Earlier last week I messed up my sleep schedule by taking an afternoon nap and because of that, I was awake for several hours that night with nothing to do. Naturally, I wasted it looking through random memes and I came across this one. I looked up the background of what this is and here’s what I found on Wikipedia: “Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold. Kintsukuroi may have originated when a shogun sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China for repairs in the late 15th century. When it was returned repaired with ugly metal staples, it may have prompted Japanese craftsmen to look for a more aesthetic means of repair. Collectors became so enamored of the new art that some were accused of deliberately smashing valuable pottery so it could be repaired with the gold seams of kintsukuroi.”
It really struck me when I read the text under the picture of how similar this is to the work of salvation. When you consider our origins and how we were made, the Bible gives a very simple analogy. In Jeremiah 18:3-6 it compares our creation to that of a potter and his clay.
3 So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working with clay at the wheel. 4 He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be. 5 Then this message from the Lord came to me: 6 “Family of Israel, you know that I can do the same thing with you. You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.”
Each of us were fearfully and wonderfully made, God created us specifically according to his own design to make you who you are, and me who I am. No two people are the same; each one has their own set of strengths, weaknesses, and differences in general but we are all considered perfect pieces of artwork in the eyes of God. I had the opportunity to go see my nephew for the first time two weekends ago in Chicago. It was just amazing to hold a new born baby because he doesn’t know where he is or what this world holds for him. That is the perfect picture of innocence and purity. He had no idea at all what sin was or that he, in fact, was born into a sinful world.
“The disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:1-4
Every human being on this earth was born the same way. Each of us are flawless pieces of art made by the Potter, created to serve the Creator.
The story doesn’t end there, fortunately. Though we were perfect creations made by God and are innocent as children when we are born, we do not always stay that way. If we look at any young child we see their tendency towards deceit and wrong doing. The older they get, the more apparent their sin nature becomes. The truth of it is that all of us are born in sin.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23
Though we are perfect creations, because of the sin of one man, Adam, we all are born into sin.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” – Romans 5:12
These verses clearly show us that though we were once perfect pieces of pottery made by the Potter, we are now broken and imperfect pieces of pottery due to the sin in our lives. The sad truth is that no one is excluded. Every human being who has ever existed or will exist on the face of this earth will fall into this category of being an imperfect sinner. In the first part of Romans 6:23 we read, “For the wages of sin is death…” That means that as sinners, we are condemned to die for the sins we have committed and face eternal separation from God in Hell.
Luckily, not all hope is lost! The second part of that verse says, “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Though we were imperfect broken pieces which were undeserving of the holiness and righteousness of God, from the beginning of time, God had a plan for us to be saved from our helpless and hopeless condition.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
In the Old Testament, we read there is only remission of sins through the shedding of blood. So in order to be forgiven of sin and stand righteous before God, there must be a perfect and eternal sacrifice. This couldn’t be animals since they are not eternal sacrifices. It could not be another human being standing in our stead because they would not be sinless. The one and only perfect sacrifice was Christ Jesus Himself because not only was He the spotless Lamb of God, but He is also eternal. He conquered sin and death by resurrecting on the third day after being crucified and now we can be made victors in Him by accepting the salvation He offers us. That once broken piece of pottery can be made beautiful again by believing in His salvation work. It’s that simple! All you have to do is admit that you are a sinner who has broken God’s law, believe in your heart that Christ died for all your past, present, and future sins, and commit yourself to following Christ and serving Him with your life. With that, you can be included into God’s heavenly kingdom as the flawless creation you were intended to be!
The story is not over yet! If you look at the bowl shown above, you see the gold lining where the cracks used to be. That’s the gold lacquer that holds the pot together and gives it the outstanding beauty that makes it so much more attractive than other standard pots. A believer’s walk once accepting Christ is very similar in many ways. Just as gold is refined in a fire and pulled out in the purest form, every believer is tested with trials during their spiritual walk here on earth so that in the end they may come out of the fire more pure in the image of Christ. We see this in I Peter 1:3-7,
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
As a believer we can be certain we will constantly face tests and trials in our life on earth. But this shouldn’t be discouragement to us as we are reassured in James 1:2-4 that the testing of our faith produces endurance. It reads,
“2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
It’s just another way that Christ is preparing each believer for the kingdom!
What an amazing thought: we were once created perfect pieces of art made by the Potter Himself, then broken into fragments by the sin in our lives, only to be put back again by the Potter’s faultless restoration. Now are counted even more beautiful than before BECAUSE we were once broken! And not only that, but we also have the encouragement of being refined by fire through the trials we face so that we can be formed into the image of Christ more and more each day! With this in mind let’s live our lives to love and serve the Lord!