Giving the Gift to others…
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” writes Paul (2 Cor. 4:7). This treasure… this Gift… about which we have been speaking thus far this week. The Gift is the Holy Spirit deposited within all who believe, the effect is salvation… eternal life with our Lord and in His Kingdom, and the means is the Gospel of God… the true message that God has not abandoned us to the consequences of our rebellion. He has not tossed us aside as we might toss an item marred on the assembly line. No. He has come to us, given Himself to be tossed aside instead, tormented, punished, destroyed. And of us He has not merely made repair, but He has given us a whole new being,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).
“God… has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” Paul prefaces. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels” – God has seen fit to entrust Eternal Spirit to temporal clay. Why? “…that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:6-7).
To carry such a treasure into such a fallen world, this is the evident and fearful plan of God, your and my Creator,
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:15-16).
“…Who is sufficient for these things?” Or, as the NIV has it, “…Who is equal to such a task?” Who can rise to it? This is not a true question, for God Himself has evidently answered it, and His answer is you! Every believer in that instant of faith becomes also an evangel, a bearer of the undiminishable Truth. Within him resides not only the “Gift,” the “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Eph. 1:14) but also the Gospel, “the power of God to salvation” (Rom. 1:16)!
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” writes Paul. It is true of every believer. And God expects each one to share it with this dying world.