• Christ and Church Life and Building Spirit and Bride


    As a lover of Christ and a pursuer of truth, I write down my joys, memories and reflections.

    May God lead us all into the secret of His presence, and build us into the oneness of His body in love.
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A metaphorical story of vessels

Romans 9:20-23 says “O man, who are you who answer back to God? Shall the thing molded say to him who molded it, Why did you make me thus? Or does not the potter have authority over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor? And what if God, wishing to demonstrate His wrath and make His power known, endured with much long-suffering vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory,”

Once upon a time, a potter decided to make vessels out of clay, and planned to put precious gold in them. He made these vessels clean and white without any defects. But as a great master to these vessels, the potter also gave them free wills to choose what to contain and what other color to paint upon themselves.

Somehow, these vessels were corrupted and led astray by another evil man in disguise, so the vessels wandered lost as if they do not belong to their master but to the evil man. They no longer desired to contain gold, but to contain dirt, dust, and garbage. Meanwhile, the vessels also tried to strengthen their outer shell as if someone might force them to contain something they do not want, and they start to paint all kinds of colors upon themselves as if the white color was not beautiful enough.

Fortunately, this potter was extremely stubborn. He loved these vessels to the end and vowed to gain them back and to restore their original purpose. But this potter was a very meticulous and clean person. He could not tolerate his vessels to be improper and dirty at all. So He decided to sold all his possession and to buy back all the vessels which were once his. For any vessel willing to return, he purchased and redeemed each one of them. Then he cleaned them by washing and rinsing them with clean and pure water by himself. Hence, these vessels belonged to him legitimately and they were clean from dirt and garbage.

Legally and reasonably, these vessel made and redeemed by him shall belong to him. However, this potter has a great heart, he still respect these vessels’ free will, so he still released them and offer them freedom. Among all the vessels he redeemed and purchased, only a fraction of them finally realized that this potter is their true master who deserves their ownership, and vows to follow him and to consecrate themselves to him. And this potter treasured these consecrated vessels as his.

Among all the vessels he redeemed and purchased, some, not treasuring what their master has done for them, were lost again, desiring to contain things other than gold and to follow ones other than their master. For those lost and lost-again vessels, the master continued to call them back, and wash them again and again. Meanwhile, he has more important plans for the returning and consecrating vessels, which required their cooperation.

Even the vessels were clean, there are still all kinds of colors on them. The stubborn potter also vows to restore their original white color. Somehow, he did not just paint another white layer on top of the other colors. He developed a new permeation and diffusion method to soak the vessels in white colored dye. This potter, respecting vessels’ free will, did not force them to be soaked, but asked them to do so willingly even sometimes being soaked into white dye is not pleasant. Some vessels refused, but some faithful ones did that. It takes a long time until the old color was diffused out and the white color finally appeared. Now this meticulous potter felt proper to put gold into them. At this time, the vessels have been restored to their original conditions when they were made. The vessels were rejoiced and satisfied since their purpose of creation was fulfilled, and they came together to worship and thank their maker and master.

This potter should be satisfied by now, but actually he was not. His intention was further revealed: he desired to have golden vessels. He wanted to use the same permeation method to soak the vessels into gold liquid until they are constituted with gold. Again, this potter did not force these vessels to be soaked into gold liquid, but asked them to do so willingly even sometimes being soaked is not pleasant. It also took an even longer time for the willing vessels to become golden vessels. By then, they are so saturated and constituted with gold that there is not much of clay remained in their constitution. This time, the golden and beautiful vessels were shining with radiance. They had gold inside and they have golden constitution in their being. They rejoiced and satisfied even more since they fulfilled their master’s plan. They worshipped, praised, and thanked for what their maker and master has done for them.

This potter should be very satisfied by now, but actually he was not. He should carefully protect these vessels in his house, but actually he did not do that, either. Finally, his hidden intention and plan was further revealed: he loved the vessels so much that he wanted to put the most precious thing in them. When he looks around, the most precious thing in his eyes was himself. In his ultimate plan, he also desired a house so he decided to make a golden house out of all the golden vessels. Therefore, He put all the vessels together, broke their hard outer shell, melted them together into one, and then transformed and built them into a very big golden vessel. Again, this potter did not force the vessels to do these things, but asked them to do so willingly even sometimes being transformed and built up with fellow vessels is not pleasant. Finally, when these individual golden vessels were fully transformed and built, all the vessels in their oneness with their master became a big and golden house. When this big golden house is finally finished, the potter moved in to live in and with his beloved golden vessels, and he found his ultimate satisfaction.

The above story is my understanding of a Christian’s lifetime experience and destiny. It is not a perfect analogy: The Lord does things not necessarily sequentially but concurrently. This story does not cover the lover aspect of our relationship with the Lord, and not too much on the organic aspect of our growth and transformation. But this story does have good coverage on what the Lord has done for us, what the Lord is doing, and what the Lord will accomplish in the future.

Metaphorically, our Lord is a even greater Potter and Master, and the real gold, and we are his vessels to contain Him. The dirt, dust, and garbage are our sin and sins, all the different colors are the world, politics, culture, and religion elements in us, and the hardened outer shell is the self in our flesh. And we know that our Lord Himself is the real gold. We are saved and regenerated once and forever. However, sometimes we may get lost, so the Lord would call us back. Sometimes the Lord transformes us by certain situation, and sometimes He builds us up according to His wisdom.

Our Lord is an even greater Potter and Master. The Lord, with His mighty wisdom and power and in His eternal economy, is carrying out his redeeming, cleaning, sanctifying, renewing, transforming, conforming plan concurrently on many unbelievers and Christian. When the hidden mystery is fully revealed, we realize that He also desires to build all of us together into one building in oneness. When such work is done, the New Jerusalem, the consummation of God’s work throughout the ages, will appear, and God shall dwell with, among, and in His people, His golden vessels, forever and ever. Today, we are living in this age, but our faith and hope should look forward onto the coming age. Today, we living in this visible world, but our heart should belong to the Lord and His invisible kingdom.

Praise God for being our great Creator, Master, and Savior!
Praise the Lord for being the One who loved us, redeemed us, regenerated us, transformed us, and who built us up into oneness and His body!
Praise God for His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Praise God for the economy of the mystery according to the eternal purpose which He made in Himself!

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