Reflecting God's Image
What does it mean to be created in God's image and what are the implications? Pastor Oliver draws our attention to The Great Commission.
We have spent the last three weeks looking at Genesis 1-2 as part of our new sermon series titled Foundations. One of the verses we covered was Genesis 1:26-27:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
What does it mean to be created in God's image? Some Bible teachers and scholars tell us this means human beings are made to resemble God in the communicable attributes (those attributes human beings can have). Some of these attributes include love, goodness and kindness. Others point to the creation of animals before. They said that human beings possess qualities that make us distinct from animals, e.g. intelligence, creativity and emotions. Others point to "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." in verse 26 which implies a triune God in relationship with one another. They also point to human beings created male and female (Gen 1:27). They say that human beings resemble God in that we are made for relationships. Yet others point to human beings having dominion (here, it means caring rulership) over creation (Gen 1:26) as to how we are made like God. I am convinced to be created in God's image means all the above. Whatever it is, it is clear that human beings are meant to be image-bearers of God—we were designed to reflect God, our Creator.
God then gave a commission to the man and woman in the very next verse, Genesis 1:28:
And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Human beings are meant to reproduce and fill creation biologically. And in doing so, exercise wise stewardship and caring rulership over creation. As man and woman obeyed God's commission, this meant that more and more God's image-bearers would be produced. When this happens, God's image will be extended throughout creation, magnifying God's glory. As the prophet, Habakkuk said later in the Bible,
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Hab 2:14)
As God's image-bearers spread out throughout the earth, the whole world would know God, and God's glory would be magnified.
However, as we shall see at this weekend's sermon, the "Fall" happened. Sin came into the world, and everything was broken. The "Fall" marred God's image-bearers. No longer would we desire and seek to reflect God's image and glory, but we became seekers after our self-glory. Sin appeared to thwart God's original design. However, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world in the fullness of time. Jesus came to die on the cross in our place for our sins. He was raised to life so that we can receive eternal life. God, in Christ Jesus, begins restoration of the image we bear. Through the Word and by His Spirit, God changes us to become more and more like His Son Jesus Christ, who perfectly reflects and images God. As believers grow to resemble more and more like Jesus Christ, churches become outposts that shine the glory of God to the world.
Jesus himself gives us a new commission in Matthew 28:16-20. As believers proclaim the gospel and make disciples, more image-bearers are created to reflect God's glory. For the new-testament people of God, God's commission in Genesis 1:28 has been transformed in Christ. It is no longer just about biological reproduction but also spiritual reproduction. As we make disciples and establish them in the gospel, more image-bearers are produced that reflect the glory of God in Jesus Christ. In doing so, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Grace Baptist Church, let us make disciples, and together with these image-bearers, reflect the glory of God!
1. Quarterly Congregational Meeting (QCM)
Come and join us for the QCM this Sunday as we talk about matters in the church. Let us come together as members of the church to hear, pray and participate.
Sunday, 4 July 2021, 2pm, via Zoom (http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/gbcmeets)
Meeting ID: 811 3951 2831
2. Resuming In-Person Worship Services
Grace Baptist Church will resume our in-person services this weekend. You can register to attend the services here. We would also have to submit to government regulations on COVID-19 safe management plans. You can read the summary of what it means for us here. We will also continue to livestream our weekend services. Please join us for our Saturday 5pm and Sunday 9am services via YouTube if you are not able to join us for in-person services. Please pray that God will prepare our hearts for the service and to hear His Word. We continue in our series in Foundations and will be hearing from Genesis 3.