Truth for Young Believers: The Image of God

One of the reasons people don’t always live as they should is that they don’t realize who they are. And people don’t know who they are partly because they don’t realize where they came from, and where they are going. You came from the hand of God, created in His image (see previous article). And if you are united to Christ, you are destined for glory, for “our citizenship is in heaven” (Php 3:20). You are part of a heavenly people, destined to rule over the earth as God’s representatives in His kingdom, as He intended when He made man and woman in His image.

But in the Bible, the right to rule comes with moral qualifications. So God is working in your life today to mold your character, anticipating the day when He has you looking just how He wants – with a moral character that matches His Son, His perfect image bearer. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29 ESV). And your physical body also matters to God. So when God speaks of your destiny, He also tells you that He is going to change your body. “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1Co 15:49 ESV).

You have likely found that bearing the image of the man of dust has not been easy. Sickness, sadness, disappointment and confusion are all part of your frail and fallen existence in your present body. Different people struggle with different things, but everyone struggles. Some of you may experience a particularly challenging and confusing struggle – you may sense a romantic or sexual attraction to people of the same sex. You know that the Bible doesn’t give you liberty to pursue those desires, but it makes life hard. If that is your experience, you should talk to someone in whom you have confidence, and you should keep trusting the Lord. Don’t lose hope, because through the gospel you have “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Struggle and frustration are not your destiny. In the resurrection, you will not be longing for romantic relationships (Mat 22:30). Your destiny is to be just like Christ.

When God created man and woman in His image, He made them male and female. The Lord Jesus endorsed this differentiation by His teaching (Mar 10:6) and even by His own body. The Lord was not incarnated as a genderless being, but as a male. And in His resurrection, which is a pattern for the resurrection of God’s people, He rose as a man – He is still male-gendered. What about an individual today with gender dysphoria? I don’t mean to oversimplify a complex issue, but whatever a person’s experience in their present body, if they come to Christ, they will have a body in the resurrection that is free from sin’s curse and heartache – they will be raised with the biological sex that God intended for them.

Take heart. Sin and Satan have done an awful job on God’s creation, but they haven’t defeated God and His purpose for you. You will reign over the earth with Christ, in a body free from sinful struggles, with a character perfectly conformed to His image.