Christocentrism #4 – Genesis and Colossians – Jesus Christ is the Center of our Sanctification

Free files for fellow youth pastors:
He was one of the coolest guys I ever knew. This dude totally had it all together. He was a great athlete, all of the girls swarmed him, his intelligence was stellar, and he just had that laid back attitude that everyone enjoyed. During the prime of his life, this close friend of mine was in a tragic car accident. From the accident, he no longer had the physical agility to play sports, he no longer had the attractive look, his intelligence was severely altered, and his personality had changed drastically. He was still the same person God had created him to be but very distorted.
This story is also true about every one of us – every human being. It all started at the beginning of time when God created humanity in His own image to reflect Him (Genesis 1:26-28). What does it mean for Adam and Eve to be created in the image of God? It means that God has shared everything about Himself with us. God is righteous, so humanity could choose right over wrong. God is rational, so humanity could make decisions and solve problems. God’s role was to rule over the cosmos, so He set up man to have dominion over all the earth (Gen 1:28). God can see, hear, etc. all things, so He created man with a body to reflect His attributes. You may be reading this and despising the way you were born, but you must remember that you are made in God’s image. Others may be reading this with great pride in the way that they were made. We must be reminded that God didn’t create you for our image…but for His. God created humanity in His own image by sharing with us everything that He is. God commands us to reflect Him.

So are we still perfectly imaging God as He originally created us? Unfortunately, that is not the case. God’s image in humanity has been distorted by sin (Genesis 3:6). In the Garden of Eden, Satan the serpent slithered up to Eve the woman to deceive her into eating the forbidden fruit. That cataclysmic event infected all humanity with the curse of sin. Before the curse, all humanity imaged God faultlessly. After the curse, humanity continues to exist in the image of God, but His image is distorted in us because of sin. It is as if looking into a clear mirror in the morning. The mirror reflects the exact image that stands before it. If that mirror is struck in the middle and cracks spread in every direction, the reflection is still there but greatly distorted. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and rebelled against God, His image in them was distorted. Many people feel so broken because of this. Praise God there is a remedy, a fix!

How does God put us back on the road of growing in His image again? God renews His image within believers by their becoming like Christ (Rom 8:29). We must understand that Jesus is the exact image of God (Colossians 1:15-18). He is not the next best thing to God or God junior. Jesus is fully God, exactly God, perfectly God. He is also what it means to be fully human. We often think that Jesus wasn’t fully human because He didn’t sin. Aren’t we fully human because to be human means to be sinful? Actually, it’s the other way around. To be human means to be fully in God’s image as He originally created us. Therefore, Jesus is more human than we are because He is exactly imaging God. He resisted temptation after temptation when we usually give in after the first few tugs of our sin. Jesus Christ is the perfect image of God. Jesus is what it means to be human. God restores us into His image as we are growing and becoming like Christ (Col 3:10). Jesus is God’s goal for our salvation, for our spiritual growth, and for all of our lives.

When it comes to understanding our sanctification (spiritual growth into Christ-likeness), we have to know that God didn’t intend for us to see a “quiet time” as the primary means. Instead, the number one way we become like Christ the most is through the church. Through preaching, teaching, fellowship, praying, ministering, discipling, worshipping, and evangelizing with other believers as a local church we become most like Christ (Eph 1:23). Is your life goal to become like Christ? If so, does your participation in your church reflect that?

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