In Donna Tartt’s brilliant novel The Secret History the young narrator arrives at his new university and falls in with a group of students:
…different as they all were they shared a certain coolness…they were magnificent creatures, such eyes, such hands, such looks…
God created us in His image.
‘Image’ in the original Hebrew means ‘representative of.’
So, when God created us, we represented Him.
But then we fell, turned against God and went astray.
They all like sheep have gone astray, every one to His own way.
– Isaiah 53:6
But then, when Christ suffered and died for us, he crucified everything that stood between us and God – that is – the law.
He cancelled the written code, that was against us, that stood opposed to us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross.
– Colossians 2:14.
Since Christ there has been no law to keep. Jesus lives in us, and He keeps the law perfectly.
He is our righteousness.
‘This is the mystery of the gospel,’ says Paul. ‘Christ in you. The hope of glory.’
I describe what this hope of glory means, here.
When Christ died, and gave us His righteousness as a free gift (see Romans 5:17), He restored us to His image. To His likeness. This is why Paul says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17
The new has come. As we were created to be – in His image.
Now check out the rest of this verse:
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.
We are God’s representatives again. He has restored us to His image.
But what does ‘image’ mean?
We have God’s qualities. His spiritual qualities.
We share in His nature.
Just as children bear the image of their parents, so we bear the image of our Heavenly Father.
We share His qualities: His beauty, His majesty and His amazingness.
We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings!
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!
– 1 John 3:1
John couldn’t believe it!
And that is what you are and I am.
We are His magnificent creatures.
I know it’s difficult to see ourselves like this, especially when we feel terrible, ashamed or despressed. When we feel broken, battered and bruised.
But, remember, righteousness is a gift.
God knows we could never achieve perfection, so He made us perfect:
For we have been made perfect through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, once for all.
– Hebrews 10:14
That is how God sees us.
Perfect, amazing, beautiful, majestic, magnificent creatures – in the image of God!
Even if we can’t see that in ourselves, that is how God sees us.
How amazing is that?!