Image Bearing Gospel

What is it?

The good news is that:
  • The one and only God who is holy made us in his image to know him (Gen. 1:26-28).
  • But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him (Gen. 3; Rom. 3:23).
  • In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn from their sin and trust in him (John 1:14; Heb. 7:26; Rom. 3:21-26, 5:12-21).
  • He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted (Acts 2:24, Rom. 4:25).
  • He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness (Acts 17:30, John 1:12). If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God (John 3:16).
  • He is gathering one new people to himself among all those who submit to Christ as Lord (Matt. 16:15-19; Eph. 2:11-19).

Where is it in the Bible?

Romans 1-4 contains one of the fullest expositions of the gospel in all of Scripture, and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 contains a succinct summary of the gospel.

Why is it important?

  • A biblical understanding of the gospel is important because the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, and it is the only way for sinful people to be reconciled to a holy God.
  • Not only that, but everything in a church flows from its understanding of the gospel, whether preaching, counseling, discipleship, music, evangelism, missions, and on.
The above is from 9 Marks at  The Following is my narrative.

There is One God who has always existed, always will; created all that is, and rules with absolute goodness, righteousness and justice over all.  His name is "The Lord God Almighty".
There is only one God.
The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit are God.
The Father is not The Son, nor are any of the three "persons" the same "person" as the other.  This is all we know of God.  It is a mystery to say there is one God existing in three persons, but it is not contrary to the Scriptures, just not understandable with our finite minds.  This is our great and Awesome God who delivered us by His own grace through no merit of our own, but to demonstrate His own glory and sovereignty. 

God created the first man and woman in His own Image for the purpose of glorifying Him through the expression of their lives and the stewardship of their gifts and responsibilities.

There was one restriction placed on the first man and woman in their perfect existence, to abstain from eating the fruit of a certain tree.  God had His own reasons for this.  We have glimpses at it as we read through the Scriptures, but we cannot know for certain why at this time.  We do know that abstaining for that time was necessary for a perfect relationship with God.

The woman was seduced by Satan to reject Gods command as good.  The man followed his wife and directly disobeyed God's command to abstain.  In doing so, Man was disobedient to God and woman was deceived.  Both sinned by placing their own rational thoughts and desires above God's command, thus rejecting His absolute authority in their lives through pride.

The first man and woman "fell" from a state of sinless perfection where they were able to reflect the Image of God as perfectly as God intended.  The result of this fall was a state of "broken" existence, where they no longer bore the Image of God as He intended them to.  They also surrendered their position as prime "rulers" of the earth, to the one who tempted them, Satan.

From that point on, what was broken became worse.  Broken Images gave birth to broken Images which grew in their separation from God.  Only God's direct intervention prevented mankind from becoming completely defiled and worthless.  Mankind became more and more broken, or "depraved".

Every human since, is born into and remains in this depraved state of brokenness, unable to honor, glorify, or have a relationship with God.  This includes you and me.  There is no hope for us to better our situation.  We are destined for an eternal punishment, which the Bible describes as a never ending torment of "fire" and a "lake of sulfur".  This place is called Hell.

In the fulness of time, as He had always intended, God took on human nature while maintaining His divine nature in order to restore the Image of God in humanity and bring this spiritual regeneration to those He elected for salvation.  This salvation results in an eternal life in a perfect New Creation with Christ, which the Bible calls The New Heavens and the New Earth.  Our hope is not a life in the clouds as angels with harps, it is a literal life in a literal earth, only new and perfect under Christ's eternal reign.  Maybe more people would truly desire for Eternity with Christ if it was presented in it's Biblical reality instead of as something silly, simple, and mystical.  Know this, it will be as real and physical and tangible as your surrounding s at this moment, only inexpressibly and unimaginably more wonderful in every sense!

Why the God-Man?  It was necessary for God to become human in order to provide an acceptable sacrifice for humanity through His own death.  Only a human could provide an acceptable sacrifice for humanity.  Only a perfect Image could redeem an Image Bearer.  However, it was also necessary that the sacrifice be powerful and sufficient enough to be applied to (potentially) all of humanity.  Only God could be such a potent and sufficient sacrifice.  Thus the savior of Humanity had to be a God-Man.  The God-Man incarnated is Jesus the Christ.  It is His Image we were made to bear.  Only Jesus could repair an Image that is His alone.  This makes Jesus the only acceptable and sufficient Savior for anyone desiring eternal life via a relationship with God.  No other religion or name of any other so-called redeemer or teacher can provide salvation for man.

It is only by the Irresistible Grace of God that any human being can realize their own brokenness and then express faith in Jesus by trusting the biblical testimony of their own brokenness, His sufficient sacrifice for their predicament, and the urge to repent and have fellowship with God via Jesus Christ.  This is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by human effort.

Once a human being has been offered this Grace from God, that human being is saved once and for all eternity.  There will not be any angry people in Hell who wanted to be saved, but couldn't be.  Only God's grace can turn a depraved heart toward recognizing a need of salvation and desiring it.  If you have that sense, you can know it is God's call to you and nothing less.  His call and His grace is irresistible.  For this reason, a redeemed human being cannot be lost or lose their salvation, regardless of the state of their fellowship with God, because it was never yours to lose, it has always been completely in Gods hands and of His choosing.  When you realize this, you can understand why Grace is so moving and powerful.

It is important to note that we will all continue to sin, but our desire to sin will change into a desire to be righteous.  Being out of fellowship with God will happen sometimes.  It happens because of disobedience for a time and is a result of continuing to live in the broken world with our broken body and mind, even though our spirit has been eternally renewed.  We will not be fully freed from sin until Christ returns for us and we are physically and mentally renewed to match our spiritual renewal.  Until then, the Spirit of God will convict us of our sin and our desire will always be to turn back to God and have fellowship with Him.  That is one of the ways we can be assured of our salvation!  This changed desire is what it means to be "freed from slavery to sin."

It is also important to note that immaturity of faith is not "lostness."  Immaturity can be because of newness to the faith or because of disobedience to learning the Word.
Maturity of faith is not "salvation."  It can only come through obedience to the Word out of an obedient response to learn the Word.  However, with deeper maturity will come stronger and stronger fellowship.  Fellowship is a sign of maturity in Christ and the understanding of salvation, not a sign of salvation itself.  One can be saved, sing praise songs, read the Bible, and still go a long time without having fellowship with God.  Strive to fellowship with Him.  This is the joy and source of being an Image Bearer.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and may you live to glorify Him in response as the Image Bearer you were made to be.