November 19, 2007 Ration

II Peter 3:10-12a

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…?”

The Lord is not a thief. Everything is His, so He steals nothing when He takes or destroys what He has made. The Lord is the Owner and Master of all His creation, which includes the artist and any material or immaterial that the artist works with. But when the Master returns as in “the day of the Lord,” there will be ways in which a “thief” will be a helpful image.

A thief takes your property, your valuables, so that he can hope to benefit from possessing them. This is not God’s motive. God does not benefit from possessing anything of “ours,” because as David so clearly states, “…all things come from Thee, and from Thy hand we have given Thee” (I Chronicles 29:14b). But when a thief takes what you have, you no longer have it. All your hard work and investment is lost. Fire, in this sense, is then like a thief. Fire consumes everything in its path, and the hotter the fire, the more consuming is its flame. The day of the Lord is coming with an intense fire that will destroy, consume, eradicate, liquidate, and incinerate the earth and all the works therein. All paintings and statues that have been preserved, so graciously, for generations will be returned to dust and ash. All sound recordings will melt. All architectural amazements will be leveled beyond recognition of existence. God is doing away with the old groanings of the curse and is establishing an incomparably glorious new heavens and earth. The destruction of everything we are familiar with on this earth will come as sure as the flood drowned everything in Noah’s day, save the ark, at God’s bidding.

So, artists, since all your beautiful works are to be completely destroyed with fire, what kind of artist should you be? What work of yours will survive through the fire? Whatever has mass or needs mass to be preserved will be gone. Is there a way to labor in and enjoy artistic expression such that the labor will not be in vain when the fire comes, and the enjoyment will not extinguish with it?

Truth, which has no mass, will pass through the fire. Truth is not dependant upon mass for its survival. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away,” says Jesus (Mark 13:31). The fire will act as a truth purger, revealing and removing all that is not true.

Artists, do you want your labors in the arts to outlast all cultural fads, any economic boundary, any technological advancement, or the fire that is to come? Your labor in the Lord in your artistry will not be in vain. In fact, you will need the fire’s fury in order to reap the full harvest of your labors. Most of the fruitfulness from your artistry, and for sure the most valuable fruit, will not be known until God’s fire has burned the earth and incinerated your artwork. On one hand, God’s fire works His wrath against all that is corrupt, while on the other hand it works His pleasure in the purification of all things. The day of the Lord is not to be loathed or defended against as we would a thief, rather, the day of the Lord is to be looked for and hastened like the potter who enjoys the kindling of his kiln.

Artists, will the firing kiln of the day of the Lord result in loss or reward for your artistic labors? If you knew that your work must pass through fire, would you work differently? Know that it will be tested, and so will you. But do not be discouraged by this. The Lord is for you in His consuming fire. So look for and even hasten the coming of the Lord with all godliness and holy conduct in your artistic labors, so that you can enjoy, in fullest measure, the glory of truth and its purest pleasure.

What sort of artist ought you to be, that after the fire, your works, we'll see?

Jason Harms


© 2007 The Gaius Project