There is an infinite difference between the materials that men employ to construct and compose their masterpieces–and the materials that God uses to create sinners anew in Christ Jesus. Men work with the best of materials to showcase their talents, but God works with the worst–to showcase His power, wisdom, and skill.
The most gifted sculptors carve their creations out of the finest pieces of ivory, marble, and jade. The best jewelers seek only the finest gold and silver to form their bracelets and rings–they utilize only the most desirable gems to adorn their jewelry; rubies of the highest grade, diamonds of most exquisite clarity, and emeralds of impeccable luster. Da Vinci painted on a clean canvas with fresh paint when he painted the Mona Lisa. Beethoven and Bach chose blank sheets of clean white paper upon which to compose their symphonies.
But God is not like men. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. God employs, not the best, not the finest, not the most appealing of materials when creating His masterpieces–but the worst! He uses what no one else wants. He uses the offscouring of humanity–to display His handiwork and magnify His grace. God constructs His masterpiece, not from a perfectly shaped piece of ivory–but from a deformed, twisted, marred chunk of hard rough stone that has no attraction.
God has purposed to conform His redeemed people into the pristine image of His darling Son. While keeping His eye fixed upon His Son, using the chisel of His grace–God sculpts rebel sinners into the likeness of Christ!
God paints, not on a clean white canvas–but on a canvas that has been . . .
stained with sin, spotted with corruption, and bespattered with the filth of the fall.
As the perfect Painter, God looks to Christ His Model, and, with the brush of omnipotent mercy in His ever steady hand of sovereign power–He begins to paint His children, one by one, into the family portrait; tracing every line with divine precision, filling in every grace with unfailing accuracy, accentuating every corner of their character with a whole array of heavenly hues: blues of faith and surrender, violets of honesty and godly fear, greens of tenderness and gratitude, reds of love and compassion, yellows of patience and perseverance–painting them all in the similitude of Christ His beloved Son!
God does not compose His symphony on a blank piece of sheet music. Rather, He blots out the discordant notes of sin, rebellion, and impurity–and with the permanent ink of immutable grace, He rewrites the sorrowful sonnet of sin, transforming it into the song of salvation, inscribing on our hearts the heavenly notes of free forgiveness, eternal life, and everlasting righteousness through Christ our Savior! With heavenly wisdom and unseen skill, God makes the sad song of human misery–into a glorious gospel melody, a tune that sounds best when played on the broken instruments of contrite hearts!
Our God has . . . .
done the unthinkable,
saved the unsavable,
fixed the unfixable!
He has created a masterpiece using a rotting chunk of fallen humanity as His workpiece! What a wonder! By the grace and power of God, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within!”
When God’s work is all done,
when His poem is finished,
when His symphony composed,
and His masterpiece complete–
He will present us to Himself holy and without blemish, “a glorious church, having no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing!”
God’s work of grace in us begins in regeneration and conversion. It continues until the day when our salvation is consummated in resurrection glory, when we will be perfectly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son!” Romans 8:29
The path in front of me may be full of flowers–or full of thorns.
Or, as is more probable, flower and thorn may be mingled together.
The sky may be light–or dark.
The weather may be glorious summer–or bleakest winter.
But I go safely and happily, if the Lord Jesus, who can and will supply my every need, is with me all the days.
Some of the days will be days of discipline–of the pruning knife and the cleansing fire. But when He is with me, the discipline is a blessing, and not a curse. It teaches me . . .
to grasp His strong right hand with a tighter hold,
to pray more earnestly,
to find heights and depths of meaning in the promises of God,
to feel for others who are in tribulation.
Mind and heart and character are bettered by the endurance of affliction.
Many of the days, too, will be days of monotony. They must be spent in little things–household labors, common concerns, unnoticed toil. I may long for a more striking and romantic experience. But when He is with me, I know that He makes my life like His own–the blessed life He lived among carpenters’ tools, and village streets, and peasant people. The drudgery is a love-message–it is Jesus Christ in disguise!
Every day will be a day of temptation. In the home, in the business, in company, in loneliness–I shall encounter the devil’s subtle snares. But let my Lord be with me, and temptation will but reveal the closeness and blessedness of the tie. It will be an instrument which He uses to impart more maturity to my graces–more courage, more patience, more trust.
Perhaps one of the days will be the day of death. But if He does not leave or forsake me, then death will be an ingredient in the training that fits me for the glorious inheritance! As John Bunyan pictures it–I must cross the ‘River of Death’ to reach the ‘Celestial City’. Jesus did it Himself, and the disciple is not above the Master. His Everlasting Arms will sustain me in the flood; and, on the other side, I shall enter the ‘Beautiful Gate’ and see His face!
ALL the days He is with me–to the end, and through the end, and beyond the end forever and ever! Whether I live, therefore, or whether I die–I am His and He is mine!