The Treasure In Earthen Vessels

The Treasure In Earthen Vessels                  

2 Corinthians 4:7

            The treasure God’s servants carry through the world is the gospel of his grace, by which he communicates to chosen sinners all the blessings of grace and salvation in Christ (Eph. 1:3-14). But the preachers who carry this treasure are only “earthen vessels,” clay pots, worthless and meaningless in themselves.

            The preacher is, in himself, nothing. He is a sinner saved by grace, no more. He is a vessel in which the treasure is carried. In all my life, I never heard of a woman who had received a diamond ring admiring or idolizing the pretty box in which it was carried. Unlike the box that carries the diamond, God’s servants are “earthen vessels,” just clay pots, unadorned, ugly, and far too earthen to be of any value.

            It does not matter whether the preacher has a string of degrees or no degrees, an energetic and oratorical style, or no style – He is just an earthen vessel. The only thing of significance is “the treasure,” the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            The treasure we carry by which God is pleased to save his elect is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel is identified in many, many ways in Holy Scripture (Matt. 4:23; Mk. 1:1; Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:1, 9; 10:15; Eph. 1:13). But be sure you understand this – That which God uses to save his elect is not the false gospel of Arminian, freewill, works religion (Gal. 1:6-9), but the gospel of his free, sovereign, saving grace in Christ (Rom. 1:15-17). God does not use religious lies to bring men to know him who is the Truth. It is not the lie of works, but the truth of grace that makes sinners free.

            That which is primary and essential in the gospel and that which must be primary in our preaching is the sin-atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:3). The gospel has not been preached until men have been made to hear “How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,” not just that he died, but HOW he died.

            Here are four words that define “How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” SOVEREIGNTY – Christ died by an act of his own sovereign will, according to the purpose of the sovereign Lord God, for the people he was sent of God to save (John 10:14-18; Acts 2:23; Heb. 10:5-10). SUBSTITUTION – Our Lord Jesus Christ died as the Substitute for God’s elect. He laid down his life for his sheep, not the goats (John 10:11, 14). It is utter folly to imagine that he would die for people for whom he refused even to pray (John 17:9, 20). Is it not? Christ died for his people (Isa. 53:8), not those who are not his people. SATISFACTION – Being both God and Man in one glorious Person, our Savior was able, by his one great sacrifice, to satisfy the justice of God’s holy law and justice (Rom. 3:24-26). His was a sacrifice of infinite merit! SUCCESS – All that Christ wanted to accomplish as the result of his death at Calvary shall be accomplished by the efficacy of his grace (Isa. 53:10-11). It is written, “He shall not fail!”

Don Fortner

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