Sin 21: Made in the Image of God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 5, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The Gospel message is not merely about God saving mankind from Hell. That is part of it and that is great news, but Hell is just the punishment for sin. When preachers and evangelists stop at that point, they miss the point of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t merely die to take the punishment for sin upon Himself, though that is a huge and necessary part of it all. He died for much more than that. He died to save us from ourselves, to save us from our own sin itself. Our preachers and evangelists (and me too) need to emphasize this even more than we have been. Jesus died to save us from ourselves.

Our sinful nature is outright rebellion against God, and Jesus died to save us from that rebellion and that rebellious nature. This all goes back to Genesis 1. To understand the Gospel, you have to understand Genesis. When God created man, He made man in His image. Man is meant to be a reflection of God, a physical demonstration showcasing of what God is like, albeit in physical, finite form. That is why we are able to showcase what are called the “communicable” attributes of God such as love, wrath, justice, mercy, compassion, and even holiness. There are things we do not get from God such as His omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence; however, we are meant to showcase what God is like in our finite, temporal ways.

Yet when Adam and Eve sinned, that image was tainted and corrupted. While there are still pieces left, for the most part we no longer give a good image. Now, don’t misread me. When I said that we still have some remnants of the image of God, I am not talking like the Gnostics and the Progressives or Word of Faith people that we are “little gods” and we have “divine nature” still in us. That’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about how even sinful people are able to love, execute justice upon evil, and even know what is right and wrong. Many sinful people are not inherently “wicked” in a pure general moral sense; they just want to do things their own way and not God’s way. Jesus came to die so that He could save us from ourselves, our own self-righteousness, our own self-destructive ways, our own limits that lead us to disaster, and our own stupidity for that matter.

Last week, I talked about the process of sanctification and how this is a process that removes sin from our lives. This is also a process that conforms us into the image of Christ. Salvation does not take a wretched prisoner in rags and just turn him loose. It takes that wretched, dirty prisoner and clothes him in royal garb, gives him the crown of an heir, adoption as a son of the King of Kings, and training to be a warrior in God’s army and a rule in the Kingdom of God. Please check out this video by Eric Ludy to visually see this. The goal of the Christian life is to go from a wicked, sinful wretch into an image-bearer of Christ.

One of the key verses for this is Romans 12:2. We are not to conform to the pattern of the world. We are not to bear the image of this world and how the world thinks. We are not to think as the world does or operate as the world does. This is not just about morality here; this is about worldview and paradigms. I harp on origins frequently for two reasons; it has been the focus of my studies on apologetics, but more so because it showcases the issues we face so easily and clearly.

For much of church history, origins was never really challenged in the church. The pagan cultures had their myths, but even when the church confronted the Gnostics who had their own very twisted origins models (that sounded much like the OEC/Evolutionary models of today), they really only needed to address God as Creator to establish the Creation account as written. However, things have changed today. Origins is a major front on the assault on the authority of Scripture and what makes it so sneaky and tricky is that the “science” never mentions the Bible and that is intentional. The models for millions of years were developed with the intention of creating an entirely different history that would completely undermine the authority of Scripture, but they never mention Scripture so believers would not recognize it was being attacked. It has worked well. As Christians, we should not have anything to do with such ideas, yet up to 90% if not more of churches and denominations either teach the “millions of years” as fact or at least do not make a stance on this issue. And they wonder why we are losing 90% of our kids. We are not to conform to this world’s system. That includes Deep Time, New Age mysticism, Marxist ideals for “Liberation Theology,” and that even includes “Christian Nationalism.”

Instead, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are to have a completely changed worldview that aligns to God’s worldview, which is revealed in Scripture. The sinful nature keeps showing up in its resistance to letting God be God and surrendering self to no longer have a say on the matter. God is the Creator. We are the creation. We don’t have a say in what God does, what God did, or how He does things. We can plead with Him, beg for His mercy, etc., but He is God and what He says goes. The Christian, the born-again believer, strives and seeks to be like God in God’s way. Not our way but God’s way. As Christians, our duty is to work with God in the transformation process so we look less like ourselves and look more like Christ.

The end goal is to be a reflection of Jesus Christ. All we have to do is work with the process. It is God who does all the actual heavy lifting; we just get to go along with Him for it. We’ll look bad and clumsy and silly, but we’ll want to be like Jesus as we work alongside Him. And Jesus didn’t get to where He got just by “being God.” He got there through suffering and learning obedience through suffering. So, if we are to be like Jesus, we too will go through suffering. That suffering is what produces the sanctification and holiness in our lives. It is something many of us desire, but we don’t want to go through the cost to get it.

So many people try to compare their lives to those around them and think they are just fine. But there is only one life who will be used as the standard on Judgment Day: Jesus Christ. We will all be compared to Him. Every man will give account for each thing done, said, and thought about. It is on that day that all sin will finally be dealt with once and for all.

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