Devotions: Bearing the Image of God (4)

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49). The goal of a redeemed image of God in humans is complete and final restoration into the image of Christ. In Jesus as the “second Adam” we see human likeness to God as it was intended to be (1 Corinthians 15:45). Those “in Christ” therefore, are chosen by God to be “conformed to the image of his son” (Romans 8:29) so that, “when he appears we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). This is not only awesome theology but an earth-transforming goal of redeemed work and effort.

Mosaic of Christ Pantocrator, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54414 (retrieved May 31, 2014). Original source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christus_Ravenna_Mosaic.jpg.

There are many Christians who believe that we will live in a “new earth” during what is called Christ’s Millennial reign (cf. Revelation 20). We will have a thousand years of Satan’s corrosive work chained, of seeing the Good News of the gospel flourish and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Whether this promise is symbolic or not, it gives great hope for the Christian bearing the image of God. Our labor is not only not in vain, but will redound to the glory of God.

What kinds of conclusions can we draw from our bearing God’s likeness and image? First, our work, our creative labor, that for which God has destined us is not in vain. It does and will increasingly show the glory and honor of God. Then, our witness to all peoples who also bear God’s image matters. While many may mock and say this makes no sense, or it is just religious pandering, we know that God is at work in the human effort to extend His creation. Let our work be our witness as we bear the image and likeness of God Himself.

Lord, today as I bear Your image, help me display the beauty and power of Jesus Christ. Thank you I am progressively becoming like Him. Let me lay hold of Your promises and work so as to see the knowledge of God cover the earth, as the waters do the seas.

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Carl Shank

A Christ-follower and mentor of leaders and churches whose life plan is to make an eternal difference in lives for Jesus Christ. Carl currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church (Mount Joy, PA), President of Carl Shank Consulting, and as a Board Member of the Mount Joy Chamber of Commerce. B. S. in Mathematics from Dickinson College. M. Div. and Th. M. from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia Campus). Carl's insights have been a great encouragement to Thomas B. Grosh IV, Associate Director, Emerging Scholars Network. To God be the glory!

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