The Consecrated Christian And Conformity to the World -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 04:2 (Winter 1995)
Article: The Consecrated Christian And Conformity to the World
Author: David J. MacLeod

The Consecrated Christian And Conformity to the World

David J. MacLeod1

An Exposition of Romans 12:1–2


We begin with a horror story.2 Unlike the horror stories in novels, TV, and films, this one is true. Hundreds of years ago in China, for the amusement of the nobility, the art of molding men was developed. The practitioners of this art would take a child two or three years old, place him in a porcelain vase, sometimes a vase grotesque in shape, a vase without bottom or top. Only the child’s head and legs would protrude from the vase. The child would be kept in that vase for years, standing in the daytime, reclining at night to sleep. All the while his small and pliable body would be growing and filling the contours of the vase with flesh and bones. After several years in the vase the child’s body took on the shape of the vase and the child became a grotesque, misshapen human monster. The child became as twisted as the vase, and the damage to his body was irreparable. When the practitioners of the art of molding men thought that the child’s shape was permanent, they would break the vase and remove the child, now perhaps eight or ten years old. Before them was a helpless child shaped like a vase, a source of endless amusement for the noblemen of China.

We are horrified to learn that there could be men as cruel as that: Men who could take little children and keep them imprisoned in a porcelain pot for years, despite the begging and pleading of the children to be released. We are angered by the idea of forcing helpless children to become human vases to be ridiculed by the rich men and rulers of China. We ought to be angry at such cruelty.

In Romans 12:1–2 the Apostle Paul tells us of a danger far worse than the

physical deformity caused by cruel men. He tells us of the world that deforms our minds. The world creates monsters of the mind and soul. It twists, malforms, and exerts great and unrelenting pressure on us all, especially on the young, to conform to its shape. The world is a great vase, and we are all in it.

While the Chinese sought to twist the limbs of children, the world seeks to twist their thoughts. While the Chinese sought to keep children imprisoned in a porcelain vase until their deformity was irreparable, the world seeks to keep us in our sins until the last judgment.

Worst of all, the world’s work is not always obvious, because it is not visible. Because it does not...

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