… he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
— Hebrews 1:2–3
My son is three years old and absolutely loves playing in the mud. A few weeks ago, I was in my backyard and noticed a spot where he’d been playing. He had placed his tiny little hand in the mud and left a perfect imprint of his fingers. In an overly sentimental moment, I remember wishing that this would last forever, though I knew the next time it rained, or he got ahold of the water hose, that little imprint would be gone.
A physical imprint of an object, say a shoe at a crime scene, so closely replicates the original object that it can be used as forensic evidence in a court of law to get a conviction and send someone to prison. Hebrews tells us that Jesus was the “exact imprint of [God’s] nature.” When we want to know God’s heart, we need only look at Jesus.
John 3:16 is likely the most quoted Bible verse in all of history, but let’s look at it in context:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
— John 3:16–18
God’s nature: redemption. God sent Jesus to paint a picture of God’s heart for us and to redeem broken and sin-filled people. This is something I would argue we should work never to lose sight of. God gets a bad rap in our culture because his name is often used to make political and social arguments that people who don’t know God’s heart simply do not understand. I’m not saying that all of the arguments are wrong, because God’s nature is that he wants only the best for mankind, and sometimes what people think is best simply isn’t. I believe at my core that the most important thing that we can do as Christians is take a page out of Jesus’s book and do our best to leave an imprint of God wherever we go. That imprint, that image, would paint a picture of a God who loves people and offers grace and redemption to all.
If you are reading this and would like to know more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus, how to accept the free gift of salvation, of grace and redemption, that God offers through Jesus, I would encourage you to reach out to a trusted friend who personifies their faith, or reach out to c|Life directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.