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Vessels Unto Honor and Vessels Unto Dishonor

by L.A. Stauffer
via Son Rays, Vol. 30, No. 23, Sept. 7 2008

Paul writes to the young preacher, Timothy, and urges him to flee immorality so that he might be a "vessel unto honor." His reference is to Timothy's person or body and how he should engage in honorable conduct (II Timothy 2:20,21).

The word "honor" means what is of "value" or "worth." Something that is precious was considered "honorable," whether it was a gold vessel or a life of righteousness. Paul speaks of homes that have gold or silver vessels that are viewed with "honor" and wooden and earthen vessels that are described by the word "dishonor."

He is comparing the two bowls with a life of purity and a life of sin. The first is considered a "vessel" of honor the other a "vessel of dishonor." Vessels of honor are disciples who are sanctified in Christ and have purged themselves of evil. They then are "meet for the master's use," meaning they are suitable to serve in the kingdom of Christ.

Such a one is "prepared unto every good work." When men in Christ forsake sin, they live honorable lives and as vessels of honor God can use them in the good work of His kingdom.

Where Paul speaks of "vessels unto honor," he also writes about "vessels of dishonor." The term "dishonor" suggests that such disciples are of no value in the kingdom. They are not suitable and prepared to be involved in the kingdom business of life in Christ.

He also writes of this matter to the church in Thessalonica. There he speaks of "fornication" and the "passions of lust" that were prominent in the world of Gentiles. Thessalonians, as Corinthians and Gentiles in general, at one time engaged in lusts of the flesh with no regard for moral uprightness.

When these Gentiles obeyed the gospel, they had to learn the "will of God," which Paul describes as "your sanctification." The word "sanctified," as the word "holy," meant to withdraw from or set oneself apart from sin. And it included the dedication of oneself to purity and righteousness.

Purity and righteousness meant for a man to "possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor" (I Thessalonians 4:3-7). The honorable life meant to put away moral uncleanness so that they were not seen by God in judgment as a vessel unto dishonor.