In his tiny book Transgender, Vaughan Roberts shares a very helpful metaphor about the human condition. He says we are “flawed masterpieces.”
This points to the beauty in creation Scripture describes in Genesis 1. We are the pinnacle of God’s good and perfect creation, created with beauty and purpose. Genesis 1 repeats the phrase “and God saw that it was good” after each day of creation; only after creating man in His image does he say His creation is “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
When sin came into the world, that permanently distorted and warped God’s good design. Sin’s destruction like a beautiful painting that is damaged in a move. There may be scrapes and scratches or even big chunks of the painting missing or distorted. What was once beautiful and ‘perfect’ has been vandalized and will never be the same… without intervention.
The beauty of the gospel is that even as flawed masterpieces, as we draw near to Christ, we become more like the people God created us to be. We will always be sinners while in this flesh, but the painting of our lives is being restored by Almighty God as we behold the face of his son (2 Corinthians 4:3–6).
Understanding humans as ‘flawed masterpieces’ helps us have the right understanding of who we are. We don’t think too highly of ourselves (as just ‘masterpieces’) or too lowly of ourselves (just as flawed and worthless human beings). As believers, we are new creations in Christ and able to walk in the good works God prepared for us before time began (Ephesians 2:10).
For those of us in ministry, it maybe helpful to remember that God made all of us and that God’s creation is perfect—but now damaged by sin. Our task is to do restoration work on the art that God made by bringing God’s living Word to people so they are transformed into the image of Christ. As we encourage others in the faith and use our gifts to build up the body, more of God’s original purposes in creation will be fulfilled and Christ will be glorified.
Let us humbly and confidently live and serve as masterpieces of God who are in the midst of the gospel’s restoration. And may our hope rest in the perfect restoration coming to God’s children.