CROWNED WITH HONOR
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands.”
PSALM 8:3-5 (ESV)
Have you ever stood outside on a cloudless night to observe the stars? If you can get away from light pollution, God’s work in the visible ‘heavens’ can be breathtaking. Yet, as beautiful as clusters of nebulae are to view on a dark night, those creative works are not God’s crowning achievement.
From God’s perspective, humans have been given special honor among all other created beings, including angels. Every human being (past, present and future) is considered by God as individually more significant than the Pleaides or even the Northern Lights. We may not always believe this truth because of our insecurities or sin, but let’s consider some of the ways in which God has given honor to each person.
First, people are created in God’s image.
“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). This ‘image’ may refer to our ability to think critically, to understand morality, or to create beauty. However, in its simplest sense, it likely means that we were created to reflect His attributes. For example, when we love one another, as empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are doing something which no other created being can do. We are displaying a tangible ‘image’ of God’s love.
Second, people are given authority over all created things.
God gave this charge to Adam and Eve, “Subdue the earth…and [have dominion over] every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:28). Adam displayed this by naming animals and by tending to the garden in Eden. Later, descendants of Adam hunted for food and used animal hides for clothing. Although the earth belongs to the Lord (Ps. 24:1), humans are the appointed as stewards over its resources and creatures.
Third, people are given the opportunity to join God in His redemptive purposes.
After the rebellion in Genesis 3, God promised that an offspring, born of a woman, would “bruise the head of the serpent” (Gen. 3:15b). Jesus was the ‘firstborn among many’ who would participate in God’s work to redeem people. Now, we aren’t called to die to save sinners. Jesus, as God in the flesh, did that perfectly, once for all. However, we are called to invite people back into God’s family. We have the honor of participating with Jesus to save others from sin!
Every person, from the innocent, unborn child to the hardened, imprisoned criminal, was beautifully designed by the Lord and crowned with honor. Although humans can (and do) suppress this knowledge and exchange the truth for a lie (Rom. 1), the love of God is inescapable.
As we consider various ways to share the Gospel in the next few weeks, remember to include this reality. Every person has value in the eyes of God. They just may not know it yet. In fact, it may be the truth which opens their eyes to their need for salvation.
Lord, help us to see people as you do – worthy of honor and love. Through Jesus, Amen!