This is my first blog post in years so please bear with me as I try to be coherent. I believe that this subject is much more vast than I can understand or try to explain and yet it has such importance that it should bear weight in our every day lives. I daresay that a proper knowledge, understanding, meditation and application upon such a topic should be life transforming.
This post is a summation of many of the things that I have been thinking about in the past few months. I’ve been learning and understanding the depth of what it means that God is for God - God is ultimately about his glory. It is my sincere belief that this truth needs to be taught explicitly, regularly, and consistently within the church.
God is for God
“God’s holiness is his perfect and pure devotion to the pleasure he has in himself and his glory. His holiness is his love of himself. God’s holiness is…mainly and summarily in his infinite regard or love to himself, he being the greatest and most excellent Being.” - J.Edwards
The gospel is not just about us, but it is truly and supremely about the glory of God. - it is about restoring the image of God to all things. Which brings me to my meditation of the significance of being made in the image of God.
The Intended Image
We as human being have the tremendous blessing of being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Why is this significant? God loves his image because he is “the greatest and most excellent Being” and there is no one or nothing greater. God created us out of pure joy and pleasure from himself.
Not only did God create us to image himself, but he made us to spread that image. “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 earth.” Genesis 1:28 God created man as his representative over the earth so that man could spread the image of God while displaying the glory of God.
Clearly, that is not the condition of man any longer but chapter one in the book of romans paints the true picture: “[they] exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animal and creeping things.” (they being us) Our greatest sin is that we have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for infinitely lesser images. How audacious are we in our cosmic treason! God himself says that the penalty of our heinous sin is death and his wrath.
As sinners, we no longer image and reflect the glorious God as we were made. But God in his perfect wisdom planned out a salvation that would restore this image and he alone would receive all the glory due him.
The Perfect Image
Though we as created beings reflect and image God to a very very small degree, there is one who perfectly reflects and images God to himself - his son, Jesus (Colossians 1:15, John 14:9). For all eternity past, the Son has been the Father’s object of all divine affection and perfect delight. While on earth, God explicitly expressed his pleasure in Jesus (Mark 1:11, 9:7). Jesus stepped into time and took the form of his creation - yet was without sin and obeyed the Father perfectly in all things to the point of death (Hebrews 4:15, Philippians 2:8, John 6:38, 8:29).
The image that we marred, mocked and belittled, was properly reflected perfectly in the life of the Jesus. God determined that the restoration of his image in all of creation would be by the substitutionary death of his one and only son.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we have sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all…Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” Isaiah 53:5-6, 10a
The Restored Image
The object of all divine pleasure and affection for all eternity past would become the object of God’s full, ferocious, and furious wrath. Why? For God’s glory. To restore God’s image in man and in creation. - we, as saved sinners, can once more enjoy the pleasure of God upon us by our image/God reflecting relationship through the blood of Jesus.
I cannot think of a better passage to summarize some of my thoughts than colossians 1:15-23:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the death, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith , stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
God is about his glory, God is about his image. God is for God.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” Romans 11:36