Vessels For Honor

When God made man in his own image, he did so in order that he could have a personal and meaningful relationship with them. No plant, animal or any other living thing has the privilege that we as humans were given with our creator. God gave us a mind because he has a mind. We have emotions because he has emotions. God gave us a will to make choices because he has a will. Adam and Eve were honorable because God made them in his image. When God looked at them he saw his reflection. As living vessels they were to bring glory to him by doing his will. Before long however that relationship was broken by sin. The image was broken and the honor was gone. This is the sin nature that we inherit from our first parents, Adam and Eve. We are in effect born as vessels of dishonor. But God in his foreknowledge already had a plan to restore man to a place of honor. He would do so by defeating the very thing that brought dishonor to man, sin and its result, death. God the Son came to earth as a man, but remained God. This man the Lord Jesus Christ, died for our sins, taking our penalty, and rose again, providing a way for us to have our relationship with God restored. In doing this, he defeated sin and death. The Bible says that God is making into vessels for honor any that trusts in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Their destiny, now and forever, is to be objects of his mercy. On the other hand, any that rejects his Son; he makes into vessels for dishonor. They are destined to become objects of his wrath. (Rom 9:21-24; 1 John 5:11-13; John 3:18,36)

Even though as believers our relationship to God has been restored, we still battle our sin nature. But God is gradually conforming us into the image of his Son. Some day when we go to be with him, we will be perfectly sanctified. We will be free from the presence of sin forever. But for the present it is God's desire that all his vessels for honor be moving towards this sanctification in practice. That means to live holy lives and be useful for the work he has given them to do. In other words to prove by their life that they are vessels for honor. (Rom 6:12-13; 2 Tim 2:19-21)

The Greek word Acts 9:15 God called Paul a chosen vessel to carry his name to the Gentiles, kings, and the people of Israel. He was also given the task of revealing a mystery that had been kept hidden for many generations. Namely the church and its doctrine (Col 1:26-27). Believers have the responsibility with the help of the Lord to determine how God wants to use them. Once that is determined we are encouraged to stir up the gift that is within us (2 Tim 1:6). We are to accept God's will for us and be obedient vessels.

The second principle is that not only are we to be willing and obedient vessels; we are also to be aware of what qualifies or disqualifies a believer for service. First, there must be a deliberate choice to forsake sin and offer our members to God. While it is true we will never be perfect while on earth, a believer should be progressing in the area of holiness and sanctification. We must be willing to depart from sin in order to be ready for the master's use. (2 Tim 2:21; 1 Th 4:4; Jam 1:21; Jam 4:8) Anything less results in a defective tool, a useless vessel. Secondly, there must be humility in the believers life. (Jam 4:10) A recognition that we are nothing more than sinners deserving God's wrath and an eternity spent in hell. Seeing God's grace in our own lives we will realize that God deserves all the credit for what we are becoming. Third, we must ask for wisdom (Jam 1:5-8). The Christian life lived in the power of the flesh is impossible. We must walk after the Spirit or we will fail (Rom 8:1, 12-14). Reading God's Word and spending time in prayer each day, will give us the spiritual food and wisdom we need to be useful vessels for him.

Finally, God has chosen the weak and foolish things of the world so that no flesh will glory in his presence (1 Cor 1:27-29). There is nothing honorable about us. The honor comes from our association with him. We are weak, he is strong. We are sinful, he is holy. Apart from him we are just useless vessels. Yet in order to show that the power comes from him, he chooses weak vessels such as us to accomplish his purposes. In doing so, our service as his vessels becomes honorable. For example he has entrusted the gospel to us (2 Cor 4:7). We bring the message to the world but it is God's power that saves people. As vessels we are to fade into the background so people will see him. We must decrease so that he will increase.

One of the greatest joys in the believer's life is to be aware that God is using them to accomplish his purposes. What a privilege that is. One of his highest purposes is to present to his Son, his bride the church. When that happens we will have the joy of reigning with him and sharing in his honor and glory. We will be vessels of honor for the whole world to see, all because of what he has done for us. In the meantime, God help us to be willing, obedient, qualified vessels that will bring honor and glory to him.