From the very beginning, we see God’s artistry—in the act of creation—creating ex nihilo, out of nothing. The world and all it contains exhibits and declares the glory of God. As do we, his creatures, fashioned from dust on that sixth day.
Our Creator’s handiwork exists in all of us (Gen 1:26). Formed in his image, God sketched his creative ability in our DNA—with a command to extend his creative work (Gen 1:28) all for his glory (1 Cor 10:31).
When sin entered the world, humanity lost its natural capacity to live and serve in righteousness. And to this day, God continues to redeem and transform from void and darkness through the work of the cross, through his Son, Jesus. Created, redeemed, and transformed—made and remade in Christ (Eph 2:10)—we serve by becoming and making something good, beautiful, colorful, and useful for him. Because of Christ, our work sparks in a darkened world and, once again, we shine as the light of the world (Matt 5:14–16).
As God’s children, we are also the stones, the living stones, and joined together as a dynamic body—his body—the church creatively equipped to do the work set before us. God’s Word lays out the design plan for the church in probably its most succinct form. What should the church demonstrate? What should we think about as we come together as his image-bearers?
God’s creative vision for his church is oneness: one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father who is over all and through all and in all
(Eph 4:4–6). Jesus Christ himself is the cornerstone, the keystone (Eph 2:20). He is the critical stone. And he’s at the apex of the arts.
It is from him through whom the whole body fits and holds together, by what every joint supplies according to the proper working of each. Our individual role causes the growth of the body for the building up (Eph 2:19–22). With an emphasis on his love, his part is where we fit and creatively join together.
It’s an imagery of a complete system of nerves and muscles and limbs and coordination and coadjustment. And the unity of the structure and the variety of the function show a proper element of growth, but our creative role is the participation if his is the power and the wisdom to make it happen.
Our part is to show up, to seek him, to be chiseled off, to settle in, to create, to innovate, and to stay connected with one another. It’s that great way in which God has commanded us to commit to what only he can do. Philippians 2:13 reminds us God is at work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. God changes our will, and he gives us the ability to serve creatively.
Remember our Lord’s words, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16). The world will see that it is only through Christ that we are remade into something beautiful and Christ-honoring.
Through our commitment to each other, and through our created works, people will notice that from the beginning God has had an artful, loving intentionality in the lives of his creation. And people will want our deep sense of fulfillment of knowing who we are as created beings made in the image of an artist.
About the Contributors
Dr. Bailey assumed the role of DTS Chancellor after serving for 19 years as the Seminary’s fifth President, and continues his role as Sr. Professor in the Bible Exposition department. In addition to his years at Dallas Theological Seminary, he has pastored various churches in Arizona and Texas. He was a seminar instructor for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for twenty years and is in demand for Bible conferences and other preaching engagements all over the country and world. His overseas ministries have included Venezuela, Argentina, Hungary, and China. He is also a regular tour leader in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Rome. His board service includes Bible Study Fellowship, Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, and Word of Life.