Imago Dei

IMAGO DEI

Pastor Sherri Drury

Identity. It seems like such a modern conversation or concern. But really, the subject of identity is as ancient as the dawn of time and as common as the human experience. The current times and their particular nuances may have added to the discussion, but the activity of digging underneath all of the layers to find our true identity is not new. We have been wrestling with it for a long, long time. 

I love that our weekly Heaven reading and sermon explored identity and set forth this truth . . . . the most important part of your identity isn’t determined by you, it is determined by Jesus Christ. 

But let’s remember that our determined identity from Jesus Christ did not begin with the cross and the empty tomb, but in a garden. Genesis 1:27 tells us that in the image of God he created them. 

When the New Testament repeatedly reminds us that our identity is found first and foremost in Christ, it may not be as shocking as you might think. It’s tone and cadence is familiar like a tune we’ve once heard. While Jesus determined our identity, God was the source of our identity. 

I want to drink deeply of the concept of Imago Dei, sit in the middle of it, let it pour over me. And so, sometimes I do this activity where I read the following concept from Genesis over and over again, emphasizing a different word each time I read it.

God made us in his image. 

God made us in his image 

God made us in his image. 

God made us in his image. 

God made us in his image.

And in the midst of the repetition, I begin to see that an unshakeable foundation is being built. 

And then I read Psalms 139:13-16 and the truth of Imago Dei grows dearer–becoming not just a universal truth, but a very personal one too.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;

These words speak worth and value to my heart. And so I do the activity again, but this time, I change “us” to “me”.

God made me in his image. 

God made me in his image 

God made me in his image. 

God made me in his image. 

God made me in his image.

We still bear the image of God–we have not lost it entirely. And those of us who hold to this very important foundational truth must not only allow that truth to shape our own security, we must allow it to shape the communities around us. For if we are made in God’s image — so are all the other people we pass during our day. Dignity should be the result–woven into all we say and do. (James 3:8-9). So it only seemed right to tweak the words in my activity again, this time with an outward focus.

God made all in his image. 

God made all in his image 

God made all in his image. 

God made all in his image. 

God made all in his image.

Yes, we still bear the image of God, even after the fall. But we have lost the purity and glory of that image under the giant garbage piles of sin. And any efforts of our own to unearth it and to live fully in it again are in vain. Only Christ can restore it fully. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, . . . . (Ephesians 2:10).

I love the language here — we are God’s masterpiece — reiterating and even elevating the “very good” commendation spoke over us in The Garden. And the underlining of our original identity is now coupled with the new birth in Christ — a different type of creative work — a returning full of possibility and finality. 

How amazing is this?  How life-altering! How life-securing! How life-giving! How life-building! I would love to hear how these biblical truths affect you — please share below.

2 Responses

  1. Being God’s Masterpiece gives me Self worth, Purpose, Motivation and Hope. Thanks for reminding us all, Gary

    1. Thanks Gary for sharing. I love all the words you shared! Purpose is definitely an important piece of being God’s Masterpiece!

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