“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are His.” (2 Tim. 2:19)
You are in hands whose grip cannot be loosened, you are more safe and secure than you will ever realize. If you are a child of God, no harm will come to you, no enemy can stand against you, you have absolutely nothing to fear. There is a security in these words that we comprehend and truly believe, but we are in our own minds vessels that are easily cracked, easily broken, and far too many who profess Christ today are allowing themselves to be vessels that are barely large enough to contain a grain of sand.
Read with me here two of the following verses in 2 Timothy. “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (v 20-21) These vessels of honor are those who have devoted their lives to Christ, but those of dishonor are not the lost my friends, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, they are not of gold and silver though, but of wood and earth. Our Lord is gracious to us in His word, He has written it in such a way that even a small child can be taught to understand it, and in a way that even the spiritually discerning can still find new truths in every day. This analogy is simple for us, gold vessels are more valuable than wood, they are capable of containing more weight, stronger than vessels made of earth.
The believer in Christ is precious in the eyes of God, for in us He sees His Son, and I will not speak for the Lord here, but those who have determined to live their life for His Son are of more value to Him than those who have not endured hardness, (v 2) that have not entangled themselves with the affairs of this life, (v 4) that shun profane and vain babblings, (v 16) all who have given their lives to Christ are vessels of mercy, (Rom. 9:23) but not all have sanctified themselves from the cares of this world, from the pursuits of pleasure for self, they have not dedicated the entirety of their lives to be “ meet for the Master’s use.” (v 21) All of the second chapter of 2 Timothy, along with many other places in the Scriptures, concerns the actions of a good soldier of Christ in the days of the apostacy, the days in my heart I believe we are in. Wood and earth, dirt if you will, as easily obtainable items, there is nothing rare about them, but gold and silver are a different matter, we much search diligently for them, or pay a fair amount to possess them. The same price was paid for every human being that was and ever will be born, and the price at the cross that Jesus paid for us is beyond our comprehension.
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) Vessels of earth and wood are useful to a degree, but they cannot be used to the fullest extent as the ones of gold and silver, for they cannot stand up to the demands placed upon them, they will not burst asunder, for the Lord will not place upon us more than we can bear, but He will test us, He will allow pain and suffering, and through the trials and tribulations you will be shown just what type of vessel you are at this moment of your life. We are to perform, we are to put forth effort, not to try to repay our Lord, not to show how much we love Him, not even because we are commanded to, but because He loves us, there is no greater desire than that of love, for if we do not have love, we are nothing. (1 Cor. 13:2)
God is not automatically going to transform you into a golden vessel prepared for His use, there is a progression, so to speak, earth, wood, silver, gold, all of us start at the same place, at the foot of the cross, all those who are truly His chosen ones will finish the race at the same place, in heaven, in the glory of His presence, but not all will arrive with the same gifts. Many I am afraid will be saved only by fire, (1 Cor. 3:15) far too many will bring with them only wood, hay and stubble, (1 Cor. 3:12-13) many will arrive in heaven with nothing to bring the Lord. Those who do so will still be invited in, for they are His children, but they will have done only what they were commanded to do, if even that, and so they are unprofitable, (Luke 17:10) they have done nothing with their lives in Christ to further the kingdom of God, everything they have brought will have no value, yet they are still loved.
Our Lord loves these as much as He loves the vessels of gold, there are no “favorites” of souls in the kingdom, God is no respecter of persons, (Rom. 2:11) but there are rewards, rewards and crowns for those who have died to self, who have placed Christ first in their lives, who have produced fruit. (Col. 1:10) I have mentioned this in previous letters to you, but it bears repeating here, when you see Paul, Moses and Jesus strolling along and talking in the New Jerusalem, do you believe, looking at your life in Christ today, that you will be able to walk right over there and join in with them, does wood have any place to stand alongside gold, can earth and silver be mixed together.
My wonderful wife purchased a shirt for me for Christmas that reads “God does not choose the qualified, He qualifies the chosen.” We have everything we need to become vessels of gold, to become useful tools in the Master’s hands, every opportunity has been afforded us, there are no excuses, but we will not be forced, we will not be made into gold vessels if we do not desire to be one. I can rationalize this in no other way at this point in my walk with Christ than to say that those earthen vessels are still trying to live for themselves and the world, the vessels of wood are still concerned with what the lost of this world think of them, they will not die to self, at least not yet, and perhaps never. It is one thing to hope you will enter into heaven, it is quite another to have the assurance of your salvation, it is one thing to hope that you will receive a reward, and quite another to know you will.
Paul did not say I hope there is a crown of righteousness waiting for me, he knew it was there, he knew all of his crowns and rewards were waiting for him, do not deceive yourselves into believing that those same rewards are waiting for you just because you’re a Christian, do not think that those that do not serve will receive the same crowns as those that do, if you come into the presence of the Lamb with nothing, you will walk around heaven with nothing, you will have no treasures stored up there. There are a lot of Christians that don’t like to hear those words, they believe that they will receive the same welcoming committee that John did, that Paul did, just because they have accepted Christ as Savior. Wooden vessels are not as useful as gold ones.
If you are reading this, that means you’re still breathing, you’re still alive, and that means there is still an opportunity for growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ, still time to be sanctified even further, but don’t rush out the door to feed the poor and hungry thinking that will do it, although it might not be a bad idea. You must submit to the will of God, there is no other way “All our righteousness’s are as filthy rags,” (Isaiah 64:6) but “I can do all things through Christ. (Phil. 4:13) The word of God is so simple and clear, easily understood as we grow, and more convicting to us as we submit ourselves to His will for us. Those who are dying to self are those vessels that are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, into profitable servants fit for the Master’s hands.
The choice is yours, it always has been, you must simply decide who is more important, you or Christ, you must decide where your heart is, for that is where your treasure is, (Luke 12:34) when the rains come, when trials and tribulations appear, earthen and wood vessels collapse, not so with gold and silver, they are strong, the Lord has blessed them with the knowledge that whom they serve is faithful and true, but remember this, they were once no more than the size of a teacup, able to hold no more than a grain of sand. Convict yourself my friends through the power of the Holy Spirit of God to become useful in the Master’s hands, to become a vessel of gold.