The Lost Truth of Imago Dei |Racial Reconciliation & The Gospel
Imago Dei – A Kingdom from every tribe, nation, and people…
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” – 1 Peter 2:9-10
Many years before Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five Dallas police officers (Patrick Zamarripa, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith and Brent Thompson) were slain, there was One who willingly laid down His life. The Lamb of God was slain so that by His blood we would be healed and made a people—a holy race. This race is one made of all skin tones, languages, nations, and tribes. Jesus the Christ died for racial reconciliation – to reconcile all races of people from their nasty, filthy sin into His holy and perfect life. It’s by His wounds that we find true healing.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
Our country needs healing. Our nation needs a moral compass. America has forsaken her true love. Battles are being lost in the courtroom. Elections are between candidates who have forgotten how to blush (Jeremiah 6:15). Americans worry more about the economy than ethics and honesty. We are battling each other on the streets because we have lost the truth of Imago Dei—that we are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).
Bombs are exploding in Turkey and Iraq, and it barely makes our news feed. Radicals gun down the image bearers of God in Orlando and Southern California, and we pause only long enough to condemn the other image bearers responsible for these heinous atrocities. O, dear Christ follower, our nation and our world need the restorative hope that comes only in the victorious and death defying power of Jesus.
And, beloved brother and sister in Christ, we have made racial reconciliation a social issue and not a gospel issue. The truth is our bloodlines are not skin deep but run down deep into our souls. Our brothers and sisters are dark chocolate, pearly white, and all shades in between. We are a kaleidoscope of the creativity of our Father. We are image bearers of our Daddy! Christ died to redeem us as one united race under the banner of Jesus the Christ of Nazareth!
The gospel is so beautiful as it weaves a tapestry of grace throughout all people groups, all ethoses, and all shades of skin as we are reminded that we are no longer slaves to sin but sons and daughters of Almighty God. As sons, yes even as heirs of the Almighty, our mission is to GO into all cultures, nations, races, neighborhoods, regions, and religions to proclaim the excellencies of the gospel of the Kingdom of our Daddy.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Rom. 12:15
So believer there is no excuse not to weep with those who weep and to mourn with those who mourn in Baton Rouge, LA; Falcon Heights, MN; Dallas, TX; and every corner of this country and this world where the lives of Image Bearers of our Father are lost. The gospel shows us the depth, height, and breadth of God’s love, which reaches into the inner city ghettos, through the gated communities of prestige, through the heart of the Middle East, and ultimately throughout all nations.
We need to show compassion before judgment and empathy before blame as we engage in racial reconciliation. We need to slay our self-righteous pride, which places our safety, our personal security, and ourselves at the center of the world. Paul David Tripp, in his daily devotional, New Morning Mercies, says, “God is at the center of His universe, and when you put yourself there, it only ends in relational brokenness and personal disappointment.”
This blog is part one of a two-part series on racial reconciliation. Read part two: Stepping into a Multicultural World | Racial Reconciliation & The Gospel.
Written by: Herbie Newell, President and Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services.