To Be Conformed to the Image of His Son (continued)
Now let us come to our next step in this matter of the movement into the Mind of God. We have lifted out of Jeremiah that verse which speaks of the vessel being marred and made again. Of course, historically this related to Israel, which was the vessel that God was forming at that time. Israel was the clay in God's hands out of which He was seeking to make a vessel for His glory, but Israel resisted the will of God and He had to crush that clay out of shape and begin again to make another vessel as was good in His sight. We will come back to that later.
The principle is of much wider application. If Jeremiah 18 was confined to Israel alone, then we have no right to be here this morning. Our only justification would be that we are trying to be students of history. However, the principle is of much wider application than Israel - it applies to the whole human race, as much to the Gentiles as to the Jews.
The clay is humanity as a whole. God began to make a vessel of humanity, but it was marred in the hands of the Potter, so He set Himself to make another vessel, and we know that He is now forming His new heavenly vessel of the clay out of all nations.
To return to Israel: When Israel broke down, nationally and historically, God brought in the spiritual and eternal Israel, and now at this time, in this very place, He is at work on this other vessel. God is now forming a spiritual Israel in the place of the earthly and temporal Israel.
The first thing God has done is to reveal the pattern of His vessel. I think it is a very wonderful thing that in this dispensation God has commenced by showing His pattern. The pattern has been set before us - and this is the whole meaning of the Incarnation of God's Son.
And yet, while that is so true, it requires the work of the Holy Spirit to make us see the Pattern. He was in close touch with men, yet they did not see Him. They did not know nor understand Who and what was this One Who was moving in their midst every day. He was not recognized by the world, and it was with great difficulty that even His disciples had any conception of what He was. It was not until the Holy Spirit came that they began to see Who it was that had been with them all that time, and then not only did they begin to see Who He was, but What He was. They not only saw the Person, but they began to see the meaning of the Person. They came to see that He was a great Pattern, so the Holy Spirit revealed in their hearts not only the Person but the Pattern.
But the Holy Spirit went further. It would be a terrible thing for us if our eyes were opened to see all the meaning of Jesus Christ. If the Holy Spirit revealed Christ to us we might fall down in utter despair. We would say, like Peter: "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." However, the Holy Spirit began to make the Pattern real in the disciples. To use the so well-known words of the Apostle Paul, He began to 'conform them to the image of Christ' (Romans 8:29).
Those two things are essential to our coming into the Mind of God.
(continued with # 12)