Friday, September 13, 2013

Remaking the Pot

Remaking the Pot

The Word reformation means to be formed again.  This implies that what was previously formed was found defective or deficient and now has to be done again.  This is a point that comes out in a parable that the Lord had Jeremiah experience.  In Jeremiah 18, the Lord tells Jeremiah to "arise and go down to the potter's house . . . to hear [the Lord's] words" (Jeremiah. 18:2).  Let us read the rest of the story.

Jeremiah 18:3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Jeremiah 18:5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Jeremiah 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

In case we miss it Isaiah tells us who the potter and the pot represents, "But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand" (Isaiah 64:8).   So, it is God who does the reforming.

We learn from this parable that we are a "vessel" the Lord has been forming on the potter's wheel. He has a happy purpose for you to be useful in His great work of lighting the earth with the glory of His "everlasting gospel" message.  But, no matter who you are, as a vessel you have in some way been "marred," because "all" of us "have sinned, and [do] come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). The only "vessel" the Potter has succeeded in turning on His wheel that has turned out perfect is Jesus Christ Himself.  His experience on the "wheel" is illustrated in Isaiah 50:4, 5, where the Father awakened Jesus "morning by morning . . . to hear as the learned." The Father taught Him during those early hours. He constantly resisted our temptation to be "rebellious" and "turn away back."

The Potter Himself has become clay; the Son of God Himself has emptied Himself in those seven steps of condescension in Philippians 2:5-8, "even [to] the death of the cross" which involved enduring being "made" the "curse of God" (cf. Gal. 3:13). Tried and tempted, feeling "forsaken" by God, He has known to the full what no other human being in history has known to the full—what it feels like for the Potter to throw someone into the trash. He "took" upon His sinless nature our "sinful flesh" that He might "in every way be tempted that we are, but did not sin" (Heb 4:15). Then He died the world's "second death" for every man (2:9), so that no one of us might have to feel what it's like to be thrown in the eternal trash heap (cf. Rev. 20:15).  Being that Christ is the perfect vessel, God wants to reform us into the likeness of Christ. 

In His mercy the Divine Savior-Potter never throws any marred vessel (us) in the trash, no matter how lowly it may have become in its being "marred." There's always a useful purpose left that you and I can serve. There is the "good news" encouragement. So, the Potter always takes the marred vessel to "[makes] it again into another vessel, as it seem[s] good to the Potter to make" (v. 4). This is redemption in action.

What is reformation in Spiritual terms?  The following excerpted quote is how Ellen White defines it,
“… reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit…  Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit.”—Ellen G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Feb. 25, 1902.

As we read above it occurs in the mind.  After we allow the Holy Spirit to reawaken us to Spiritual things, then He begins to reform our mind into the likeness of the mind of Christ.  What is the mind of Christ?   We refer again to Philippians 2: 5 – 8.  It is a mind of humility, lowliness of heart, meekness, self-denial, other centeredness, and esteeming “other better than themselves” (Philippians 2: 3).  It is a mind that lays down its life for the brethren, as Christ lay down His life for us (1 John 3: 16).  Let the Potter put you together again.  Let Him transform you by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12: 2).