by Dr. Bill Ury
National Ambassador for Holiness
Jesus, the Holy One, is the perfect Image of God (Col. 1:5). We humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). To be an image of the Image means we are created to receive and radiate His holiness. Only our God is holy in essence. We share in His holiness solely by His heart’s desire to fill us with as much of His love as possible. Grace is not merely a divine attitude. It is the very life and nature of God which saves us and sanctifies us. Nothing but the life of God saves and makes holy. He has made us with the capacity to be filled with Himself.
Nothing but the life of God saves and makes us holy.
All too often, we look at imaging the Holy One as reflection alone. Since we normally emphasize how unlike God we are, we view being the image of God like mirrors. While we don’t limit His beautiful nature in that analogy, we come up short on what being made in His image means for us.
The Commands to the Image
If you look at Creation, there are a few important aspects of the image. First, is the call to take “dominion” over creation (Gen 1:26). That is to join our Maker in bringing the world to His intended purposes. It is a vocation of stewardship, of being viewed as “co-creators.” Next, there is clear indication that showing who God is involves work (Gen. 2:15). We are made to reflect the beauty of the heart of holiness which always bears fruit by personally engaging with the things that God puts in our hands. The image multiplies what God desires all things to be. Third, if we are to truly show holy love, we will make choices that reflect the moral nature. Enabled to choose His best is the glory of righteousness in love.
One Realization by the Image
Notice that the first three are commands. I am always amazed by the fourth aspect of imaging
Christ and imaging the Triune God of love. It is not a command, but a realization (Gen. 2:18-20). We, as the image, are never made to be alone. We are made for another. Holiness can never be separated from love. Holiness, which is the essence of God’s own life, is seen when a man and a woman give themselves to one another in covenantal, selfless love. As Jesus draws His life from His Father in the Spirit, so we are to live offering ourselves to each other. The covenant of marriage becomes the clearest “image” of eternal other-oriented love (Eph. 5:25-32).
To image God is more than letting something outside of us, and more glorious than us, simply
bounce off of us like reflections from a mirror. God’s nature desires a oneness with us. Someone must come into the center of our beings and fill us with His sanctifying love (Eph 3:14-19). He desires to take the inward turn of sinfulness and to re-orient us toward Him and our neighbor. When a person loves like that it is hard to figure out where God’s nature stops and our nature begins. It is a radiation of love outward, not a ricochet.
Being made and remade in the image of God means that we are in Him and He is in us.
To agree to that marvelous offer is what pleases Jesus the most. He can change our nature. The Holy Spirit is able to cleanse us from sinful self-love and fill us with the perfect love of God. We must realize who we were made to be. The work of Jesus was to restore the moral image in our hearts. That means that from the core of who you are He can truly offer Himself. Mirrors merely reflect. Being made and remade in the image of God means that we are in Him and He is in us. Our nature can be fully yielded and filled with Him.