Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

God's 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

God’s “earthen vessels” are His children—body, soul, and spirit. The implication of the term is we are like clay pottery. We shatter easily. Paul enlarges on the idea:

We are hard pressed on every side … perplexed … persecuted … struck down … 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

God sends the breaking circumstances that we might be totally dependent on Him. When we trust in Him, we are:

not crushed … not in despair … not forsaken … not destroyed.  2 Corinthians 8b-9

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul quotes Jesus as calling this enabling power “grace.” We are earthen vessels that we might live by grace.

When we turn to God for His grace in the throes of a shattering experience, our bodies express both the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus—thus resulting in “life” for others. We are:

… always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.  2 Corinthians 4:10-11.

Some of our “broken” fellow-believers see God turn our “death” into “life,” and also turn to His grace for “life.”

In verse 15 Paul adds:

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

By sending shattering experiences to His “earthen vessels,” God fulfills His intention of spreading grace to many. The result is thanksgiving by many believers and glory to Himself.