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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Resurrection life | Living in God’s presence

Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ 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 

 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.  

Ezekiel 11:19–20 

 

If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you … the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 

John 14:15–17, 26 

 


 

Last week, we reflected on how Christ’s resurrection renews our identity and calling to be the image of God in the world. The heart of this call is to live in God’s presence, revealed in the term for ‘image’. The word (tselem) is found throughout the Old Testament, often in relation to ancient temples. 

These temples set out to create sacred space for gods, which were represented by carved images, to live in the world. Once dedicated, it was believed that the god itself would enter the image, and it’s this concept that’s set up in Genesis 1 as the blueprint for humanity. God made the whole of creation as a temple for him to live within his people 

This intimacy is astonishing. The God of creation wants to be directly connected to us, both as individuals and as a community: to shape, empower, and rest with us. And the emphasis is on this last action. God invites us as his image to prioritise rest with him, to make space for conversing with him and meditating on his presence. Genesis 1 depicts this as a weekly Sabbath, but we can make this space every day. 

The intimacy in Genesis 1 was broken by the fall, and from then Israel’s story was punctuated with times of unfaithfulness that distanced them from God, until finally they were exiled from his presence altogether. During this time, Israel’s prophets began to hear God’s promise of renewal, and Ezekiel revealed that this would be the result of the Spirit of God coming to live within his people once more. 

This was nothing less than the restoration of the image of God, but it wasn’t merely a return to something lost. It was the promise of something new. Ezekiel saw that the Spirit would re-form his people from within to walk naturally in his ways. Generations later, Jesus spoke again about the impact of the Spirit within us. The Spirit will lead us, teach us, intercede for us with the Father. 

Living in God’s presence is not passive. It’s a commitment to a life of prayer and transformation – listening to the Spirit’s insight, choosing to follow where he leads, and prioritising his ways over ours so that we become increasingly Christlike. The Spirit that calls us to rest with God also sends us to share the gospel, love our neighbour, and reflect Christ in our daily lives, knowing that God is with us when we do. 

 

Dr Freddy Hedley

Dean of Studies, WTC Theology 

How will you be attentive to the leading of the Spirit amidst your daily tasks this week?

 

Comments

  1. In addition to trying to have daily quiet times of reading the word and prayer, I will attempt to connect with God throughout the day with seeking repentance when I slip up, arrow prayers, praise, and guideance and seeking wisdom.

    By Derek clark  -  15 Apr 2024

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