Image Bearer – Part 3

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” [Genesis 1:26 NIV]

I have lived in many different communities across America. Every community is different from the rest. When I move to a new place I have to take some time to take stock of my surroundings. What does this community offer? Architecture may be different but basically things look similar. But wait! It does not take long before I realize that life isn’t quite the same as it was “back home.” Likewise, there is a difference in ‘communities’ where people worship Christ and ‘communities’ where people ignore Jesus. The Bible reminds us that because we have distorted the image of God within us, but God, through Jesus Christ, “delivered from the domain of darkness” and transferred those who believe God into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

So if we claim to be of the community of Jesus, then we have a mandate to follow the instruction of God when He urges believers to “put to death” that which belongs to the old community where we once lived and “put on” that which belongs to the community of Jesus. When we become a Christ-one, we are to remember that our citizenship transferred to the community of the Lord Jesus and that now we need “to put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” As we allow God to renew and restore us in His Son’s image, that which we have distorted – namely, the restored image of God is being mirrored in us once again as we obey Him.

It is our task to practice what Christ has already accomplished. This is our goal. This truth also motivates us to be messengers of reconciliation in a world fragmented by sin.

You were created to enjoy God and reflect His glory. You and I made a shipwreck of that holy calling in each of our lives. Yet, God lovingly acted to redeem and restore us in Jesus Christ. Our only fitting response is to turn from life in Adam and, by faith, walk in our new life in Christ. As restored image bearers, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation. If you are still in the community of unbelievers, you are called to be reconciled to a loving God who is waiting for you.

Image Bearer – Part 2

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” [Genesis 1:26 NIV]

Remember the last time that you went to the fair or carnival? Did you spend time looking into the distortion mirrors? “Children” of all ages love these mirrors. We laugh as our faces distort and our bodies stretch out of proportion. And deep down inside we are glad that the images are not real. And yet, in a way that is what has taken place. We are distorted image-bearers. We live in a world of carnival mirrors. Our sin has distorted the image of God within us, and we now live in the midst of others who bear this distorted image.

God tells us that He himself created man in His image, and after His likeness. We are the only part of creation that has this stamp on us. Animals, birds,  livestock, and all the creatures that crawl upon the ground are not made in His image. Not trees, mountains, stars, or oceans were made after His likeness.

Adam and Eve lived in a world without sin. This was the only time humanity accurately reflected the beauty of God. God created us in His image to display His glory through our lives. Before you rush on thinking this is bad science, consider the implications to this truth. That makes us accountable to Him. And since He is our Creator we can trust Him. It also implies that each of us has great value. When men invent something it is to fulfill a purpose. Why would not God place within each of us a God-centered purpose?

If you take the time to read the Bible, you will see that there is a consistent problem with men’s decision-making. As the story of the Bible unfolds you will see that humanity chose rebellion over living under God’s loving rule most of the time. Regardless of whether you believe what God says, humanity bears the image of God, no matter how distorted.

As an image-bearer you have great value, responsibility, and accountability to God. We must admit that our sin has distorted the image of God within us. Our only remedy for this is our redemption in Jesus Christ.

Image Bearer

Part One

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

[Genesis 1:26 NIV]

We have to start somewhere. The big bang theory is too vague. What God says has substance. He gives us a reason for our existence. We exist to display our Creator’s glory.  Both strategically and tragically we have failed in our task of representing God in us. But that is not the end of the story. While sin has shattered us like a mirror the image of God within us, God has provided a new mirror. Adam started the rebellion from under God’s loving rule by deciding that God was holding out on him and we continue the cycle today wanting “freedom.” We keep thinking that pursuing our own enjoyment and glory [being number 1] will bring us peace. What we have wrecked God has mercifully restored new under Jesus Christ

In 2006 playing for the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick became the first quarterback to rush for the illustrious 1,000 yards in a season. Though his team finished 7-9, his future looked bright. Along with his NFL salary, Vick earned money for being the face of Rawlings Sporting Goods, Nike, and other companies. In 2006 he earned an estimated $25.4 million.

One year later Michael Vick was broke and in prison for his contributions to an illegal dog-fighting ring. His estimated losses totaled $142 million, with some $50 million lost in endorsements. Rawlings and Nike did not like being represented by someone convicted of cruelty toward animals. They made the logical choice to terminate their relationship. To continue using Vick as a spokesperson would have been tantamount to promoting dog-fighting themselves.

Presidents are very careful to select Ambassadors who will correctly represent his agenda for the United States. When you represent the president, everything you do reflects on that person. God created you to represent Him and to declare His glory. The command to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:26) was a command to you to spread God’s glory as His image-bearer to the ends of the earth. Sadly, all of us have abdicated this high calling, wrecking the image of God. Because God is the ultimate authority of all creation, our failure is not the end of the story. Through the work of His Son Jesus Christ, God is in the process of restoring what we ruined.