N T Wright on image-bearing in the world

I just came across this good quote from N T Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013).

To put it in shorthand: in a world whose icons had been reflecting non-gods, the renewed iconography which informs and sustains the material symbolic universe of the Messiah-people begins with renewed human behaviour. And this dovetails exactly with the ‘new Temple’ vision … The spirit’s indwelling enables the Messiah’s people to be a dispersed Temple-people, the living presence of the one God launching the project of bringing the true divine life into the whole cosmos.

I often think that the “idols” (the “non-gods,” if you like) of our world today manifest themselves in terms of consumerism, materialism and individualism. It seems to me that the vocation of Christ-followers is to bear God’s image in the world through the empowerment of the Spirit. I would add that this image-bearing is indeed about cross-bearing—to live a life that is shaped by the suffering and death Jesus. As we do so, we bring life into the world. Our “temple” is not so much the physical church buildings per se, but the embodiment of God’s presence in a hurting world.

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