Summary: Sermons explains "becoming saved" and "being saved" using the idea that God’s image is in us.
THE IMAGE OF GOD IN US
Tony Compalo is a sociology professor. He is also an ordained Baptist minister. One day he takes a late-night flight, and the passenger next to him wants to talk. He brags about how important he is, and goes on for what seems to be an eternity. Finally, the passenger asks Compalo, “So, who are you?”
“Oh, I am someone very important.”
“Really, what’s your name?”
“My name is Tony Compalo.”
“Huh...never heard of you.”
“Oh, it’s not me that’s really well-known. It’s my father.”
“Yeah...well, who’s your father?”
“Mister, I am the son of God!”
The man looks at him as if he had just escaped from an asylum, and asks, “Are you okay?”
Compalo explains that as a Christian, he is a brother of Jesus and a son of Almighty God. Likewise, brothers, we too bare the image of God in us.
Genesis 1:26-27 tells us: Then God said, ‘let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air; over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
We are made in god’s image and likeness. God made us. He loves us. We are his masterpiece. Therefore, we should not worry–God will take care of us. In Matthew 6:25-27 Jesus says: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much ore valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Not only will God take care of us. He will redeem–or pay the price for–our wrongdoings. No matter what evil we have done, we are still creations of God. We still have hope and worth. Consider the story of Cain. Genesis 4:15-17 says: But the lord said to him, “not so; if anyone kills Cain he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then the lord put a mark on cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the lord’s presence and lived in the land of nod east of eden. Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.
Even though Cain murdered his own brother, God spared his life and commanded others to do likewise. There was still worth in him–still hope. That hope eventually bares fruit in his son, Enoch. From the beginning of time until now parents have tried to justify their difficult and seemingly failed lives by looking to the successes of their children. Indeed, if we look at the genealogical line of Cain we find that his descendants became raisers of livestock, musicians who played harps and flutes, and forgers of tools made out of bronze and iron. Perhaps they were not the most glamorous figures in history. Yet, most seemed to make contributions to their communities.
It is wonderful to know that I can redeem my life through my children, and through God’s mercy. How do I go about obtaining God’s forgiveness? The answer is found in the Good News. The image of God is restored within us when we are saved. Ephesians 4:24 says, “And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” When we become part of the kingdom of God, through belief in Christ and repentance, we put on a new self–which is the image of God! Our original godly images were distorted by the poison of sin that entered humanity when Satan deceived Adam and Eve. Thank God for his pronouncement against the Devil in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heal.” Jesus has crushed Satan, and his curses. This means that sin and death are no longer our nature. We can once again bare the unblemished image of God in us!
Leaving the theological language and imagery behind, what we have just learned is that we can succeed at being righteous–or, simpler yet, we can be good. Galations 5:22-23 lists the good characteristics we are capable of if we wear the full of the image of God: But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. The key here is that these are fruits of the Spirit, not of our labor or will power. Zecharia 4:6 says that our victories are, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the lord.” My prayer is that God will fill us with his Spirit, that we might live the fruits of the Spirit. Amen? Amen!