Pause for thought
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“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” [Romans 8:28-30 NIV]

There is a wonderfully illustrative apocryphal story about the great sculptor, Michelangelo.

One day at the stone quarry he selected a huge block of marble which had been broken out of the surrounding rock by the quarrymen. It was rough-hewn and coarse with many jagged edges and imperfections. In short it was just an unpromising lump of rock with no inherent beauty to recommend it.

Michelangelo ordered that the huge slab be sent to his workshop with a label saying “reserve for David”.

When asked what this meant he said, “David is inside there, I just have to release him by removing all the imperfections that have him trapped inside”. And indeed the massive statue of David which Michelangelo “released” is today celebrated as one of the most sublime works of art ever produced by a human being!

The artwork was in the mind of the sculptor before he selected the material - that is he “foreknew” what it was he wanted to produce. The marble could have been cut up to make tiles for a floor, or the balustrade of a stairway, but the sculptor “called” it and “predestined” it for his workshop where he would work on it until it “conformed to the image” of David he had in his mind.

Paul in his letter to the church in Rome points out that God already has in mind (“foreknows”) what He wants his creation to look like. He wants faithful reproductions of His Son.

In many ways He could achieved this by using angels as his raw material, but as the writer to the Hebrews tells us,

“We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:16 NLT

His glory is enhanced by choosing fallen mankind — warts and all — as the basis of His new creation.

In His workshop of life He hacks and hews, files and smooths, removing imperfections and ugliness until we emerge from the process as replicas of Jesus himself. Perhaps this is the picture John had in mind when he wrote:

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” [1 John 3:2-3 NIV]

Or as another Saint John [Gowans] wrote, “To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me…” [SASB #328]

Let’s not be concerned when uses the circumstances of life to refine our characters, rather let’s praise and adore Him for His love in reshaping us into the image of Jesus which will be glorious beyond imagining.

Or as Charles Wesley so eloquently put it:

 “Finish then Thy new creation, Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see Thy great salvation,
 Perfectly restored in Thee. Changed from glory into glory,
 Till in Heaven we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love and praise” [SASB #262 v3]

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

P.S. if you’d like to read previous ruminations of mine they can be found at

Friday June 21st, 2024