet.
The image becomes marred. It becomes defaced and we are doing the graffiti. All of us are partakers in dishonoring His image.
Christ is the Image of the Invisible God
This concept of the image of God runs throughout Scripture. The idea is specifically addressed in the Second Commandment. Exodus 20:4-6
Why is that such a big deal, not to try to represent the being of God in a material and visual way?
God provides His own image for us and does not need our help. In a very real sense, these few verses in Genesis 1 point to the day when God would send to us His perfect image.
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He [the Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:13-17)
In Christ, His image would again be marred. It would be dishonored, not because of the rebellion of Jesus, but because of the obedience of Jesus. It would be defaced, not because of sin on the inside of Christ, but because of our sin on the outside.
14 As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— (Isaiah 52:13-53:13)
Jesus was beaten into a shockingly inhuman mass of wounded flesh. God poured out His judgment for our rebellion against our Creator on Christ, His perfect image.
Yet, in the defacing of Christ, the image of God, the beauty of God was gloriously displayed. God’s freedom to be just in His condemnation of sin (which is the dishonoring of His likeness) and to freely and sovereignly justify sinners, who wear their vandalism of His image like a trophy – both actions of God were purchased at the cost of Christ.
And through Him, we have this hope recorded by the Apostle John…
2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. [What is the response to that hope?] 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)
Once again, do you see it? Our striving for purity and holiness is not so we can point the finger at others and condemn them for their impurity. It’s because we want to be like Him. It’s what we’re created to be. It’s what all of us were created to be and so we want others to strive for purity and holiness as well. There’s only one way to obtain it: through faith, trust and dependence upon, the finished work of Christ. He is the image of the invisible God.