Connection with unit theme: God lovingly created humanity in his image to display His glory through our enjoyment of Him. Sadly, we’ve failed in our task of representing Him. Sin has shattered the image of God in us. We have rebelled from God’s loving rule, pursuing our own enjoyment and glory. Thankfully, through His Son, God restores what we have wrecked.
In 2006, 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, Nike, and other companies. In 2006 he brought in an estimated $25.4 million.
By the end of 2007, 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 . Apparently, Rawlings and Nike did not like being represented by someone convicted of cruelty toward animals. They had no choice but to terminate their relationship. To continue using Vick as a spokesperson would have been tantamount to promoting dog-fighting themselves.1
When you represent someone, everything you do reflects on that person. God created humanity to represent Him and to declare His glory. The command to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:26) was a command to spread God’s glory as His image-bearers to the ends of the earth. Sadly, we abdicated this high calling, bringing shame upon the image of God.
Thankfully, our failure is not the end of the story. Through the work of His Son, God is in the process of restoring what we ruined.
I. We are distorted image-bearers (Gen. 1:26-28, 3:1-24)
Children love to look into carnival mirrors. It is humorous for a short kid to see what he would look like as a tall, skinny guy, and vice versa. We laugh as our faces distort and our bodies stretch out of proportion. Carnival mirrors are fun to play with at the county fair, but their effects would be terrible if they persisted in everyday life. And yet, in a way that is what has taken place. Sin has caused us to 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.
In Genesis 1:26-28 we read the triune God 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. No trees, mountains, stars, or oceans were made after His likeness. In a world without sin humanity accurately reflected the beauty of God.
God lovingly created us in His image to display His glory through our enjoyment of Him. There are implications to this truth.
- We are accountable to Him
- We can trust Him
- Each person has great value
- We have a God-centered purpose
- He intends for us to find our greatest satisfaction in Him.2
As the story of the Bible unfolds we see that humanity chose rebellion over living under God’s loving rule. Nevertheless, humanity bears the image of God, no matter how distorted.
Application: 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.
II. Jesus redeems what we have distorted (Col. 3:9-10)
Every community is somewhat different from the rest. When you move to a new community, take a new job, or transfer to a new school, you learn your new surroundings. Many things look similar, but you soon realize that life isn’t quite the same as it was “back home.” There is no greater difference in communities than between the community of Adam and of “Christ”. In Colossians 3, Paul reminds them that they have been “delivered from the domain of darkness” and “transferred into the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13).
In Colossians 3, Paul urges believers to “put to death” that which belongs to the Adamic community and “put on” that which belongs to the community of Jesus. He reminds them of the great transfer of citizenship that has taken place, telling them, “you have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” In our redemption Christ is restoring that which we have distorted – namely, the image of God.
Application: Someday we will once again accurately reflect God’s glory as we fully enjoy Him. Jesus has already purchased this promise. It is our task to practice what Christ has already accomplished. As believers we measure our growth by our increasing Christ-likeness. 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 shipwreck of that holy calling. 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 believers we are called to be ministers of reconciliation. Unbelievers, you are called to be reconciled to our loving God.