“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21)
Paul wrote these words while a prisoner in Rome, to Timothy. He seems to say that there are in the church vessels of gold and silver, as well as vessels wood and of earth. Vessels of gold and silver. The good guys and gals. The true-born believers. The honourable vessels. Then there are the vessels of wood and earth. Worldly men and women within the church. Dishonourable vessels or people. So what is Paul saying here? Is he telling Timothy to purge dishonourable men and women from the church?
There are many occasions when I’m concerned about how easily the Word of G-d might be misunderstood, even misused, by others. Mostly, though, I’m very concerned how I may misunderstand and misuse a particular passage. It goes back to “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” It’s not just about immediate context and initial readings; it’s about stepping away for the passage to view the the entire chapter and perhaps even a view of the entire book (or letter). Consideration must be made even to the entire breadth of G-d’s Word. Because G-d doesn’t contradict Himself, He provides guidance and support for each individual passage in other places. Make sense?
Okay. Back to purging. I quoted one scripture. I began to write about this scripture. If you were not prayed up and fasted up, not discerning, couldn’t I perhaps have led you to believe Paul was telling Timothy to purge people that aren’t rigtheous, like us, from among the true people of G-d? May G-d forbid me to do such a thing. May G-d give you the discernment that keeps you following in the footsteps of Messiah, even if it means to Golgotha, to the hill, to the cross.
So look here. Early in the chapter, in verse 19, Paul states: “Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity.” And in verse 16, “But shun profane and vain babblings. . .” And back in the beginning of the Chapter, Paul wrote: “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
So now, from what or from whom are we purging ourselves? What are “these” of verse 21? Are they not the things that entangle, vain discourse anb babblings, iniquity? I’m pretty sure that’s what “these” are.
And if we purge ourselves of entanglements, vain babblings, iniquity, we shall be vessels of gold and silver, of honour.*
Lord, grant us Your peace, and enable us to be unstained by this world in which we live, for we are of You. Amen.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .
* I like the English spelling of Saviour, too. It contains “our” not “or.” The Lord Y’shuaJesus is our Saviour.