Treasure in Earthen Vessels

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

     As a kid growing up, I liked to eat Cracker Jacks because of the surprise in the box. I would open the box and carefully sift through the candied popcorn until I found the prize. Similarly, when grocery shopping with my mother, I would always try to get her to buy the cereal with the surprise inside. The candied popcorn and cereal were all right, but what I really wanted was the surprise.
     God has put something very special inside of every born-again believer—something much, much greater than any prize in a box of popcorn or cereal. He even refers to it as a treasure, a treasure that is to be used and shared.
II Corinthians 4:7:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

     “This treasure” we have is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, His Word, and His gift of holy spirit. Our “earthen vessels” are our physical bodies. With God’s gift of holy spirit inside, we have access to His superabundant power, “that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Knowing of this powerful treasure, we can focus on God and His abilities in us rather than on ourselves and our own limitations. With God’s power we can shine as lights in a dark and perverse world.
     God’s gift of holy spirit is given to every person who confesses Jesus as lord and believes in his heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9 and 10). At the time of the new birth, a person is saved, or made whole. He or she is born again and is now a child of God.
     In our first birth we were born of corruptible seed. Our physical bodies, with all their awesome capacities, will not last forever; they are corruptible. In this new birth, however, we are born again of incorruptible seed—the gift of holy spirit—and we have eternal life.
I Peter 1:23:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

     The Word of God uses various ways to describe this gift of holy spirit. It is referred to as the “inner man” in Ephesians 3:16:
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.
     In Colossians 1:27, it is called “Christ in you.”
Colossians 1:27:
To whom God would make known what
is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
     In Ephesians 4:24, God’s gift of holy spirit is referred to as “the new man.”
Ephesians 4:24:
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

     In II Corinthians 4 we saw that the gift is described as a treasure. God has so much to say about the treasure that is in us. Let’s explore this tremendous reality more deeply.
II Corinthians 4:6 and 7:
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to
give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
[For] we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
     The same God Who commanded the light to shine in Genesis 1:3 has shined His brilliancy in our hearts.
Genesis 1:3:
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

     The same power, the same energy, that “turned on the light” in Genesis lit up our darkened hearts when we were born again. We now are light—His light. Our lives have been illuminated by the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
     The “glory of God” is the manifested power of God. God caused the light of the knowledge of His glory to shine in our hearts, and we became His children with His gift of Christ in us. II Corinthians 4:6 contains a figure of speech; when it states “in the face of Jesus Christ,” it figuratively means “through the work that Jesus Christ did.” God has shined His light in our hearts to give us His power. How? He did this by way of the works of His Son, Jesus Christ. Nothing in life can compare to the greatness of what God accomplished through Jesus Christ.
     The record in Exodus 34, when Moses received the Word of God written on tablets of stone, gives us a mind picture of what it is to shine with the glory of God.
Exodus 34:27-35:
And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water.
And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel
that which he was commanded.
And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

     Moses’ face shone with the glory of God when he received the ten commandments. How much greater is this glory of God shining in our lives today because of the greatness of God’s gift of holy spirit….

This is an excerpt from the May/June 2007 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2007 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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