1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 4.2 The Imagebearers of God

Table of Contents

The Text

Romans 1:20 (CSB) For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

The Chapter

After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.

The Confession

After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female

Genesis 1:27 (CSB) So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.

Mankind. These are the only creation of God that carries the title, "imagebearers of God". In other words, we are made to look like him.

And it pleased the Father, Son, and Spirit for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness to create mankind in his image and from the start, created us two genders, male and female.

In the year of this writing, 2024, the term gender has been a bit of a controversial topic in the Western world. In our sinful brokenness, we have been so desperate in our strive for autonomy, we have taken upon ourselves to choose what are gender should be. Let me not mince words: to choose your own gender is sin against God. For:

Psalms 139:13-14 (CSB)
For it was you who created my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.
Your works are wondrous,
and I know this very well.

It was God that formed you in your mother's womb. He stitched you and fashioned you together. He is the one who granted you your intelligence, your soul, you body, your mind and your gender.

Your life was a blessing from God on this earth to us. Every part of you. The brokenness does not lie in your body parts but rather, what is going on in your soul and the empty, infinite void in your heart.

Transgenders seek a world where they are not discriminated against, never hated, and accepted as they are. So this also the world I want as well--not just for me but for transgender people as well. Yet, let us use our imagination: imagine a world where we had the technology to change who you are on the outside.

Matthew 23:27-28 (CSB) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

We are always so quick to read this passage and thinks that this does not apply to any about other than legalistic ministers. But that just it: a careful examination of word and letting his law cross-examine our hearts will reveal that each of these Christ declarations in Matthew 23 are about us. We want to appear a certain way on the outside: our mask, our proxy, our own normative based on the gender we have chosen. But inside, we are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

The change you have done on the outside--does this satisfies the longing of the heart? The eternal void within your heart. For:

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (CSB) He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end.

You and me--we strive to worship created things rather than the Creator. For:

Romans 1:25 (CSB) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

If you are reading this and think this is a bit personal, because it is. I have more than a few loved ones who have declared themselves transgender. But my friends, this is not the identity you are seeking because it only changes you on the outside. It still doesn't satisfy your heart. It still doesn't fill the void in your soul. It still doesn't give you the peace that you are seeking.

The identity, the fulfillment, and the rest you are seeking is Christ alone.

Apart from Christ, our identity is so wrapped up in what we think we are or what we do. But in Christ, then our identity because about who he is and what he has done for us.

Apart from Christ, we seek fulfillment in pleasure, safety, comfort, or provision. Yet, God is the provider of all those things. You are not in control. We are not sovereign. God is absolutely sovereign.

Apart from Christ, we strive and work hard for something that will give us nothing in return. Not in our idols, not in our self-identity nothing. You might call yourself _______ Christian but you have just double the work and the labor to make yourself look a certain way on the outside.

Matthew 11:28–30 (CSB) “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Christ holds the offer freely to you. Give him your self-identity and he will give you rest for your weary souls. Give him your despair and he will give you hope. Give him your sin and he will give you his righteousness. Take your pains and put them on him. Let the Almighty God carry your burdens. He is the only one who can.

with reasonable and immortal souls

Genesis 2:7 (CSB) Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

In our reasonableness, he did not make us chaotic beings with no sense and no purpose. We are reasonable creatures with sense as the conscience written on our hearts and the purpose to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Even in our sin and fallen short of the glory of God, we are not so utter depraved where there is absolutely no hope for our souls. For:

Isaiah 50:2a (CSB) Why was no one there when I came? Why was there no one to answer when I called? Is my arm too weak to redeem?

No, our God alone is mighty to save.

In the immortality of our souls, that comes from the fact we bear the image of God. Other creatures, do not bear the image of God and therefore do not have immortal souls.

When God created Adam and Eve, he created mankind to live forever and ever and not die. But the wages of sin is death. When sin was committed, that was not a simple mistake but a trespass that had catastrophic consequences. You might say, "Why would God bring down such harsh judgement over one disobedience? That does not seem merciful."

When God gave mankind the one commandment, "do not disobey or you will die", that was a commandment that bore truthful consequences.

Adam and Eve did sin. But noticed that they didn't drop dead to the ground. But what did die? Their spirit. The spirit that was of God departed because God does not dwell in sin. Sin has no place with the Holy One.

With that, without the mercies of God, our immortal soul be under the wrath of Christ when our physical bodies expire.

But as soon as sin entered into his creation, the mercies of God were given to us in the his first gospel sermon:

Genesis 3:15 (CSB) I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

That mercy is in Christ alone. Our souls were made to always live forever, never to be undone or uncreated or destroy. That forever must live somewhere: either in hell under wrath or with God with pleasures evermore.

rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created

Ecclesiastes 7:29 (CSB) Only see this: I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.”

We often say that we are created by God to worship God. What boggles my mind is that God created us to worship him but gave us bodies, minds, wills, and hearts that can worship him.

being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness

And because Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, they were born righteous unto God. They were created holy because he is holy. They had the fullness of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control because they had the Spirit of God dwelling in them.

They could worship God and they did worship God perfectly because they were perfect in God from the start.

Genesis 1:26 (CSB) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it

Romans 2:14–15 (CSB) So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them

The commandment of God to Adam:

Genesis 2:16-17 (CSB) And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from an y tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

Was a law of God. But the law of God that we know today that could be summarized in the Greatest Commandments, love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself, were written upon the hearts of Adam and Eve. Mankind in Genesis 1 and 2 had no need for the Ten Commandments because God etched it into their consciences. They were born already righteous unto God and were born perfectly obeying him.

and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change

Genesis 3:6 (CSB) The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

We speak of the devastating consequences of sin. One of the most damage outcomes of sin that some Christians tend to forget or ignore is that because of sin, we do not worship God. We were not born to worship God from the womb--no matter what family we were born into. We were created to worship but because of sin, we tend to worship other things including ourselves.

With sin fracturing everything from the cosmos down to our hearts, it would be naive of us to think that somehow our free wills were impervious to the effects of sin. Our free will is as free as a prisoner in a prison cell. What ever a prisoner does in the midst of their cell is the limits of the freedom they have.

For our imprisoned wills to choose God, believe God, trust God, and worship God, our wills must be set free by God.

Romans 8:20-21 (CSB) For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of him who subjected it — in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

Unless your have been set free by God, you are not a child of God and have not been set from the bondage of sin and death. You cannot enjoy the glorious freedom of God because you are not his child.

John 1:12-13 (CSB) But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.