Sunday’s message was on theological anthropology – the Christian view of what it means to be human. I made two broad claims:
- Humans are made in God’s image. Being made in the image of God is better understood functionally or missionally than metaphysically. That is, we were made to “image” God to creation, ruling creation as God’s stewards
- Humans are sinners. We see evidence for this throughout scripture. Our Methodist tradition not only claims that we are sinners by our own inclination, but by our nature (Original Sin).
An often neglected part of the work of Christ in contemporary western Christianity is the work of restoring the image of God in us. This work, which we can call “holiness,” is a central claim of the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition in theology. The grace of God given us in Christ doesn’t just reconcile us to God but it transforms us, with an objective of making us the kind of people who can again fulfill the purpose for which we were created.
I find Dallas Willard useful here as well. When talking about the work God wants to do in us, he talks about that work making us “safe” to have the power God wants to give us to serve as stewards of creation. Insofar as our lives, our identities, are determined by sin, we’re a danger to ourselves, to creation, and to the people around us. Only through the transforming work of the Spirit in our lives can we become the kind of people who are safe for the world.