The image of God.
What does it even mean? It can be like a vague idea that doesn’t impact how we lead at home, work, or church. But what if it actually played an important role in our daily lives? Turns out, it does.
- Sin corrupts
We are made in the image of God. Made to know God and make Him known. Made to be ambassadors of reconciliation. Made to bear God’s image in all the ways that he equips us. But sin. We all have sinned and just miss the mark. Romans describes how we can fade (Romans 1:18-25). Our thinking becomes worthless (v. 21). Our hearts are darkened (v.23). The image of God that could be showing so clearly through us now isn’t everything that it was intended to be.
- We exchange
Yet it doesn’t stop with our lives being corrupted by sin. We start looking, but as we are no longer reflecting God’s image and his goodness like we could, we make an exchange. We decide seeking other things, lesser gods–idols–to worship. And? We begin to reflect whatever it is that we worship. One psalmist describes it this way:
“Those who make them [idols] are just like them, as are all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:8).
As we give our lives over to seeking and worshipping anything less than God himself, we reflect those things in place of the Creator who gives it all life. Power, money, fame, sex–the image we begin reflecting can be deeply scarred.
- We change
We become blind. No longer worshiping God’s image, we start to be blind to seeing it.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Then, we can’t see Jesus as He is. Life becomes hopeless, apart from the grace of God. And this grace? Changes everything. The grace enters by the Holy Spirit’s power, and just as Jesus healed many from physical blindness, our spiritual blindness is lifted. It shows us the sinfulness of our fallen world, God’s righteousness, and the judgment coming and our rebellion. Only when we see the depths of our sin can we see the power of Jesus’ redeeming life.
- He restores
Seeing Jesus as He truly is, is our first step toward the imago Dei being restored within us. The step that can bring us back into reflecting his image as we were made to, and being the men and women God has created us to be. This restoration doesn’t stop with our first step; it continues as we live for Jesus, following Him and trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We start changing, being restored, more fully reflecting God’s image.
“We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
And your journey with the image of God is just beginning.
These ideas are adapted from LifeWay’s Imago Dei Bible study created in partnership with The Gospel Coalition and Mike Cosper. Check out the resource to see how understanding the image of God can continue to impact your life as you understand it biblically, relationally, and missionally.
Deborah Spooner is a Minnesota-born analytical creative serving as a Marketing Strategist for LifeWay’s Groups Ministry. As a pastor’s daughter with a background in Digital Communications and Media and Biblical & Theological Studies, you can find her at her local church, in deep conversation, or with a book or pen in hand as she seeks to know Christ more and make Him known.