The First 15

Monday July 13, 2020

by Sharon Reid

Imago Dei

Scripture

Genesis 1:26-27, 31

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Reflection

After joining the United Methodist Church, I learned about the term Imago Dei, Latin for ”image of God.” Even though I grew up in a very loving church family, I grew up believing that, as human beings, the essence of our being was no good, simply sinful from creation.

As I continue to study the Christian doctrine of Imago Dei, I have come to believe that we are all made in God’s image, with original goodness, sacred and valuable. I have come to treasure the image of God I am blessed to carry and bear witness to in the world. This is a very precious thing to me.

Because I now know I am a bearer of the Imago Dei, I take, even more seriously, the impact of sin. Our sinful actions not only distance us from God and our neighbor, they also drive us further and further away from who God created us to be.

John Wesley’s sermons often begin with a description of the image of God before “the fall” of Adam and Eve in the garden, emphasizing God’s intention for all of humanity, and the dignity that all human beings bear by virtue of their original creation in the image of God. He once said, “God is spotless purity; and so man (humanity) was in the beginning pure from every sinful blot; otherwise God could not have pronounced him, as well as all the other work of his hands, “very good” (Gen 1:31) (Sermon 45, “The New Birth”).

God created us in God’s own image. And when we stray, God’s Holy Spirit is inexhaustibly at work to redeem us, restore us, and renew us. When we profess faith in Jesus Christ we are well on our way on that grace-filled transformation journey back to who God originally created us to be. We call this grace of God sanctification, the renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Spirit, received through faith in Jesus Christ.

If this is true, if God created you in God’s image, then…

  • how does it feel to be the bearer of God’s image in the world?
  • what might be driving you further and further away from who God created you to be?
  • how might you respond to God’s inexhaustible gift of sanctifying grace today?

Prayer for Today

Creator God, thank you for creating us in the goodness of Your image. And when our sinful actions drive us further and further away from being who You created us to be, thank you for always offering us that grace-filled invitation to follow Christ and find our way back to You. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The First 15

Sign up to receive an email notification whenever a new devotional is posted to The First 15.