Made in Image of God

Made Inthe Image of God – The Basis for Our Significance


 Martin Luther said that if he could understand the first twowords of the Lord’sPrayer asChrist did, the rest of his life in Christ would fall into place. Luther’sobservation shows that is it easy to use God’swords, but much more difficult to grasp the reality they signify.

This is true with regards to the “image of God.” Most believershave heard of this concept, but few grasp the profound significance of itsmeaning.

The image of God is a foundational concept for understanding oursignificance and purpose. Understanding how we are made in God’s image helps usto see the basis for the dignity and purpose of our life and work.

The Image of God

Genesis1:26-28 announcesthat human beings are made in the image of God:

Then God said ‘Let us make man in ourimage, according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the seaand over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth.’ AndGod created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male andfemale He created them.

Our worth is connected to our Creator. If God is of great andinestimable worth, then human beings made in his image must be of great value,too.

Our dignity is present in creation, but also after the fall intosin. In Genesis9:5-6, God reminds Noah that man is made in God’s image:

Whoever sheds man’s blood by man hisblood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.

To attack a person is to attack God through his image bearer.Another passage, James3:9, also reminds us that human beings are made in God’s image:

With the tongue we bless our Lord andFather and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God.

These verses remind us that how we treat people is an indicationof  how we value God.

Implications of BeingMade In God’s Image

1. There are no ordinarypeople. 

One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis appears in his book TheWeight of Glory:

There are no ordinary people. Youhave never met a mere mortal. 

The people you see every day, even the ones to whom you givelittle regard, are ones that are going to live forever either under salvationor judgment. Even the most obscure person is not ordinary in God’s eyes.

In light of this truth, how do we affirm the dignity of thepeople around us?

2. We should not focuson our sin for long without also noting God’s grace and our own dignity. 

Today, some people focus on our dignity and self-worth withoutmuch mention of our sinfulness. On the other hand, in the past and in manysectors of the present, the emphasis has been on our utter unworthiness andsinfulness without any note of our dignity or God’s grace.

The apostle Paul offers a different example. He never mentionsthe depth of his sin without also mentioning God’s grace:

·        1Corinthians 15:9-10: “For I am the least of the apostles and donot even deserve to be called an apostle… But by the grace of God Iam what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.”

·        1Timothy 1:16: Paul calls himself the “foremost of sinners,” but alsonotes, “yet for this reason I found mercy…that in me, Christ Jesus mightdisplay his immense patience…”.

We can say the same. No matter what we have done, God’s graceworks in us. To deny or fail to acknowledge this truth is to say that God’sgrace is in vain.

Certainly it is right to take time for self-examination,confession, and repentance. But we should eventually come back to God’s graceand our own dignity stemming from being made in the image of God.

3. The restored image ofGod looks like Christ. 

While the image of God remains after the fall, it is certainlymarred and defaced. As we are redeemed, what will we look like when the processis completed?

Our individuality as created by God will shine even morebrightly, and our gifts will reach their full potential. We will also look likeChrist.

Romans8:29 remindsus that we are being “conformed to the image of his Son.” Jesus is theperfect representative of the image of God, and we are being made like him.

Much more remains to be said on the image of God, but we need tobegin to appropriate the meaning and experience of this idea. If we do, we willsee a revolution in our relationships and in our vision of the “least ofthese.”

What This Means for OurWork

Being made in the image of God provides the basis for our workand vocation. If we are made in the image of God, we share his characteristics.For example, because God is creative, we can be creative in our work, and infact, are called to such creativity – which I’ll dive into more tomorrow.

Also, knowing the basis for our dignity and worth helps usbelieve that we have gifts and talents to employ. I know many people whohaven’t discovered their calling because they don’t believe they have anythingto offer. They don’t believe they have dignity and worth, and fail to recognizetheir God-given gifts as a result.

Rediscovering the biblical doctrine of work begins withunderstanding who we are and where we came from. It begins with knowing we aremade in the image of God.

People are made in God's Image