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The Blue Letter Bible
Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (May 20th)

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Heavenly Treasure in Earthen Vessels

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

We who serve the Lord under His new covenant of grace live with heavenly treasure in earthen vessels. We are "earthen vessels." Though we are born again through faith in Christ, we still have the same physical body that we had in Adam. "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent [that is, our natural human body], is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands [that is, our glorified, heavenly bodies], eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1). Though we are new creatures in Christ, we still live in the framework of ordinary human lives. "The life which I now live in the flesh [that is, in flesh and bones humanity], I live by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20).

Yes, we are "earthen vessels." We are frail, vulnerable, inadequate. We were originally fashioned from dust. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground" (Genesis 2:7). We could be likened to "clay pots." "Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay" (Job 10:9). We are like common clay flower pots. This is humbling. However, it is good to be humbled, for "God gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Furthermore, the Lord fully understands our makeup. "He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). It is also liberating to realize that we are vessels of clay. The Lord does not expect us to perform as though we were anything other than clay pots. He just wants us to be what a vessel is created to be-a container for its intended contents.

The intended contents of the vessel is a heavenly treasure. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels." A few verses later the treasure is specified. It is Christ Himself: "That the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11). The will of God is that Christ would come to dwell in, and be expressed through, the earthen vessel of our humanity. "To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). The Lord Jesus wants to be the heavenly blooming flower in the clay pot of our lives. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (2 Corinthians 2:15). God's plan is to put extraordinary heavenly treasure into ordinary earthen vessels, so that the attention will go to the contents, not to the container: "that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."

Creator God, You have made me to be a vessel in whom Christ might dwell and be seen. Please remind me of this great plan. Help me to remember that the heavenly treasure is to be the focal point and the hope of my life, Amen.

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