In the 90’s, a popular camera commercial stated, “Image is everything.” I somehow suspect they probably didn’t know just how Scriptural they were!
The term “image” in Scripture means a likeness, representation, or resemblance. When asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus referred to the image on a coin and asked whose it was. Responding to the reply of “Caesar,” He gave the classic response: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” [Matthew 22:20-21]. Although more prevalent in times past, coins today also bear images of past rulers.
In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Here again, the Hebrew word used for image means resemblance or a representative figure. Even Jesus, the second person in the Godhead, when He came to earth, took on the form (likeness) of man and became God with us [Matthew 1:23].
Being made in God’s image means God made man as He intended man to be. Eternal. Perfect. Filled with God’s Spirit. Living in constant contact and conversation with God.
Of all creation, He spoke everything into being – but handmade us. He formed and molded us to resemble Him. How cool is that!
Unfortunately, Adam sinned by choosing to disobey God. From that act, sin distorted our image and changed us into something we were never designed to be. God made us eternal; sin makes us physically mortal. God made us perfect, sin now reigns in us. Although designed for constant communion and filling with God, He removed His Spirit as a result of inherent sin.
Jesus further explains the impact sin has on His intended image for us. In Luke 15:8-10, He describes a lost coin. The coin fell from the money pouch or box in which it was kept safe. Bouncing on the clay or earthen floor and rolling into some obscure corner, dirt, cobwebs, and dust defiled the king’s image on it. Actually, the coin wasn’t even aware of its lost condition.
Just like that coin, sin marred God’s initial image he intended for us to bear. And, without His Word, we would never be aware of our lost, marred state. Without His rescue, our image remains hopelessly distorted.
But there is hope! Jesus came to redeem and reconcile us back to Himself. His sacrificial death on Calvary’s cross makes it possible for our initial image to be restored. Through Christ, we can regain what has been lost to sin.
Through His salvation, we “put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” [Colossians 3:9-10, bold text added for emphasis]. In other words, our distorted image may be restored to the manufacturer’s settings!
Just how do we do that? So glad you asked!
By accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we personally claim His sacrificial death for sin. God’s Word confirms, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” [2 Corinthians 5:17].
With this restoration, God supernaturally reshapes, remolds, re-fashions us into “the image of His Son” [Romans 8:29, bold text added for emphasis]. He removes sin’s filth so His resemblance can shine through once again. The more willingly we submit to Him, the more He transforms us “until Christ is formed” in us [Galatians 4:19].
We were made in God’s image, distorted by sin, and yet can be redeemed, restored, and transformed back into the image for which God initially created us. Each day, we have the opportunity to become more Christlike.
What does that look like?
Paul says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” [2 Corinthians 3:18, bold text added for emphasis].
With God’s Word filling our minds and guiding our hearts, with His Spirit living within us, and with our willingness to allow His transformative restoration, we slowly but surely reflect our King’s image. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up…will draw all people to Myself” [John 12:32]. May my life lift Him up and may my image bear evidence of my resemblance to Him.
Image IS everything! Eternal destinations and rewards depend on it!