We come to Jesus dirty and He cleans us up. To try to do it ourselves is pride, the very thing that separates us from Him.
4 Remove the dross from silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel;
This passage sounds a whole lot like one in Timothy:
In a large house [a mansion] there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21
What is the CIT (Central Idea of the Text)? The removal of dross, which is any element that is foreign to the silver or the clay. When we come to Christ, we give Him our lives that are filled with dross. We don’t get cleaned up to come to Him because He wants to be the One to clean us up.
Picture this: We are standing in a mud field. We are covered in mud. We use mud to try to wash the mud off of ourselves. Does it work? NO! All we do is spread mud around. That’s what happens when we try to clean ourselves up. We need HIS POWER working in us, not our own; we need HIS CLEANSING BLOOD washing our sins away, not our own feeble efforts to change our behavior; we need HIS HOLY SPIRIT to transform the way we think, not our own intellect.
Jesus used this illustration:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matthew 5:13
Salt is Sodium Chloride:
It cannot become less salty or it would not be salt. What CAN happen is that it becomes contaminated with foreign elements so that the saltiness is diluted. That’s what sin does in our lives. We become contaminated with ungodliness and lose our moral authority with others, we lose the closeness in our relationships, and we choke off the working of the Spirit in our lives. We quench the Spirit (Eph. 4:30). What happened to salt in Jesus’ day when it became too contaminated to use? They spread it on roads to keep the grass from growing on it. It was still usable, but not for its preferred use, just like the pots in the mansion.
What’s interesting to me are those who are willful, who are stubborn about doing things their own way and pride themselves on being “free thinkers,” for they are actually following and conforming to the pattern of this world. In other words, they are not as “free thinking” as they think they are! Instead, they, as well as we, would do well to:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
The best way to remove dross from our lives is to focus on Him. The more we see Him, the more we will look like Him, act like Him, and be like Him. Let the Holy Spirit have His way in our lives and we WILL become JUST LIKE JESUS. Let’s DO THIS!