The Potter and His Clay

Church Family: One of the greatest promises in Scripture is found in one of the most difficult Scriptures in the Bible to receive. The promise is painted with a metaphor. The context is a potter’s workshop where we find him making clay vessels (pots). The potter has designed and formed vessels to be used for very specific purposes. He has taken a single lump of clay and has freely decided to make some vessels for dishonorable, shameful purposes and some vessels for honorable use (Rom. 9:20-23). The vessels for dishonorable use are later called vessels of wrath. The vessels for honorable use are later called vessels of mercy (Rom. 9:23). God creates both for very specific purposes. 

There are many implications of this picture of God as Potter. Let's look at the obvious one. God Himself creates a people for dishonor. They pursue a shameful, immoral, unholy, and Godless life just like Pharaoh. God created, sustained and tolerated Pharaoh to resist and be obstinate continually, ten fold. Why? So, that God would have the stage to show His perfect power in Pharaoh as a vessel of dishonor and wrath and that God's name would be proclaimed in all the earth (Rom. 9:17) as YHWH, the uncreated One. God showed His power in the ten plagues and His glory and wrath were made visible when He overthrew Pharaoh and Egypt at the Red Sea. 

Look at our current world and culture and find great encouragement through this scripture. Why does God create, sustain and tolerate a people who dishonor Him? First, God wants to clearly show His wrath against all ungodliness and sin so that He would be known as Holy and righteous and perfect (Rom. 9:22). Second, He wants to make His power known against all ungodliness (Rom. 9:22). It may seem that the world is spiraling out of control but from God's perspective He is strategically arranging and moving every moment and person to create the perfect stage for Him to get the greatest glory as God, the uncreated One. Can the created clay vessel criticize the uncreated potter in His perfect work?

Does that mean that every person who is pursuing a life dishonoring God, right now, will always continue to be a vessel of wrath? No. We are all still on the potter's wheel being formed by our Creator. Some who are vessels of dishonor today will be transformed into vessels of honor and mercy tomorrow. God's delay will bring Him greater glory.

Are you a vessel of mercy created for honorable use? What is God's primary purpose for you being a vessel of mercy? God wants to clearly demonstrate to you His eternal, perfect mercy. He diverted His wrath and power that He had against you as a sinner to be absorbed by Jesus Christ. You were made from the same lump of clay as the vessel of dishonor and yet God had mercy upon you and made you a vessel of honor and mercy. God has done this so that He would get a greater intensity of worship for eternity. Do not be an empty vessel of mercy. Be a vessel filled with joy and praise and honor towards God, the One who has shown you mercy.

See you Sunday, gathered as vessels of mercy, Steve

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