Image of God
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
~ Colossians 1:15 (NIV)
The Bible has a lot to say about humanity. It tells us we were made male and female (Genesis 1:27), that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), are frail (see Psalm 103:14–16), that we are sinful (Psalm 143:2)—the list goes on. Perhaps the most profound thing it says about humanity is that we all have been given the unfathomable honor of bearing the image of God (imago dei). When we view another human being, we see God reflected in them. Even after the fall, despite the sin that resides in all people, humans continue to bear God’s image (see Genesis 9:6). And Christ—the perfect image of God (see Colossians 1:15)—came to redeem us so that we might reflect in greater fullness God’s glory.
As divine image bearers, we have a deep sense of purpose in this world: we are called to reflect God’s character and continue his work. This also shapes how we view and treat others. Each person—whether a stranger, neighbor or co-worker—must be given the dignity, respect and love due them as God’s image bearer.
Humans not only reflect God but also represent him. Ancient rulers often erected images of themselves in various parts of their realms, to represent their authority to their subordinates. We were created in God’s image so we could represent him here on earth, much like an ambassador represents a foreign country.
While we all were created to mirror God, not all of us represent God well. In fact, we all do it imperfectly. This is an important distinction that helps us in two ways. First, it helps us understand how we should view all people—as divine image bearers, loved by God. Second, it highlights the challenge we have of representing God in the world.
When you think of your coworkers, do you see them as people created in the divine image—worthy of dignity and worth that this reality brings with it? Or do you see them as merely a pathway to your own personal gain, even sometimes treating them as sub- human? And how does the truth of the gospel and the grace of God help you better represent God to those with whom you interact each day?
Eternal Father, you said, "Let us make mankind in our image and likeness." Thus, you were willing to share with us your Own greatness. You gave us the intellect to share your truth. You gave us the wisdom to share your goodness. And you gave us the free will to love that which is true and just. Why did you dignify us? It was because you looked upon us and fell in love with us. It was love which first prompted you to create us; and it was love which caused you to share with us your truth and goodness. Yet your heart must break when you see us turn against you. You must weep when you see us abusing our intellect in pursuit of that which is false. You must cry with pain when we distort our wisdom in order to justify evil. But you never desert us. Out of the same love that caused you to create us, you have now sent your only Son to save us. He is your perfect image and likeness, and so through Him we can be restored to your image and likeness. Amen.In Jesus,
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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Devotion taken from NIV Faith & Work Bible.
While we all were created to mirror God, not all of us represent God well.