The Potter's House: Part 2

Jeremiah 18  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 10
And now that the time is come for us to go up to Him that made us, how are the redeemed to be presented there; and in what image and likeness are the raised and changed ones to stand eternally before Him? The word of the Lord which Jeremiah heard in the house of the potter, about Israel broken off and graffed in again, was wonderful. The word of God, spoken to us by the Son of the Father, and confirmed to us by the Holy Ghost, in the Church of the living God, is yet more marvelous:-" Beloved, now are we
the sons of God, and it cloth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." The word of the Lord in this chapter, or as Paul writes, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he
was buried, and that he rose again the third day." The new work wrought upon the wheel is, so to speak, here before, us-the second Man in resurrection-for, "as in Adam, all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that sleep." The last Adam, the quickening spirit, takes the place of the first; and the second Man, the Lord from heaven, supersedes the man of the earth, earthy. Persons and things are now as they should be: and there is another vessel made, as seemed good to the Father's mind and heart to fashion it. By the judicial death of Christ all has been dealt with and marred, that else we must have been judged for. And now man, in the person of the Christ, is beyond it by redemption, and with the Lord of life and glory in resurrection. Believers only wait for divine power to make this actually true in us, which is the truth in Christ about us. We who have " the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." And this power is what our chapter displays in all its necessary operations. "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." The sufficiency of the divine power is evident by which the dead are raised up. And now, as to the question with what body do they come, and in what likeness do they appear? This chapter gives us the words of the Lord, and shows us the works in resurrection, by which all is made plain. "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy." Solemn words. "And as the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly; and as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." " Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" Adam, the flesh, sin, and transgression, were all condemned, and set aside (as we have seen) by the death of Christ; and now death itself, the grave and corruption, do their work in marring the first vessel made of clay. Besides these inflictions and penalties from God, and the causes that produced them, we shall find the sting of death, and the strength of sin, brought into this triumphant chapter. Indeed, we may say, it stands as a companion, and a very necessary one, to Rom. 8, where there is neither condemnation nor separation, because the love of God has got us for itself in Christ, and challenges any and every creature to lay anything, against God's elect. "It is God that justifieth," silences every foe and fear; "it is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us," gives assurance to every hope of glory. If Rom. 8 is the great charter of our emancipation by grace and redemption, so the 1 Cor. 15; is our final and complete deliverance by resurrection power from death and the grave. In the former we are more than conquerors through him that loved us; and in the latter we are victors, and thank God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Again, in the former there was no separation from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord; in the latter there is nothing but separation by judicial power in judgment at the Cross, and by actual power in resurrection, from all that as a man in the flesh with the fallen Adam, once separated me from God, and from that very love of God in Christ, which now nothing can separate me from. The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law-but the sting and the strength have no longer a claim to enforce-on the contrary faith and hope and love wrap themselves up in the mystery, which carries us up and changes us in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, while we put on immortality, and become the witness of death swallowed up in victory. " 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."
Lastly, this order of God's actings gets a further fulfillment in the history of the material heavens and the earth, as described in 2 Peter 3 It is not so much dispensational truth, or what is measured by a dispensation that this chapter contains-but rather an outline of these heavens and this earth, with which we are made acquainted—in answer to the scoffers of the last days, who say, Where is the promise of His coining? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the foundation of the world. The six days work of Creation was marred, and they were willingly ignorant, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water, and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. Intermediately, he adds, " the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." But creation work is subjected to the same rule of the potter, as was the case with the first man Adam, and with Israel under the first covenant, and for the same reasons. If there be a question as to the secret of the marring and the making another vessel to honor, the 13th verse of this chapter in Peter will answer it-" Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Before the flood God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt, and the earth also was filled with violence, and God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me, and I will destroy them with the earth, so the vessel was marred. Since the deluge, and consequent upon man's attempt at Babel to unite the heavens and the earth by the city and the tower, God called out Abraham, and imputed righteousness to him by faith. This was the only, principle on which God could walk with a man upon this earth. At the incarnation of Christ righteousness came in with the righteous One, but by His rejection and crucifixion, righteousness and love too, were refused by mankind. By resurrection and ascension, righteousness in the person of Christ went away to the Father, where it still is-the Holy Ghost being sent to convict the world of the absent righteous One, whom they slew and hanged- on a tree; of present sin, because they believe not on me; and of a coming judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
God takes the part of suffering righteousness in the righteous Lord, and will execute judgment when He comes in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they shall be broken in pieces like a potter's vessel. In the meanwhile, righteousness being with God, and having when on earth put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, God can declare His righteousness in justifying the ungodly that believeth in Jesus. The secret of God's action in thus taking away the first that He may establish the second, or rather the proclaimed' rule in the gospel for this order is, that life, righteousness, and glory are with the second Man; whereas, sin in the flesh, condemnation, and the second death, were with the first man Adam. In conclusion, we may press on one another the importance of taking part with the potter against ourselves, in the condemnation of the first vessel, and knowing it in no other way. than as marred. The importance, too, is equal of taking sides with God, not only against the flesh in us, but of " Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith," that we may be rooted and grounded in love; strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, according to the riches of His glory, that we might be filled with all the fullness of God. J. E. B.