untitledA sculptor sits down on his stool, his sleeves rolled up. He reaches out and lays hold of the clay – cold, passive, and formless. On the wheel, he spins and shapes the clay, fashioning it into that which is before his mind’s eye. He is in total control, the master of his art. He is the lord of the clay, and the product is wholly his.

All human sculptors are but a hazy image, a shadow of God. He is the Prime Sculptor, making the worlds, shaping them into the pattern and use for which He has predetermined them. Scripture confirms what nature teaches. God is Sovereign, performing His absolute will.

This extends not only to lifeless earth or to the animal kingdom, for God is also Sculptor of man. He has a predetermined purpose for him, a purpose as it pleases Him. Now, looking at the wreckage of human history,  it may seem as though God’s purpose has failed. Satan hijacked the man-project, and Adam and Eve were ruined. True enough. But God’s will cannot in the end be thwarted. If it can, we demote God. Shorn of omnipotence, He lives not as the Shaper, but as the shaped.  But God is God!  And “He has done whatever pleased Him.”

Adam and Eve, complicit with the Devil, abused their free will – and we in them. Further, we have as their offspring followed suit. But this did not catch God off-guard. God had already from eternity past determined that man should fall into sin and misery, and even this would fulfill His purpose. “Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world.”

And from before all time, God chose from the clay of mankind a number of men and women as yet unborn and non-existent. He determined to fashion them and not others into vessels on which He would lavish mercy and eternal glory. Then God also sovereignly chose that the rest of mankind should be designed for eternal ruin for their eventual sins. Everlasting life and everlasting death – these the Bible presents to us as the two unseen destinies for which this world is but a brief preparation. Some will go to heaven, while others will be plunged into hell. And why? Because God is the Master Sculptor. He is the Determiner of everything. Or, in short, because God is God. “He hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of judgment.”

This rubs sinful men the wrong way. Paul, anticipating this objection, wrote,

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:20-24).

We can surely can clench our teeth, shake our fists, and protest all we want. But God is God. He does as it pleases Him. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” “Elect according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will .”

If you chafe at this, you do it at your peril. God’s will is irresistible. You can fault God, but God is faultless.  We all know that does not make us sin; no one does. But you fight God unforced; you walk down the broad path to destruction of your own free will.

But just as the sun softens some materials and hardens others, so God can take this solemn doctrine of predestination and use it to bring about a very different response. The Master is ever at His workbench.  He uses various tools for his purpose. And even this tool, with its seemingly sharp, serrated edges, is at his disposal. Perhaps even now He is humbling you.  Perhaps now He is instilling fear and spiritual anxiety.  Perhaps until now you have never thought of your eternal destiny before, much less the horrifying prospect of hell.  But maybe now you are.  And now you must be saved.

Cry out to God.  Call upon His name.  And lay hold of that only name that He has given among men through which they may be saved, the name of Jesus Christ.




Author: westportexperiment

I am a minister serving Presbyterian Reformed Church of Rhode Island, with strong interest in the history, theory, and contemporary application of parochial church extension.

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