Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 18, 2016
By Tripp Prince.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Genesis 1:26
One of the most remarkable aspects of being a human being is that, as an image bearer of God, you, in your body and in your relationships, have the capacity to reflect the very nature of God Himself. You are able to live your life in such a way that it can point beyond itself, encountering the love of God and sharing that love with the world.
Throughout the history of Christianity, this passage from Genesis has been one of the central verses to our entire understanding of what it means to be human. Rather than seeing “image” and “likeness” as two ways of making the same point, it has often been interpreted as making two separate statements. Simply put, every single human being who has ever lived is made in God’s image, yet the Scriptures remind us that not all humans equally reflect his likeness.
The image of God can never be lost. It is the very basis of what it means to be human. It is the source of our understanding of human rights and the universal dignity of every human being, regardless of anything they can do or say.
However, the likeness of God is offered to us as a potential way of life. It is something that we must conform our actions and desires to- it is the very heart of what is often called “Christ-like living.” It is why Paul said to the Galatians that his great desire was for Christ to be formed in them (Gal. 4:19). Though it was his desire for them, he knew this Christ likeness wasn’t a given, it wasn’t automatic that they would reflect Christ in their lives. The same is true for us today.
We can all think of people, either in history or in our own lives, who have powerfully displayed the likeness of God in their words and actions. We have seen it in their self-sacrifice, their concern for the well being of others, and in their deep humility and consistent character. Yet we have also encountered people whose lives are so distorted by sin and brokenness that they have rejected this potential likeness.
The reality of life is that, if we’re honest with ourselves, we are at times both “likeness bearers” and “likeness rejecters.” There are days that we live our lives with great faithfulness, but others where we come up miserably short. Yet the hope of the gospel is that, when we are faithless, God is faithful. Our failings are never meant to be a cause for despair but instead an invitation to receive God’s grace afresh. The invitation of the gospel is always extended to us, beckoning us forward, calling us out of sin and selfishness and into the life of image and likeness bearers!
Prayer: Father, give us the grace to live lives that faithfully reflect your image and likeness to the world around us.
Application: How can your life better reflect the likeness of Christ this week?
Related Readings: Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17
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© 2016 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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