Basil the Great rightly referred to Jesus as the "living image" of God. Christ walked on water; God is the One who treads on the waves of the sea. Christ stilled the storm; God silences the winds and the breakers. Christ raised the dead; Jehovah "bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up" (I Sam. 2:6). Christ healed the sick; Jehovah declares, "I am the Lord that healeth thee" (Ex. 15:26).
As the visible, living image of the invisible God, Christ is the glory of God. Before declaring that Jesus is "the express image of God," Hebrews 1:3 states that He is "the brightness of [God’s] glory." Similarly, II Corinthians 4teaches that the "glory of God" comes through Jesus Christ, the "image of God" (4, 6). The reason is simple: God is glorious and so the image of God must be glorious. This overpowering brilliance of Jesus Christ leads us to worship Him as God manifest in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16), the revelation of the Holy Trinity. This effulgence was veiled in His humiliation and is now unveiled in His exaltation.
We should also add that Christ is the image of God by His sonship. Sons look like or image their fathers. God the Son, eternally begotten of the Father, images the Father. The incarnate Son, God’s "dear Son" (Col. 1:13), images His Father. As the One who images the Father perfectly, He reveals the Father perfectly.
Jesus Christ, "the image of the invisible God," is only known by faith. Some unbelievers often simply refer to Him as a great man. Arians, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, say that He is merely "like" God but not truly God, as the absolutely perfect image of God. But God’s children, by the illumination of the Spirit, believe in Christ, the express image of God, who is set forth in the sacred Scriptures as the revelation of the Father and thus the object of faith.
Though the invisible God became visible in Jesus Christ, many who saw Him in the flesh did not behold the glory of God in Him. To them He had "no form nor comeliness," being more like a wizened "root out of a dry ground" (Isa. 53:2) than "the glory of the Lord" (40:5). Though they saw Him who was the image of God, Satan "blinded" their minds so that they did not believe (II Cor. 4:4).
Others, though they lived before the days in which God imaged Himself visibly in the incarnation of the Son of God, did behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. "Abraham," Christ assures us, "rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56). Moreover, all the spiritual sons of Abraham in the Old Testament saw or knew God by faith in the coming Saviour.
Even those saints who saw Christ in the flesh only knew Him as the image of God by faith (cf. John 14:9-11). Believers today have not seen Christ in the flesh and yet we love Him (I Peter 1:8) and are blessed, for "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29). What about you? Have you seen Christ’s glory as the image of the invisible God? For those from "all the ends of the earth" who "look" unto Him by faith are "saved" (Isa. 45:22).
- Volume: 10
- Issue: 12
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851