6 Quotes from In His Image by Jen Wilkin

Whenever I speak with people about our Four Principles of Discipleship, I make sure that I tell them that we are not the first people to say these things; they have been said repeatedly over the 2000-year history of the church. All that we have attempted to do is organize them into a presentable and understandable form for our culture and context.
 
But even though they have been consistently repeated throughout the history of the church, they have not been repeated and taught often and clearly in recent church history.
 
However, every so often we find someone saying these same things in the modern context; and often they say them much more eloquently than we have.
 
In Jen Wilkin’s book In His Image, she does exactly that. The following are excerpts from the book in which she writes what we have been trying to say:
 
“The gospel begins transforming us into who we should have been. It re-images us. Want to know what it should have been like to be human? Look to the only human who never sinned.” p. 14
 
“What is God’s will for your life? Put simply, that you would be like Christ. ‘For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers’ (Rom. 8:29). God’s will is that the cracks in the image we bear be repaired so that we represent him as we were created to do, so that we grow to look more and more like our brother, Christ, in whom form and function displayed themselves flawlessly. ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation’ (Col. 1:15). As such, he serves as both our model and our guide: ‘For to this you have been called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). And as the apostle John points out, ‘Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked’ (1 John 2:6). If we want to look like him, we will walk as he walked.” p. 16
 
“This is what it means to follow in the steps of Christ. Whatever the way forward, it is not wide but narrow. Asking the question ‘Who should I be?’ means asking for the first place to set our foot to the narrow path. With every step forward, we increasingly ‘put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator’ (Col 3:10). Yes, the will of God is the narrow path for those who walk it. But we need not wander aimlessly, as those with no sense of where his will would have us place our next step, in danger of straying off a cliff. We simply walk in the steps of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” p. 17
 
“By asking the better question of ‘Who should I be?’ we find that the will of God for our lives is not hidden. The Bible is filled with exhortations for how we can reflect our Creator as we become increasingly like Christ.” p. 147
 
“When Jesus responds to his adversaries, he doesn’t really talk about taxes at all. Instead he talks about the coin itself; he talks about image bearing. He says, in effect, ‘The coin is engraved with the image of a “god,” marking what belongs to him. You on the other hand, are engraved with the image of God himself, marking what belongs to him. Will you concern yourself with earthly obligations to the neglect of the heavenly ones required by the image engraved in you? You bear the very marks of the Creator. Render unto God what is God’s.’” p. 150
 
“In all the created order, only humans are designed to reflect the image of God. […] What can be know of God from humans formed in his image is incomplete and marred by the fall. But what if one were born who could restore the image to what it should have been? […] The United States Mint creates proof sets for coins, which are highly collectable because they are the most flawless version of a particular coin to be found. […] Jesus Christ is the living proof of God, the perfect image bearer, pure and imminently valuable, unsullied by sin.  […] As we grow in holiness, love, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, faith, patience, truth, and wisdom, we look increasingly like Christ, who looks exactly like God. Becoming better people is the process of reflecting with increasing clarity and fidelity the very face of God. God’s will for our lives is that we be restored to mint condition. God’s will for our lives is that we become living proof. Everything we say or do will either illuminate or obscure the character of God. Sanctification is the process of joyfully growing luminous. Through Christ and by the Spirit, we have regained access to God’s presence. And the result is the glorious reclamation of the image of God in man. ‘And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit’ (2 Cor. 3:18).” pp. 152-153
 
The bulk of Wilkin’s book specifically walks through ten characteristics of God and how we imitate those characteristics when we imitate and obey Jesus as His disciple; and are thereby conformed to His image. As Paul also wrote:
 
“You heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24).
 
In light of modern Christianity which has lost this specific message that is the central story of Scripture and a core teaching of the church for 2000 years, In His Image reintroduces the church to how that image can be reclaimed and restored.
 
For more information on why it is so important to re-conformed to the image of God through imitating and obeying Jesus as His disciple, start here and follow the links the end of each article:
 

 

Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash