WednesdaySep 8 at 9:47am
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Discussion 3: The Renewal of the Image of God
This module, specifically the concepts and teachings therein, served as newly plowed ground for this author. The New Testament is the place where anthropology and Christology merge (Video, The Renewal of the Image of God, 4:03). This teaching is clearly seen in passages such as Philippians 2: 5-11, often known in biblical tradition as the “Christ Hymn”, where the Scriptures teach, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (New International Version, 1978/2011, Philippians 2: 5-6). The apostle John confirms this incarnational premise at the beginning of his gospel account when he states “…the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” (New International Version, 1978/2011, John 1:14). Within the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, full of grace the truth, the balance of fully human and fully God was profoundly struck. A meeting of man and maker.
Unknown to this author was the truth that the image of God is not renewed in Jesus, but in those who passionately follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Though the image of God has never been lost, it has certainly been diminished (Video, The Renewal of the Image of God, 3:04); therefore, ambassadors of Christ have been given much obligation to renew God’s perfect image first seen in the Garden and Adam and Eve, before the fall of man in Genesis 3.
Kilner (2010) penned, “Just as no biblical texts indicate that God’s image has been damaged, the Bible never indicates that God’s image is restored in Christ…” (Kilner, p. 281). He also observed that God, “…intends that humanity will manifest attributes resembling God’s, in appropriate measure, to God’s glory” (Kilner, 2015, p. 281). This statement authoritatively offers development and motive for mankind’s renewal of God’s image—God’s glory. It is not for man’s glorification or exhalation, but for the boasting and broadcasting of the unique persona and perfection of the Creator.
Various Scriptures sing loudly in the chorus of how the people of God renew the image of their Creator. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the inspired apostle writes, “…we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (New International Version, 1978/2011, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Kilner (2015) observed concerning this text, “…this means that Christians are already becoming better able to fulfill the divine intentions that have always marked their lives as created in God’s image” (Kilner, p. 242). Said in another way, when Christians become more like Jesus with “unveiled faces”, they are fulfilling their God-given responsibility. Paul encouraged the church at Colossae, “…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (New International Version, 1978/2011, Colossians 3: 10). Christians know they have been clothed with Christ (Kilner, 2015, p. 254), so every decision is made with God’s best interest in mind.
How is this seen in both leadership and education? Christian leaders, focused on renewing God’s image, consider Jesus in every way. In the classroom or boardroom, through their words or their actions, they point to the Savior’s goodness and glory, rather than their own. As John the Baptist said concerning his own ministry, “He must become greater; I must become less” (New International Version, 1978/2011, John 3:30). In all things, his name is exalted. What an awesome, humbling task. God’s people renew God’s image.
Kilner, J. F. (2015). Dignity and destiny: Humanity in the image of God. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
New International Version Bible. (2011). Zondervan. (Original work published 1978)
Small, R (2018). CLED 800. Theological Anthropology in Leadership & Education. Week three, lecture one: The Renewal of the Image of God: Liberty University, Retrieved from
YesterdaySep 9 at 10:27am
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God created people in his image; however, sin has damaged man (Kinler, 2015). The effect of sin weighs greatly on the potential and actual reflection of God through humankind. Though sin’s impact on humanity is great, sin does not affect God’s image. Due to sin, there is a need for the image of God to be renewed in humanity. The image of God is renewed in humanity through Jesus Christ, who is the exact image of God. As people are changed through transformation, they become more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (New Living Translation, 1996/2015) says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Christ is the blueprint and perfect model of what it looks like to be connected to God and reflect his personality.
The renewal of humanity takes place through conforming to Christ (Kinler, 2015). Romans 8:29 (New Living Translation, 1996/2015) expresses, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters”. God already purposed for Christ to be the exact representation of himself and to be the example for humanity to pattern themselves after for the glorification and renewal of his image. 2 Corinthians 3 explains the process in which humanity is renewed. Specifically, sanctification is the ongoing process of renewal into the image of God. According to Grudem (1994), sanctification is “a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives” (p. 746). Sanctification deals with transformation and humanity becoming more like Christ.
The implication of renewal and ongoing transformation for leadership and education is the pursuit and challenge of continual growth and development. Education is an opportunity for access and exposure to information. The knowledge gained through education provides moments for developing into a better individual, which ultimately impacts the collective community or agency in which the individual is connected. This is also applicable to leadership. As a leader, one should always practice personal growth and development. The leader sets the standard and can also serve as an example for others. There is always room for development and maturation. The ongoing process of continual growth in education and leadership is aligned with the model of sanctification. The areas of leadership and education should encourage transformation, so the overall goal of maximizing potential and reaching levels of excellence can be achieved.
Grudem, W. (1994). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Zondervan.
Kilner, J. F. (2015). Dignity and destiny: Humanity in the image of god. Eerdmans Pub. Company.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. (Original work published1996)