If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you know that God loves you. You know he paid a great price for you.
You might be familiar with verses like Ephesians 3:17-18:
“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love...”
The gospel is good news, indeed.
However, in focusing on the beauty of the gospel, we sometimes overlook another source of good news in the Bible—one which shows up long before the gospel is fully revealed.
Most of us are familiar with this truth, yet we fail to grasp its profound ramifications for our lives.
I’m referring to “imago Dei,” the Latin term which theologians use in describing how humans are created in the image of God.
This theme of humankind as God’s highly valued image-bearers is woven throughout Scripture, starting in the first chapter (Genesis 1:26-31) all the way to the last book, where people from every nation and language gather around the throne and the Lamb (Rev. 7:9).
Why is this idea of “imago Dei” so important?
It’s important because our culture practically drowns you in messages which are the direct opposite of this truth. Therefore, you’ve probably picked up some lies along the way—lies that undermine your sense of security and identity.
Culture lies to you about who you are. God tells you the truth. Here are seven things you need to know.
To combat culture’s lies, here are seven truths about who you are:
- You are created in the image of God, different from any other creature (Genesis 1:26-31). You bear his image in a unique way. (You look like God!)
- You are not an animal; you are higher than the animals and have dominion over them (see above verses).
- You are created just below the angels, crowned with glory and honor (Psalm 8:3-5). C.S. Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people.” Humans have a special quality and status which other creatures do not share.
- Your identity is “image-bearer of God.” It’s not about sexual identity. For the first time in history, current culture denies that man is most importantly a metaphysical creature and insists we are most importantly sexual creatures—but culture suppresses the truth, so we must reject that idea (Romans 1:18).
- Your worth is bestowed on you by God. Our culture believes humans are just a random accident of nature, but also that man is the measure of all things—leading us to the conclusion that we have to proclaim our own worth, based on … I’m not sure what?? The truth is, our worth is given to us by God.
- God carefully fashioned you in the womb, and he has already written your story (Psalm 139:13-16). You’ve been valued and loved since you were conceived.
- You will never be useless, no matter how old, sick or disabled you may become. Human value is not based on achievement or production, as Western culture would have us believe. It simply is, by virtue of being God’s image-bearers.
Do you recognize how culture has undermined what God says is true about you?
Let the truth of imago Dei sink deep into your spirit. Accept your own dignity and worth. It is firmly anchored in the value God himself has placed on you.
Before you even knew God, you were already his precious image-bearer. That’s precisely why he was willing to pay such a huge price for you.
Now, as a believer, you are a beloved son or daughter, too. Wow.
Let’s not keep this “hidden” Bible truth to ourselves. Let’s share it, so God’s image-bearers understand the true source of their worth and dignity.
~Guest post by Susanne Maynes
Susanne Maynes is an author, speaker and biblical counselor. Her most recent book, Releasing Your Brave Love: Helping Kids to Change Their World teaches 8-12 year-olds and their parents the concept of “imago Dei.” Susanne blogs about church and culture, spiritual growth, and Christian parenting at SusanneMaynes.com. Her “Passionate Parenting” ministry features an online course called “How to Raise Wholehearted Followers of Jesus.”