“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.” (2 Tim 2:20-21).
God wants to use people. In the past few years preachers have laid waste to this term “used by God” because of it’s lack of appeal (like they have done with many truths). The idea of being “used” by anyone, is not an attractive premise at all because people fear being manipulated, exploited and exhausted: used. That is not the case! This is not what is meant by the word, “use.” The word “use” is not only pronounced differently in the text but is (euchrestos) which loosely means easier to use.
To be used by God is to be of use to God.
It gives us the understanding that as a practice God utilizes and employs people for his purpose. God wants to use you my dear Christian friend!
Isaiah said, “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” (Isaiah 26:12).
Notice that he has wrought all OUR works in us.
He is saying, “Lord, you deserve the credit for everything we have done-it was you doing it.”
When God uses a person he actually works through that person. So being used by God means He is working with you (Josh 1:9), in you (Phil 2:13), for you (Rom 8:31), and through you (John 7:38-39). This should be our daily prayer.
The biblical pattern is that God saved us by the blood of Christ and placed his Spirit in us to make us a living witness to the grace and power of God. Paul said it this way, “…for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Tim 1:16).
We have been saved as examples of God’s power to save such wayward, rebellious sinners such as we were. We who belong to God by his Sovereign Grace have the privilege of God doing his work through us. It is no longer, “I” but “Christ” for that “Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20).
God’s will is that we “be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21). A vessel had special meaning in scripture. A vessel, could be anything from a cup, dish, plate and utensil. God fashions shapes and moulds those that he uses. Isaiah said, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isa. 64: 8).
God uses this analogy of people. Paul was a chosen vessel or literally “a vessel of election” (Acts 9:15). He uses the phrase, “a vessel of honor” to describe how God uses people in this passage. He is the one who has the power to make us a vessel of honor or dishonor (Rom 9:21). When God saves a person they become a vessel of honor in salvation. God calls some the “vessels of wrath” other the “vessels of mercy” (Rom 9:22-23).
This means that God can use anything or anyone for his purposes. Saved or unsaved, godly or ungodly-God can strategically move people into position to accomplish his plans. That is what we call God’s Providence.
But it is my firm conviction that God uses US in a way that the UNBELIEVER could never dream about.
The reason for this is that the one whom God uses is committed to “purge himself from these…” The Christian can be used because the Christian is clean. The word purge is where we get catharsis. It means to clean out thoroughly. In the context of this passage, Paul is reprimanding Timothy to break away from attachment with false teachers that destroy the faith of others. If he completely cleanses himself from them, then God will honor him, set him apart, and equip him for service. We will address this another time.
Believers are loyal to Jesus Christ as their Master so they desire to remove everything from the old life that would disease the new being intolerant of contaminating influences. God desires to use vessels that are clean before him and that take holy living seriously.
Paul compares the church and those in it to being a great house and there are various kinds of furniture, containers and utensils in it. They all serve a purpose. Some have an everyday common use. But there are others that have an extraordinary, special use. Some are silverware and some are gold ware. God calls us to become vessels of honor or sanctification according to our text. He gives us the choice.
“Meet for the Masters use…” That leads into the concept of Christ being our Master. The word master (despotes) means “one who possesses undisputed ownership and absolute, unrestricted authority.” We are Christ’s peculiar people or his particular possession (Titus 2:14). Our Lord Jesus has undisputed ownership and uninhibited power over us and he has a design to use us for his glory!
We are “prepared for every good work.” This describes the vessel God uses as fit, ready and prepared for activity. They are outfitted and equipped. They are primed for action because they are trained and rehearsed to do what God has designed for them. A vessel of honor is not only made but trained. After God sets us aside we set ourselves aside so that he might use us in a greater way. It is an exciting thought to anyone who loves God for Him to employ them in his service to help others.
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