“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves; but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. “
(2 Corinthians 4:1-7 NIV)
For the past few weeks, on Sunday mornings, we have been looking at the subject of “The Power of The Gospel”. We have used a variety of passages to look at how the gospel is about a righteousness from God, not of our own doing, that it is foolish in the eyes of the world, but it is a gospel of the truth about God and His effective plan for our salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a gospel that we proclaim as effectively as we can, whenever we can, but the power in its being understood comes from God, the Holy Spirit.
To further make the point that the power in the effectiveness of the gospel is from God, and not from us, we can remember this passage from 2 Corinthians 4. As a pastor, and minister of the gospel, I am often reminded that no matter how badly I might want to have someone grasp and receive the message that I share on any given Sunday, (or at any other time for that matter), the power to cause them to grasp and understand the message does not lie with me.
Paul, in rather humbling terms, describes how the power of the gospel lies with God, and not from us. We are but weak, fragile vessels in the process. While a clay jar was an important part of their everyday lives, they did not stand up well when dropped or knocked over. While they might have a beautiful design on the exterior, or be kept for special purposes, they were still to be handled carefully. Given our weakness, and our likeliness of failure, it’s amazing to me that God is even able to use us.
We are instructed elsewhere to remember who has made the clay jar, and that it is He who gets to determine its purpose and use. It is He who makes our work effective, and fruitful. The “god of this age” (the devil) has blinded many eyes from seeing the light of the gospel, but when the light of God’s Holy Spirit shines through, and spiritual awakening happens, it is a glorious thing—a true work of God.
It is to the glory of God that He awakens us; that He allows His light to shine in our darkness. It is good for us to remember that the power of the gospel resides in the One who originated the whole plan of man’s redemption. The power does not rest in the messenger, but in the one who sent him; not in the vessel, but in the one who made the vessel and filled it with living water.
So we are to carry the message of the gospel, to proclaim it regularly, and then pray! Pray that God will make that message powerful and effective so that lives can be transformed, and changed forever. We should pray that He would be glorified by using these weak, fragile vessels to carry this life changing message.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen