Saturday in the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

Jars of Clay

What a way to describe ourselves, “jars of clay.”  The Bible is fond of describing men as clay, dust, grass—things that are so temporal, here today and gone tomorrow.  We see this at every funeral, and if we are wise, in every flu, every epi- or pandemic, and even every time we break a nail.  Unlike us nature is caught up in a more cyclical movement of life and death—still death predominating. 

And yet Paul informs us that as breakable as these jars of clay are, as Christians we carry something within them that is eternal.  Paul calls it a treasure, by which he means the gospel which he just defined as “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  And it is because of the surpassing power of this treasure which believers have from God that they are afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not to despair, persecuted but never forsaken, struck down but not destroyed.  Believers die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31), and this death they carry about in the flesh.  But this is only so that the life of Jesus may “be manifested in our mortal flesh.”  And so both death (to sin) and life (in Christ) are evident in us, and that gladly, for we agree with the Forerunner, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

And the reason that we do not despair through life’s struggles is that “though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”  And how can this be?  Because He who raised the Lord Jesus has raised us, first in our rebirth (Romans 6:4), and will bodily on the last day.  And so we know that all of these outward afflictions are just as temporary as our mortal lives are in this world.  Indeed, Paul calls these afflictions “light” and “momentary” compared to the “eternal weight of glory” for which these afflictions prepare us.  And so we gaze at the unseen, we listen to the inaudible, and we feel the untouchable, knowing that what is seen, heard, and touched in this world is transient while the unseen, inaudible, and untouchable is eternal in the next world for which we yearn.

Jars of clay.  I rather like that description.  I am completely satisfied that my life in this world is but a breath.  It is my hope that as such a fragile jar, I shall boldly carry the gospel of Jesus Christ within me and about me.  Let us place ourselves willingly in the Potter’s hands that He might make us useful and beautiful, and as He defines those terms.  And when the day comes that these jars must be broken, may we release the most pleasing aroma.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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