God’s Image, God’s Children

by Pastor Nate Powell
It’s been an adventure already exploring the book of Genesis with out church this month. One of my favorite things we’ve covered so far is mankind being created, and made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) As with most things we’ve talked about, people get confused and sometimes even well intended Christians confuse this scripture with other things that people generally say in public about the value of human life. Sometimes you might hear people say something “Everybody matters, because we are all God’s children.” While well intended, it doesn’t represent what the Bible says. Our value as humans is rooted in this initial verse, and when we speak of the value of a person’s life, we would do well to speak of all being made of the image of the creator. Our status as God’s children is, according to scripture, another matter.

The best place to begin to understand the difference is to look at Ephesians 2. Look at who Paul says we were apart from Christ (v 1-3): “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Paul here states that our status as children, by default, is not that we are children of God, but we are children of wrath. What does that mean? It means that we are sinners by nature and that the wrath of God rests upon those children of wrath. Unless something changes, that IS our childhood status. All of mankind is not the children of God, by default we are children of wrath. We deserve death. We deserve hell.

But if that was all there was, all we have is bad news. But there is GOOD NEWS. We have a way for our status as children to be changed, not longer known as children of wrath. Paul goes on in verse 4: “But God, being rich in mercy … when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ … For by Grace you have been saved thru faith.” It is your faith, rooted in your repentance and confession of Jesus, that changes your status. Jesus said we must be born again, and to receive this new birth, we must respond to Jesus Christ.

The dividing line and the difference between being a child of wrath and a child of God is Jesus Christ, and our faith placed in Him. Look at all the places where the Lord bestows upon us this title:

  • But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:14)
  • See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)
  • And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor 6:18)
  • For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Gal 3:26)
  • No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9-10)

The Bible is clear and this is the Good News of the Gospel, that we are not God’s children by default, but this title of honor is given to us by faith in Jesus Christ. Do you want to know where you stand with God? Then respond to Jesus! We are all made in God’s Image, but only those who experience this second birth of faith will be known as the children of God. Many responded last week at the Todd Becker Foundation event to the Good News of Jesus, and our prayer is for them to come to know that they are valuable to God, made in his image; but also to know that they can become God’s children, a honor given to them by faith in Jesus.

This can be you today. If you don’t know where you stand with God, respond to Jesus. Tell him you’re a sinner. Tell him you need him to live in your heart and be your Lord. And let your pastor or church know of your desire to be known as a Christian, and as God’s child.

I am a child of God. And I hope that you will follow him too, so that I can truly call you brother or sister.

One in the family of God,

Pastor Nate