Before Paul uses the words, “vessels of honour”, he begins by describing the vessel. The vessel should not quarrel, should be presentable and usable by God, must win God’s approval by avoiding unnecessary talk and wicked conversation which break down other than building up the body of Christ. A good vessel is not swerved from the truth and hence upset the faith of the weak. They must understand where they belong because God has put a mark and seal on those that are his.
These vessels must turn away from iniquity; they are set apart and must be able to flee every passion and purse righteousness, faith love and peace. Above all this vessel must be useful for the master.
The Webster Dictionary defines a vessel as a container (such as a cask, bottle, kettle, cup, or bowl) for holding something. It could also be a person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused. I am going to highlight below some verses concerned with the sanctity of life while serving the Lord. We also need to understand that we cannot be honourable when we live in dishonor.
Paul describes an honourable vessel as one known by God “The Lord knows those who are His.” Scripture always talks about separation from evil as we read in Numbers 16:26 “and he spoke to the congregation, saying, ‘Depart now from the tents of the wicked men, and touch nothing that belongs to them, or you will be swept away in all their sin.” However in Joel 2:32 it is stated “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” This means that there is an opportunity of transfer from dishonorable to honourable.
Honorable Vessels are Separated and set apart. In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Paul says “Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
The Condition of Honor requires a person to cleanse themselves from the vessels purposed for dishonor. The verb is very forceful and indicates a thorough cleaning or even a cleaning out/discarding of all that pollutes.
Honorable use according to Paul defines one that is useful to the Master. The master of the church is Christ. Some people fall into the trap of thinking that prominence determines whether or not we are being used as honorable vessels. Our life’s ambition must be to please the Master of the house, not to be displayed on the mantel piece. There has to be a balance between faith and obedience to the master.
The one who is honorable is one who has been sanctified, holy and set apart.
This is the work of God alone. Only one who has already been made holy by the Master is able to cleanse himself from polluting influence and thus be useful to the Master. They must be sanctified, prepared for every good work. God has prepared us for service we need to obey and set ourselves apart. God bless you.
The Very Rev. Canon Dr. Rebecca Nyegenye,