Key Bible Verse: You, LORD, are our Father. We are nothing but clay, but you are the potter who moulded us. (Isaiah 64:8, CEV)

Dig Deeper: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Our transformation by the sculptor’s hand is slow and frequently imperceptible to us on a day-to-day basis. The restoration of our earthen vessels tends to go much more slowly than we would like.

It’s important to underscore that our transformation is not a technique. We do not sculpt ourselves into the image of Christ. The good news of the gospel sets us free from turning our sanctification into one more body-project like attaining tight abs, clear skins, and perfect SAT scores. It is not a task that we complete. The work of sanctification is not ours, but God’s. He is the one who gives himself to us, and as we open ourselves to his presence, the impurities that we mistakenly treat as essential to our humanity will fall away, without our effort. “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified” (1 Cor. 6:11, ESV).

Our sanctification, our transformation into the image of Jesus Christ, is a response of gratitude to the good news that we have been forgiven. As Karl Barth has put it, “Gratitude is the creaturely counterpart to grace.” Our gratitude, our worship, our adoration is precisely that which marks us off as people who are conscious of their dependency on the extraordinary mercy of God.

– Matthew Lee Anderson in Earthen Vessels

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