Genesis 1:26-27. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
All of life begins with God and with his love. But what does it mean to be alive? Were we made by God simply to be loved by God, like a pet? The answer the Bible gives is actually way better. Better than being loved? Yes.
To be alive is to image God. The image of God or Imago Dei has been stamped into every human being. Every person bears God’s image and likeness. Nothing else in creation can make this same claim. Not mammals, or birds, or plants, or even angels. Only us. This means the purpose and meaning of every human life is for it to image God. To make the invisible God visible. But what exactly does that mean?
Why the plural our? Because God is a plural. A trinity. A loving community of three that exists as the one God. And that community of love is what we were made to make known to the world.
And what about this word image?
The word image can bring to mind many ancient concepts. An idol imaged a deity. A servant imaged their master. And a son imaged their father. And that last one is the one that we want to grab hold of today – image bearing as son-ship. The Bible says that Jesus is the eternal and uncreated Son of God and therefore he is the eternal image of God. God the Father’s image is God the Son.
Colossians 1:15. [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
2 Corinthians 4:4. …Christ, who is the image of God.
You and I were created in THE IMAGE, Jesus. We were never meant to be THE Image. But we were meant to be IN THE Image. However, our sin and rebellion have caused us to naturally fall short of this.
But the good news is that now, by our union with Christ, the divine image is restored in us by the Spirit. Now our created destiny has been regained. The goodness of being like Jesus has been restored in us by his own indwelling life and death.
Now we see that being made in God’s image is even better than simply being loved. It is the ability to love like Jesus in return. It is the glory of living as he did in the world (1 Jn. 4:17). We are not just loved by him; we are like him. We participate in his life. We share in his story. We manifest his mind, heart, soul, and strength in the word.
“To live is Christ” restores the image and likeness of God to humanity as we become like Jesus. But don’t forget this restored image of Christ in us is a process. A process of learning to live from his life. A process of learning to receive and then share the love of God. A process that one day will be complete when we finally see Jesus face to face.
1 Corinthians 15:49. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].
How do you see your life? What would you say is your purpose? Is it image bearing?
You in Christ
Meditate on how being in Christ is more than being loved by God, it is the ability to love like God.
Christ in you
How can you make the life of Christ visible today?
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