Saturday, May 2, 2020

Humanity As the Likeness of God

From the beginning, the purpose and project of creation was to make Man in God’s image and to be like God (compare Genesis 1:26 with Genesis 1:27). It is important to understand that God’s plan was not just to make us in the image of God but also in the likeness of God. Before that happened, though, humankind fell to sin and mortality.

But in the Incarnation, Christ came and joined himself with humankind, uniting with us even in all our brokenness and mortality. Being life, when he finally met death on the cross, he destroyed it, not only for himself but for all humankind. For even at the cross, Christ was joined with all of us.

That is the glory of the Incarnation; it means that Christ did not die on the cross instead of us but as us. His death is not merely counted as ours (a legal reckoning), but his death truly is our death (an ontological reality), so that his resurrection likewise truly becomes our resurrection. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Christ restores us to the image of God, as we are conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Through him, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). That is, through Christ, we become like God, becoming through grace what Christ is by divine nature.

Some have wondered what might have happened if man had not sinned, and the Fall, however we think of it, had not occurred. But we have not been given to know that; we have only been given what actually happened in the economy of God. Whatever happened and however it happened, it happened. Yet God used it to fulfill his divine purpose in Christ, to bring all things in heaven and in earth to unity under the headship of Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).

The cross, then, was not a waste of any kind. Nor was it God’s Plan B, a contingency in case Plan A failed. For it is precisely at the cross that we see the full glory of God revealed as other-centered, self-giving, co-suffering love. There also — and for the same reason — we see the full glory of humanity as both the image and likeness of God.

1 comment:

  1. Jeff, Thanks for the message. Made me think about 2004 sitting in the theater watching "The Passion of the Christ". I can remember thinking to myself while the seen went ON AND ON AND ON of Christ being beaten, WHEN WILL THIS BEATING END?!?!?!? Then it dawned on me it is still going on, even by me. Every new sin is another stripe on our Savior. Then I go on to think about Mel Gibson and his life; what I know of it. God really does use all kinds of people to accomplish his will in His People. Prayers. God Bless Us ALL!