Image Bearers

image courtesy of Firwood Church
image courtesy of Firwood Church

When God says “let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26a) what does that mean? Why is He intentionally using the plural? It’s this elusive, impossible reality called the “Trinity”, right?

And even more, could it be that God not only created Adam and Eve in His (Their) image, but created them with the imprint of Jesus already on them? And, with the Holy Spirit already dwelling within them? God goes on, ending the Genesis creation account by calling all He had made, most especially mankind, “very good” (Genesis 1:31)

But back to the point: if you’ve ever read the Genesis creation account, have you ever noticed that Adam and Eve, specifically, are the only two beings created in God’s image? Ever? Not even their offspring bear that image…

“When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image…” ~ Genesis 5:3, emphasis added.

So, does that mean we are no longer “very good”? Well, like everything else dealing with scripture, the answer is both yes, and no. No, we no longer naturally bear the imprint of Jesus Christ. No, we no longer are born with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But, what if…?

What if the gospel of reconciliation is true?

In the very first recorded sermon following Jesus’ ascension, Peter admonishes the crowd for missing the clear signs that the Messiah had come among them. Then he says, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away…” – (Acts 2:38-39a, NLT)

Who was he talking to, and what was their sin?

The crowd was primarily Jewish, but this was the Festival of Pentecost (50 days after Passover), so there were also other people from many of the surrounding nations. As Barnes’ Notes on the Bible states, “(After Peter’s sermon), these persons whom Peter addressed had been merely alarmed; they were afraid of wrath, and especially of the wrath of the Messiah. They had no true sense of sin as an evil, but were simply afraid of punishment (for disregarding Jesus as Messiah). He told them to repent, to turn from sin, to exercise sorrow for it…”

Peter pleads with them to be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ…”, acknowledging their understanding that Jesus was who He said He was, and did what He said He would do, so that they “will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”, essentially returning God’s people to their pre-fallen state.

The coolest part of Peter’s entire sermon is that he, essentially, addresses us as well: “For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far away [including the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself” (Acts 2:39-40, Amplified Bible)

For all who are far away [including the Gentiles]—that’s us!

Peter is inviting all who were listening on that day, and even us today, to reclaim our rightful name as image bearers of the one true God, imprinted with the reflection of Jesus, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Another random bit of Biblical thought for your day. Thanks for reading.

 

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