Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The image and likeness of God

In our Gospel reading for tomorrow a group of Pharisees and Herodians seek to snare Jesus with a trap in the form of the question, "Is it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor?" Jesus responds, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's."

Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) wrote of this passage:
To each, he says, must be given what belongs to him. This, surely, is a judgment full of heavenly wisdom and instruction. For it teaches that authority is twofold, having an earthly and human aspect, and a heavenly and divine aspect. It teaches that we owe a twofold duty of obedience: to human laws and to the law of God.

Roman coinThe coin bearing Caesar's likeness and inscription must be given to Caesar, and the one stamped with the divine image and likeness must be given to God. We bear the imprint of your glorious face, O Lord.

We are made in the image and likeness of God. So you, O Christian, because you are a human being, are God's tribute money—a little coin bearing the image and likeness of the divine emperor. Therefore with Christ I ask, whose likeness and inscription is this? Your answer is, God's. To which I reply, Then why not give God what belongs to him?

If we really want to be God's image, we must be like Christ, for his is the image of God's goodness and the perfect copy of his nature, and God foreordained that those he has chosen should take on a likeness to his son.


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