As we wrapped up our Humanity series this week, we finally got to talk about the good news about the hope for humanity’s dreadful situation. The Gospel (good news) of Jesus offers the hope of not only saving humanity from sin and death, but it also recreates the image of God in us. To understand how good this news is, we need to have a firm understanding of how bad our sin really is before God.
HUMANITY’S CONDITION: Spiritually Dead and Deserving of God’s Wrath (Eph. 2.1-3)
We are all dead before a holy God. This is spiritual death. In Genesis 2:16-17, God told Adam that if He ate of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, he would die. Through Adam and Eve’s rebellion, humanity is now cut off from God, the source of life, like a lamp that isn’t plugged into a power source. We are not bad people in need of getting better; we are dead people in need of resurrection. The sin and suffering of this world is nothing more than the stench of spiritual death and decay. The result is that we are the children of wrath – The rightful recipients of God’s judgment. This is God’s just response to man’s sin. Because our sin is hostility towards a holy God and is personally offensive, God must deal with anything that violates His holiness in a just way.
GOSPEL SOLUTION: Through Jesus, We Can Be Made Spiritually Alive (Eph. 2.4-6)
We were dead in our sins, but, in mercy and the abundance of God’s love, we have been made alive in Jesus Christ. And this is a work that only God could do! Jesus is the fullness of the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), and He lived in the perfect and faithful life we were created to live. Ultimately, He offered His sinless life on our behalf. He received the wrath of God we deserved and absorbed the curse of sin. This was so that, in His resurrection, He could give humanity what we desperately need: life!
GRACE AND FAITH: Eph. 2.7-10
Nothing about who we are or what we do can earn this salvation from God and restore His broken Image in us. It is all a work of His grace towards us for His glory. Grace is something that is not deserved. The Bible repeatedly tells us that God saves us by His own will and power for His own purposes. No one can do or say the right thing(s) to compel God to save them. In His mercy and grace, He saves those who were once His enemies, loves them, and makes them His children! He chooses to recovers His image in those who have willfully distorted the Imago Dei in themselves and in others! This is GREAT News!
Ultimately, the heart of the Gospel isn’t an escape from a place of suffering, but an entrance into a place of satisfaction.
The process of growing in our faith (sanctification) is the Holy Spirit progressively renewing the Imago Dei. If we belong to Jesus, we are being transformed into the likeness of Him because He is the image of God. So it’s not about being a better person; it’s about displaying the image of God. The hope of humanity is the Gospel because only the Gospel can transform someone like this.
This is why we believers must engage the needs around us; stand against injustice; pursue things like racial reconciliation; care for the marginalized, weak, orphaned, and unborn; express grace to sinners; and accept those who are broken into our life and community. It is because, in Christ, the image of God is being renewed in us. And we are displaying His character and nature to the world. We are to reflect this Image to the world as His Image bearers!