Only in Christ Can the Image of God Be Restored

Humanity’s only hope of wholeness is in Jesus Christ. In this brief clip from our online event Made in the Image of God, Michael Reeves describes how Christ alone brings true healing and restoration to the corrupted human race.


One of the great heroes of the faith was the mighty fourth-century theologian, Athanasius. His name means “immortal.” And it’s quite appropriate. Athanasius had a lovely image to help us get how Christ is the image of God and how He restored the image of God in humanity. He said, “Adam was like a beautiful portrait painting. On him, the image of God was drawn.” And what happened at the fall was that the portrait was utterly wrecked. Adam was no longer anything like God. He’d become vicious, selfish, horribly unholy. And so the image, the painting was ruined. So, how could this precious portrait be restored? And the problem was, there was nobody who knew what the portrait had once looked like. They couldn’t restore it. To restore it, you had to know God. You had to know what He’s like. Otherwise, you could never know what the image of God should look like. There was only one hope. The original subject of the portrait had to come and have His likeness redrawn on the canvas of humanity. Only the One whose likeness was originally drawn on Adam could restore and renew it. And so, the image of God Himself came. He took humanity to renew His image in it. He came and showed us the image of God in the flesh. And in Christ alone could humanity be restored from what Athanasius called all this “dehumanizing of mankind.” Only He, the image of God Himself, could rehumanize us. Only in Him could we, as Paul puts it in Colossians 3:10, “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” Friends, no wonder our society is crawling with identity issues. With the image of God ruined in Adam, sinners don’t know what they’re for. So, we seek to mend ourselves, but we don’t know what “mended” looks like. Sensing our brokenness, we try to restore ourselves with morality or with authenticity, but we’re fumbling in the dark, trying to redraw a portrait when we have no idea what it should even look like. All we can come up with are monstrous aberrations. Our only hope of wholeness is in Christ, the image of God. Humanity can be mended nowhere else.

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