Everyone faces temptation. Your response to temptation impacts not only your life but, often, the lives of others. The
apostle Paul told Timothy, a committed young minister of the first century, that believers can demonstrate God’s grace,
honor Christ, and be useful in service by cleansing themselves from things that lead to temptation.
2 Timothy 2:20-21, 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. 21Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will
be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
God’s “large house” (all those who claim to be Christian) has precious vessels (true believers) and earthly vessels
(Christians in name only). Vessels become precious, not because of skill, talent, or merit, but because God’s grace makes
them a new creation with a nature where the Holy Spirit dwells through faith in Jesus Christ.
However, believers in Christ can succumb to temptations that detrimentally impact their usefulness to Jesus. When
Paul states “if anyone cleanses himself of these things” (2 Timothy 2:21 above), to what is he referring? Most
commentators agree that he means believers should not associate with vessels of dishonor. But what defines a “vessel of
dishonor”? In context, these detrimental vessels are probably people who teach and practice sin mentioned previously in
this chapter, such as . . .