Image is everything was the name of an ad campaign by Canon in the 80’s which promoted the EOS Rebel camera. It was a brilliant marketing ploy, selling and promoting the quality of the image caught and created by that camera. What you saw is what you got and with the EOS Rebel, you got a great image.
In a world obsessed with image as being what’s on the surface, a biblical worldview imparts much more. For we are made in the image of God – “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our Likeness’” (Genesis 1:26).
Being made in God’s image expresses not only our physical being, it expresses our entire being. For being made in His likeness according to His image means that like God, we also have reason, intellect, will and emotion.
What is wrong with this picture? If man is made in God’s image, what then is the problem, because undoubtedly man has an image problem? In short, man’s image has been marred by man’s sin. And the consequence of our sin runs deep – to the core of our being! In fact, sin separates us from God and the result of sin is the curse of death, both physical and spiritual – “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
There is hope! God desires reconciliation of the broken relationship with man. One consequence of that reconciliation is the restoration of man’s marred image. God desires to restore man’s image as it was for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall – perfect.
God’s salvation provided in the person and work of Jesus is the means of forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. In fact, for those of us who know Christ, we have not only been reconciled to God through faith in Him, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation to those who’ve not yet been redeemed by Him – “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
When you look at a human being what do you see? When I look at another human being, I often struggle to see them as ‘image-bearers,’ made in God’s image. People are of inestimable value to God! Yet I know when I see people more like God sees them, my heart will grow in compassion for them, especially for those who’ve not been reconciled to God. For the Lord sees the sin-stained image of man…and has compassion. He, with compassion, came to serve and to save those whose image has been stained by sin and He calls us to actively engage in His harvest of souls: “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).
Jesus, being God, is also “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). The hope for believers is the hope of resurrection, when in glory, God’s restoration of us as His image bearers will come to full fruition – “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust [Adam] we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Jesus]” (1 Corinthians 15:49). “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
As His witnesses we are called to share with lost people their great value to God and their great need of God. A song and video that has ministered to my heart the past few years is Brandon Heath’s “Give Me Your Eyes”, which you can access here.
May we align our heart with God’s heart, seeing lost people as He sees them and sharing the only hope that can transform and restore the sin-stained image of man – the gospel!