The image of God in humanity should be the starting point for how we approach ministry to others. It is the shared reality of all people, in all places, at all times. This makes God himself the standard for ministry.
God singled out humans when He said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” ”So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
- At the beginning, God “saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).
- Humans (by God’s original intent) had a very good and noble beginning (and we know it – intuitively).
- As a result of the fall of humanity, those who were intended to be whole are broken, partial and fractured.
- Human beings are now a combination of dignity and depravity. We find in each person a mix of good and bad – but even the good is tainted with the bad.
A sad set of terms are now fitting to us. We are lost, wayward, drifting, restless, fallen, broken, fractured, alienated, separated, partial, incomplete, sinful and dying.
A vocabulary of salvation is what we need. We need nothing short of intervention, rescue, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration — salvation! This is exactly what our Maker provided for us in our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Ministry should always keep four truths in view
- A glory we had at the beginning (Genesis 1:26-27).
- A glory we fell from in our sin (Romans 3:23; 5:12; James 3:9)
- A glory being restored by the Spirit (through God’s gift of salvation and indwelling Spirit, Romans 6:23: II Corinthians 3:18)
- A glory fully restored when Christ returns (Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:1-4;I John 3:1-2; despite our present suffering, Romans 8:18).
The starting and ending point for understanding ministry must be shaped by the theme of glory.
Most Christians need a better vision of the greatness of their salvation — a panoramic view! We must learn to think of salvation as a return to full and final glory — a return to the Imago Dei (image of God).