He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Imagery has been a tradition in the church throughout her history. We have ancient “churches” like the Cathedral of Saint Domnius in Croatia, the Monastery of Saint Thaddeus in Iran, and the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Egypt.
These are ancient places of worship for our ancestors of Christianity (even if they aren’t a part of your branch of the church), and they contain relics of importance for the ancient threads of the church; relics are images, if you will.
Now, these images have no significance in eternality other than maybe remembering the people who gave their lives so we could have eternal life. Even outstanding patristics of the church like Tertullian, Augustine, or Thomas Aquinas we can remember through imagery, but they cannot save. The head of the church, the cornerstone of the church, the “image of the invisible God,” Jesus Christ the Lord and savior, is the only one who can save.
Imagery is not an ancient location, pictures, or beautiful artifacts that we love to look at; it is not the book that someone important wrote. Imagery is you, the reader. You are the image of God as a human being; go read Genesis 1:26-27 and 9:6.
God created you to be his image and to bear his name, to be the representative of his eternal and internal kingdom on this earth (Luke 17:21 and John 18:36).
The question is whether the imagery is actively alive inside of you as a believer of Jesus Christ. God values, loves and created you as a human, so you are the image of God, but this wretched thing called sin led us and, at times, leads us to rebel against this image state that God created us.
We need a savior, and his name is Jesus, “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:15-16).
He is the creator. He is the word in the beginning. He is of the same sustenance as the father and spirit. He wants to make you new. He wants to wash you clean to find his image he created in the first place. He wants to bring life out of you and through you.
You are an imager of God. You began to carry the holy spirit inside you when you repented of your sin and turned to Jesus Christ as Lord. You bear the name of God on this earth and take it to the ends of this earth; you carry the honor of being called Christian, just like the believers in ancient Antioch.
We are challenged not because we have to or because we feel we need to earn the grace in which we are saved (this is freely given if you will accept); we are challenged with a thankful heart and an empowered life to share this Gospel that set us free.
The glorious message is that Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God, has come to earth, lived sinlessly, died by becoming sin for us, resurrected, and ascended to the right hand of the father, giving gifts to people so that we can be his original created image again.
We can look at the ancient buildings, see relics, and read life-changing revelations of patristics and be moved in awe, but why? Because who built these, whom these remember, and who wrote these books of revelation all had one thing in common, they lived to their fullest effort to be the image of God.
They changed the world around them, not on their own, not for their own, and not because they had to do it to be saved. They did it because they were alive with the holy spirit inside of them, bearing the name of Christ and being about the father’s business.
Let us be the imagers that give this life away to others and back to Christ freely, joyfully, and willingly because we love him, no other reason.
Brady Roser is associate pastor at The Bridge Church in Carson City.
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