Image Bearer – Part 5

 Jesus came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. [Ephesians 2:17 NIV]

Jesus mends what we have broken. Sin has always been the divisive tool in relationships and scars the image of God within us. Early in the 1800’s of our country’s history there is the famous Hatfield’s and McCoy’s feud that was not settled till recently. Feuds have been going on since the beginning of human history. Since the Rebellion of man to God’s rule in His Garden, there has been and continues to be a bitter, continuous hostility between families lasting generations. And it usually starts with a bitter quarrel or contentious argument. And shamefully Church history is filled with feuding.

Sin has always been the divisive tool in relationships. Here is the good news. Jesus Christ tore down the divider between men and between God and men. The division that sin has erected has been obliterated by Jesus Christ. He has broken the divide between us and God and He has shattered the walls that separate men from one another. We have been brought near to God and as such we have also been brought near to one another. Jesus mends the relationships we have broken.

Because of the reconciling work of Jesus Christ we who claim Jesus as our Savior must pursue relationships with one another and with the Lord. There is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian in God mind. To be a lone ranger Christian is to live in rebellion instead of redemption. You cannot live the Christian life as outlined in the New Testament apart from living in a vital relationship with other believers in a local body. We must pursue relationships with one another, no matter how messy they can be.

Mark Dever [senior pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. since 1994] commented: “We demonstrate to the world that we have been changed not primarily because we memorize Bible verses, pray before meals, tithe a portion of our income, and listen to Christian radio stations, but because we increasingly show a willingness to put up with, to forgive, and even to love a bunch of fellow sinners.”

Image Builder – Part 4

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” [Genesis 2:18 NIV]

Our world today is crammed full of discord and disunity. We live in a world of fractured relationships. Most people agree that we have a problem with being able to relate with one another. Everyone seems to have an opinion of why we have this problem but we can never come to a solution consensus. And the difference is between how we relate to either God or gods. God created us for loving relationships with Himself and with one another. The gods of this world greedily seek revenge and destruction while preaching peace and harmony.    

When we listened to a lie by a deceiving god, our fall into sin fractured our relationships with God and with one another. The gods of this world seek continually to destroy. God has mended what we have broken by reconciling our relationships with Himself through Jesus Christ.

If you read Genesis chapters one and two, you will find that everything up to that point that had been created was certified good by God. Now God says: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” God declares a man without a companion to be “not good.” This is not just about Adam simply needing a wife. God created us to bear His image. Adam’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs are secondary to Adam’s mandate to bear God’s image. What was not good about man being alone was his inability to fully carry out God’s commands to rule over and subdue the earth. He had no companion in which to share the burden and joys of managing the garden. He had no companion with which to multiplying into a family. God supplied this need for Adam by creating for him a “suitable helper,” with whom He could do the work God.

Sin in our lives causes us to get the mandate turned around. We think that we are created for relationship with each other and then with God. A careful reading of the Scripture points out that God made people first for relationship with Himself and then with each other. Yet as you are painfully aware, you and I do not live in a community that perfectly reflects and brings glory to God. Our society, our families, our marriages, and even our churches are often devastated by shattered community. The first effect of the fall was a broken relationship between God and man, followed closely by fractured relationship between the first couple. Our sin has rendered us perpetual relationship breakers.

Relationships are messy. That is an understatement. However, you and I cannot fulfill God’s call on our lives without being in a relationship with Jesus Christ first and foremost and then with other people. God wants us to quickly repent of the damage we cause in our relationships with Himself and then pursue reconciliation with others. “… now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” [Ephesians 2:13 NIV]