Home > Uncategorized > Rethinking the imago Dei

Rethinking the imago Dei

I believe God has continued to press into me the value and importance of believers living in community with other believers. Truthfully I think our staff, while gracious, is probably tired of hearing it! The reality remains that we exalt the individual so much in the west we’ve missed, for generations, what true community could look like.

I have the privilege to speak to our Young Professionals this thursday night. I’m leading them through John 17. Now, there is a MOUNTAIN of theologically rich material in John 17. But let me pull out one thread. Jesus asks God to “keep them” in his name so that…verse 11 – “they may be ONE even as we are one.” Jesus is asking for unity that resembles the trinity. It’s absurd. but is it new? Remember Genesis 1:26?

“let us make man in OUR image.” 

Man was made in the image of a community. Let that sink in. remember Man is alone in the garden and for the first time God says, PRE-FALL, that something “isn’t good?” Man by himself was incomplete. he needed another. Only in relationship with another human was creation complete.

So when Jesus prays for us to be ONE, as he and the Father are one, he is envoking the IMAGO DEI. That we are created in the image of a triune God. I believe I may be sticking my toe into the edge of a very deep pool here when I start calling us to re-think the concept of the image of God imprinted onto man. But I think Jesus, in calling for our unity together, is invoking this image.

And guess what he says next. WHY should they be so unified? SO THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE SENT ME. Let me humbly try to get this out while my mind races to catch up with my fingers on this keyboard. I’m sure I will get this wrong this morning, but it woke me up at 5am and I got all jumpy to type it. Throughout history God has given man something on earth to be a visible image of himself. In the Garden it was HE. After the Garden it was his audible voice. After that it was the ark of the covenant. After that it was the temple. After the temple it was Jesus. And then, when Jesus is leaving, he is commissioning the new signpost pointing to God. The new way by which people are to come to God. THE CHURCH!

Kept in the name of God, we reflect the image of God and in our unity people see something true about God. They hear the message of this community: THE GOSPEL, and they believe.

The community of the saints is the visible declaration of the GOSPEL. Unity with God is expressed in unity with one another. When people see this unity, they will make room to HEAR the GOSPEL. This is why I remain convinced the most effective evangelistic tool God has given us is a healthy local church.

Brothers & Sisters (yes I’m going a little preacha here. bear with me): If you want to grow closer to God, go repent to a fellow christian you have wronged. God confess your sin to a brother in the faith. Go encourage a sister in Christ with the glories of Calvary. Cover the bills of a brother who cannot right now. Take communion together this Sunday.

If you want to grow closer to God, consider he’s made you in the image of a community, to live in community, to declare something about THE community.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Josh D.
    October 11, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Spence, I think you nailed it.

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