Image Bearer

There can be no question that NT soteriology is multi-leveled and full of nuance, but on the other hand, many modern Christians have grown accustomed to viewing salvation as strictly a present “take it or leave it” phenomenon. Salvation - in its modern perception - has greatly lost its potency and relevance. It has been reduced to a "decision for Christ" or an emotional high experienced after repeating the incantation known to many as the sinner's prayer.

Salvation, in one way or another has always been tied to the kingdom. It is unmistakable that Jesus' saying the “Kingdom is at hand,” had an inseparable link to “Judgment is at hand.” John the B. also proclaimed this message. So then, repent is proclaimed, meaning “lest you be judged,” as it was when the prophets of old delivered the message.

The Kingdom then, is in much sharper focus because the heir to the throne was standing before them providing a perfect example of the image of God recast. All of the distortions and mutations that humanity had developed were suddenly seen in fresh light as the perfect representation of archetypal humanity and image of God was present, the second Adam.

The kingdom was seen and tasted, this one was standing up to the corruption of the leaders and teaching the common people what living as the true seed of Abraham really meant. In the same way, the transfiguration was a vision of the Messiah “coming into his glory” (parousia). This, of course is not to say that the Kingdom had come - as declared by Israel's prophets - bringing with it the new and promised peaceful order of the ages, with a perfected Jerusalem government at its helm.

This one Peter declared to be God's anointed brought a sampling of what the Kingdom would do on a large scale, the blind were seeing, the lame were walking, the dead were raised to life again, prisoners were being set free. Remembering that the slaughter of so many was still fresh and burning in their memory, and God had raised up powerful deliverers to drive their enemies from their God-given inheritance, it's no wonder some were not fully ready to beat their swords into an implement for tilling the ground (an almost unmistakable reference to doing what God intended his divine image bearers to do, "work the ground" whence he was formed, Gen. 2).

The writer of Hebrews (9:28) writes along these lines, 

so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

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