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Respect for the Image of God

August 30, 2019
By Martin Luther

"For God made man in His own image."

GENESIS 9:6

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Respect for the Image of God

This is the outstanding reason why He does not want a human being killed on the strength of individual discretion: man is the noblest creature, not created like the rest of the animals but according to God's image. Even though man has lost this image through sin, as we stated above, his condition is nevertheless such that it can be restored through the Word and the Holy Spirit. God wants us to show respect for this image in one another; He does not want us to shed blood in a tyrannical manner. But the life of one who does not want to show respect for the image of God in man but wants to yield to his anger and grief—his worst advisers, as someone has said—this life God turns over to the government, in order that his blood, too, may be shed. Thus this passage establishes civil government in the world.

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