I wrote something very similar to this some time ago, and it probably gives a better explanation of this passage’s context and what it is about. But today, I wanted to focus on something a bit different.
Last Sunday, a former of pastor of mine was giving a message on “A+” people. So often, we look at ourselves, not as A+ people, but as “F”s. And because of that, we think God sees us the same way.
But that’s not true. He sees us as A+ people. Why? Because we are more special than others? No. But because in his grace, he has adopted us as his children. And he loves us.
We see a glimpse of that truth in this passage.
In talking about taxes, Jesus talked about how Caesar’s likeness and inscription were engraved on the Roman coins, marking them as belonging to Caesar.
But in the same way, God’s likeness and inscription are engraved on us. We were all created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:26)
And when we become Christians, his inscription is written in our hearts. Paul tells us,
“You show that you are Christ’s letter delivered by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God—not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3)
What does that inscription say? What does the Holy Spirit say of us?
He tells us, “You are God’s child. You belong to him.” (Romans 8:16)
And so as we offer our lives to God, we do so not as oppressed, fearful slaves. We do not need to wonder, “Does God really love me? Does God really accept me? Am I really an A+ in his eyes?”
Rather, we say with joy, “Yes! I am your child. I belong to you.” And it’s in that joy, we offer to him our all.
Maybe you’re still struggling with feeling you’re an F. You look at your life, and you say, “I sure don’t feel like God’s likeness and inscription are written on me.”
But they are. And though we are not yet perfect, Paul assures us,
“We all…are being transformed into the same image as (Jesus) from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The same God that joyfully said “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” looks at you with that same love and joy and says, “I am your God too.”
The Lord your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will be quiet in his love.
He will delight in you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)