“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Corinthians 4:7). We are just an old clay pot and; yet, we are daily involved with eternal truths and divine matters. It hardly seems fair for such lowliness to be so responsible for such blessedness. The Adam man is born in sin and shaped by darkness; yet, the call of God never leaves him alone. A person in their sins cannot find rest because of that something inside that bids their attention. A spark of God’s breath inside the human spirit is searching for its divine maker.
It does not matter how many years a person has served the Lord. They must never forget the truth of our “earthen vessel.” Apostle Paul – years into his ministry – reminds the Corinthians, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (I Corinthians 4:7). All we shall ever know or possess this side of the Resurrection must be viewed as the works of grace and held in humble submission. Haughtiness or self-importance will land you on the heap of destruction. You are a vessel in which He seeks to reveal Himself.
It’s amazing how much our eternal God cares about this old pot of clay. It was His creation and it was perfect in the day of its beginning. A devious design by an enemy of God was able to deceive this matchless creation. The result was a cowardly couple hiding in the undergrowth. Four thousand years and many pains later, a Son was born to reclaim the earthen vessel where so much damage had been experienced. Jesus did not come just to redeem the soul; He also came to redeem the body. To the church in the Book of Romans, the Spirit said, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11).
Again, we read, “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body” (I Corinthians 6:13b). Notice that the Spirit declared these matchless words, “The Lord for the body.”In this same great chapter the Spirit continues to speak, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19). Such truth is overwhelming to my heart. Our “earthen vessel” is the dwelling place of the very Spirit of Christ and His Father. We are the Temple of God.
Great sermons and great Bible lessons have very little power until the mouth-piece is touched by this Spirit. Our Lord and Savior Himself declare the helplessness of flesh. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). The Son of God emphatically told the early church to wait for this anointing that would give power to their message. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
This is the great challenge to our present church world. We are the “Temple of The Holy Ghost” and our God is desirous of revealing Himself in us. We can actually live with a conscious presence of the Holy Spirit revealing Christ to ourselves and others. The very word “Temple” in the Scripture means “a place of God’s revelation.” The Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem were glorious places of God’s presence. The New Testament covenant exceeds that glory as the literal exceeds the shadow. “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of rig hteousness exceed in glory” (II Corinthians 3:7-9).
Humanistic self-esteem has robbed our generation of the great consecration of our helpless flesh to the mighty Christ. The flesh — when Biblically understood — is far superior to flesh that is controlled by the Adam nature. Jesus Christ came to liberate the unconverted and lift them into the family of the redeemed. We are a temple created for God even when sin is still our master. That is the cause of great stress that floods the unredeemed world. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:20).
Only in my old age, have I come to know the exceeding joy of abiding in Christ day and night. My body is not mine to possess in the pleasures’ of this flesh life. Sure, there are wonderful joys of family, great meals together with friends, and the pleasure of a good book. All of this is multiplied when Jesus Christ rules our life in absolute peace and the joy of the Holy Ghost. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).
A Spirit-filled temple is a joy in the church, in the home, and everywhere that temple ventures in their daily duties. Love lives on such a face, the hands are ready servants to all, the lips carry words that encourage and give hope to listeners. The community, where this temple is active, takes note of such beautiful activities and expressions. Soon, this man or woman is known as a prayer warrior that gets results. When this saint transfers to the eternal abode, they are remembered as a light that shone in the night.
Joseph R. Chambers