THEREFORE IF A MAN CLEANSES
FROM THESE: ean oun tis ekkathare (3SAAS) heauton apo touton:
(Ps 119:9; Isa 1:25; 52:11; Jer 15:19; Mal 3:3; 1Co 5:7; 2Co 7:1-note;
What or who does "these"
refer to? There is a difference of opinion, the NAS adding "things" but
if one reads it literally "cleanses himself from these" it would be more
reasonable to interpret it as "the vessels of dishonor" which would be
evil people (assuming one holds to the interpretation that
different vessels represent believers and non-believers, especially
false teachers) and especially those who are teaching error, as for
example Hymenaeus and Philetus.
Wuest (who believes he is
referring to saved and unsaved) paraphrases it...
If, therefore, a person
separate himself from these [the
held in contempt],
Morris explains that
We should not be influenced by the
vessels unto dishonour in
the church. In fact,
depending on the particulars in a given case, such members may need to
be brought under church discipline and even excommunicated. (Morris,
Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
(By implication Morris appears to believe the vessels of honor and
dishonor are both believers).
Paul gave a similar
instruction to the Corinthians commanding them...
COME OUT (aorist
= do it now! It is urgent!) FROM
THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE
continually)," says the Lord. "AND
DO NOT TOUCH (present
negative = stop doing this) WHAT IS UNCLEAN ,; and I
will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons
and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these
promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh
and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2Cor 6:17-7:1)
The idea of a holy vessel is
brought out in Jehovah's words to King Asa (though Hanani the seer)...
For the eyes of the LORD move to and
fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart
is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on
you will surely have wars. (2Chr 16:9)
In Psalm 119:9 the psalmist
asks and answers his own question explaining how
one can stay cleansed...
How can a young man keep his way
pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. (Ps 119:9)
comments - How shall he become and remain practically holy? He is
but a young man, full of hot passions, and poor in knowledge and
experience; how shall he get right, and keep right? Never was there a
more important question for any man; never was there a fitter time for
asking it than at the commencement of life. It is by no means an easy
task which the prudent young man sets before him. He wishes to choose a
clean way, to be himself clean in it, to cleanse it of any foulness
which may arise in the future, and to end by showing a clear course from
the first step to the last; but, alas, his way is already unclean by
actual sin which he has already committed, and he himself has within his
nature a tendency towards that which defileth. Here, then, is the
difficulty, first of beginning aright, next of being always able to know
and choose the right, and of continuing in the right till perfection is
ultimately reached: this is hard for any man, how shall a youth
accomplish it? The way, or life, of the man has to be cleansed from the
sins of his youth behind him, and kept clear of the sins which
temptation will place before him: this is the work, this is the
No nobler ambition can lie before a youth, none to which he is called by
so sure a calling; but none in which greater difficulties can be found.
Let him not, however, shrink from the glorious enterprise of living a
pure and gracious life; rather let him enquire the way by which all
obstacles may be overcome. Let him not think that he knows the road to
easy victory, nor dream that he can keep himself by his own wisdom; he
will do well to follow the Psalmist, and become an earnest enquirer
asking how he may cleanse his way. Let him become a practical disciple
of the holy God, who alone can teach him how to overcome the world, the
flesh, and the devil, that trinity of defilers by whom many a hopeful
life has been spoiled. He is young and unaccustomed to the road, let him
not be ashamed often to enquire his way of him who is so ready and so
able to instruct him in it.
Our "way" is a subject which concerns us deeply, and it is far better to
enquire about it than to speculate upon mysterious themes which rather
puzzle than enlighten the mind. Among all the questions which a young
man asks, and they are many, let this be the first and chief:
"Wherewithal shall I cleanse my way?" This is a question suggested by
common sense, and pressed home by daily occurrences; but it is not to be
answered by unaided reason, nor, when answered, can the directions be
carried out by unsupported human power. It is ours to ask the question,
it is God's to give the answer and enable us to carry it out.
By taking heed thereto according to thy word. Young man, the Bible must
be your chart, and you must exercise great watchfulness that your way
may be according to its directions. You must take heed to your daily
life as well as study your Bible, and you must study your Bible that you
may take heed to your daily life. With the greatest care a man will go
astray if his map misleads him; but with the most accurate map he will
still lose his road if he does not take heed to it. The narrow way was
never hit upon by chance, neither did any heedless man ever lead a holy
life. We can sin without thought, we have only to neglect the great
salvation and ruin our souls; but to obey the Lord and walk uprightly
will need all our heart and soul and mind. Let the careless remember
Yet the "word" is absolutely necessary; for, otherwise, care will darken
into morbid anxiety, and conscientiousness may become superstition. A
captain may watch from his deck all night; but if he knows nothing of
the coast, and has no pilot on board, he may be carefully hastening on
to shipwreck. It is not enough to desire to he right; for ignorance may
make us think that we are doing God service when we are provoking him,
and the fact of our ignorance will not reverse the character of our
action, however much it may mitigate its criminality. Should a man
carefully measure out what he believes to be a dose of useful medicine,
he will die if it should turn out that he has taken up the wrong vial,
and has poured out a deadly poison: the fact that he did it ignorantly
will not alter the result. Even so, a young man may surround himself
with ten thousand ills, by carefully using an unenlightened judgment,
and refusing to receive instruction from the word of God. Wilful
ignorance is in itself wilful sin, and the evil which comes of it is
without excuse. Let each man, whether young or old, who desires to be
holy have a holy watchfulness in his heart, and keep his Holy Bible
before his open eye. There he will find every turn of the road marked
down, every slough and miry place pointed out, with the way to go
through unsoiled; and there, too, he will find light for his darkness,
comfort for his weariness, and company for his loneliness, so that by
its help he shall reach the benediction of the first verse of the Psalm,
which suggested the Psalmist's enquiry, and awakened his desires.
Note how the first section of eight verses has for its first verse,
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way." and the second section runs
parallel to it, with the question, "Wherewithal shall a young man
cleanse his way?" The blessedness which is set before us in a
conditional promise should be practically sought for in the way
appointed. The Lord saith, "For this will I be enquired of by the house
of Israel to do it for them."
Therefore (3767) (oun) is a
term of conclusion
indicating that the statement it
introduces is an inference drawn from the last phrase of the previous
verse. In other words, since some vessels are for honor, one should “therefore”
seek to be one of them.
notes on conditional clauses) indicates this is a conditional
sentence, the condition (condition
of the third class) that is to be fulfilled being to cleanse oneself
from the defilement of fellowship with “these” (the dishonorable
vessels, in context the false teachers) and the effects of their
teaching and actions. Can you see the gravity and significance of what
Paul is stating in this section? The bottom line is that each of
us has the ability to make choices which determine whether he or she
will be a vessel for for God's use. This is a most sobering thought and
is amplified by the charge that follows (flee...pursue)
in the next verse.
D. L. Moody said that...
God doesn't seek for golden vessels,
and does not ask for silver ones, but He must have clean ones.
Steven Cole writes
Clearly, Paul is presenting us with a
choice: Do you want to be a gold or silver vessel, used for honor, or
will you be a cheap clay pot, used for dishonor? Again, you may think,
“Well, both are used of God, aren’t they?” The answer is, “Yes, but you
don’t want to be used as a vessel for dishonor!”...
In the context, “these things” refers
to the false teachings that were being spread. It’s worth noting that
false teachings are not just mental mistakes-they are sins that need to
be cleansed out of our lives!
When Paul says that a person needs to
cleanse himself, he is not teaching that by our own efforts we can atone
for our sins. If you could do anything in and of yourself to deal with
your sin problem before God, then the death of Christ was pointless. But
you can and must avail yourself of the means of cleansing that God has
provided in Christ. That is your responsibility.
If you come into the house dirty after a day of working in the yard, you
don’t lick yourself clean like a cat does! Rather, you make use of the
soap and water to cleanse yourself. The soap and water are the means of
cleansing. But you make use of them by applying them to your body.
God provided the blood of Jesus as the means of cleansing us from all
our sins (1 John 1:7, 9). There is a sense in which we are completely
clean the moment that we trust in Christ as Savior. But we walk in the
world, where we get defiled. When we confess our sins, we apply the
blood of Jesus to our dirty lives. To be a vessel for honor, you must
walk in the light, confessing all known sin to God. Vessels of dishonor
walk in the darkness and do not cleanse themselves from sin.
So, you must choose the type of vessel you will be. Cleansing yourself
to become a vessel of honor is your responsibility.
do you truly desire to be
a vessel useful to the Master?
The choice is yours!
from ek = out or giving sense of
kathaíro = purge, clean = English “catharsis”) means to clean out thoroughly, to
completely purge and rid of something unclean. This word strongly emphasizes the
completeness of cleansing called for. This is not just a little dusting
off but a purging from the evil (people and/or teaching).
The idea is "if he separates
himself from communion with..."
Ekkathairo was used in the
following phrases in Greek writings -- to clear out
ditches; he clears this land of monsters.
Ekkathairo is used twice in
in Judges 7:4 and the following verse...
And you shall say before the LORD
your God, 'I have removed (ekkathairo) the sacred portion from my
house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan
and the widow, according to all Thy commandments which Thou hast
commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Thy
commandments. (Deut 26:13)
The only other
NT use of ekkathairo is in 1Corinthians 5:7 where Paul charges the Church at
= do it now! It is
urgent! Take stern action against evil) the old leaven (Leaven
represents influence. Remove every sinful influence in order to be
separate from the old life, including the influence of sinful church
members, especially the sin of incest), that you may be a new lump (experiencing
real freedom from the slavery to sin),
just as you are in fact unleavened (our position in Christ - Paul
is calling for their practice to match their position). For Christ our
Passover also has been sacrificed (Focusing on the Cross of Christ
should provide protection against the power of sin still latent in
believers). (1Cor 5:7)
Comment: Believers are to
remove everything from the old life that would taint and permeate the
In the present context both
Vincent and Wuest feel the meaning of cleanse (ekkathaíro)
here is to
separate oneself from communion with other people. Close, intimate association
with false teachers and wickedness may lead to moral and spiritual contamination (1Co
is admonishing Timothy to separate himself from communion or fellowship
with these false teachers and
their teachings that lead to ruin of the hearers and upset the faith of
others. If he "purges" himself completely from them, then God will honor him, set him apart, and equip
him for service.
W E Vine explains that...
We are to keep ourselves pure in both
doctrine and practice, and to avoid identifying ourselves with errorists
like Hymenaeus and Philetus (v. 14), as well as with those who do not
walk in moral rectitude. This separation is not Pharisaical aloofness,
it is a matter of loyalty to Christ. To attempt to make a union between
“the Name of the Lord” and “unrighteousness” (v. 19) is to dishonor the
Lord, bring discredit upon the Christian faith, and ruin our prospects
of reward. (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
The Holman Bible Commentary
has the following note regarding "cleansing"...
Paul emphasized that each believer
bears the responsibility of service to God: If a man cleanses
himself from the latter (false teachings and wickedness), he will serve
noble purposes. God can use only clean or holy vessels. This parallels
the Jewish tradition of cleansing vessels for temple use or for
religious ceremonies and holidays. God cannot bestow his glory upon
anything evil or tainted. The Christian life demands unswerving
obedience and allegiance to Christ. It places responsibility upon each
believer to maintain a pure, unpolluted life.
Dwight Edwards writes that
in calling us to cleanse ourselves Paul is saying we must
remove ourselves" from those within
the church who have chosen to become "vessels unto dishonor." This would
include false teachers (Ro 16:17, 18, 19-note), believers in blatant carnality
(1Co 5:11, 12, 13) and other special cases (2Th 3:14,15, Titus
3:10,11). If we allow ourselves to maintain intimate relationships with
"vessels unto dishonor," then it will be only a matter of time until we
ourselves become marred and tainted.
Be not deceived,
imperative = stop
being deceived, implying they were being deceived) Evil company corrupts
good morals." (1Cor 15:33)
This verse speaks volumes to any true
believer who feels he should remain in his dead, unbelieving church in
order to be a missionary. Though the motive for this is commendable, the
method is utterly unscriptural. God's call to every believer in this
imperative = do it
now! Don't delay!) of her my people, lest you
share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues. (Re 18:4-note and 2Co
6:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)
In fact, the rest of this verse
clearly indicates that we must separate in order to be
significantly used of the Lord. In a day when liberal theology has
snuffed out the spiritual life of countless churches around the world,
it is incumbent upon all true believers to leave these ornate cemeteries
of spirituality to become Christ-intoxicated congregations through which
the transforming power of God is seen and dispensed." (2 Timothy Call to Completion)
The Lord’s exhortation to Jewish exiles in pagan Babylon to leave behind
the pollutions of the land of captivity in principle applies to
every believer who seeks to serve Him. Isaiah records God's instruction
(double commands - this is not optional!) go out from there,
(another command) nothing unclean.
the midst of her, purify
(command) yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the
Lord. (Isaiah 52:11)
Warning Jeremiah about associating
with ungodly Israelites, God said,
If you extract the precious from
the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They for their part may
turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them (Jeremiah 15:19).
The influence should be but one
way. If those unfaithful Israelites were led to repentance by Jeremiah’s
preaching and example, the Lord would be pleased. But the prophet was
never to allow their corruption to infect him. Do not be deceived,
Guzik reminds that...
the phrase is if anyone cleanses
himself: Paul is talking about a cleansing that isn’t just something
God does for us as we sit passively; this is a self-cleansing for
service that goes beyond a general cleansing for sin.
i. There is a main aspect of
cleansing which comes to us as we trust in Jesus and His work on our
behalf; this work of cleansing is really God’s work in us, and not our
work. This is the sense of 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
ii. But there is another aspect of cleansing which God looks for us to
do with the participation of our own will and effort; not that it is our
work apart from God, but it is a work that awaits our will and effort:
If anyone cleanse himself. This aspect of cleansing is mostly connected
with usefulness for service, and closeness to God.
This principle of cleansing
oneself in preparation for acceptable service is affirmed by Malachi
recording that (at Messiah's second coming)
He will sit as a smelter
and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine
them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord
offerings in righteousness. (Mal
Refusing to associate with sinning believers is also for their own
benefit. If they are not disciplined and are readily accepted into
church fellowship, they will become more comfortable in their sin. Being
ostracized from the church, on the other hand, may help them become
ashamed and repentant.
Robert Lightner writes
the Bible gives specific commands to
believers to separate from false teachers and false doctrine. Christians
are not to “participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead
[should] expose them” (Eph 5:11). The words “participate in” carry the
idea of being “a joint partner with” someone. Eadie’s comment on the
meaning is to the point: “A line of broad demarcation was to separate
the church from the world. Not only was there to be no participation and
no connivance, but there was in addition to be rebuke.” (John Eadie,
Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Publishing House, n.d., p. 382). Timothy was to recognize that those who
advocate “a different doctrine” are “deprived of the truth” (1Ti6:3, 5).
And he was to avoid those who had only “a form of godliness” but “denied
its power” (2Ti 3:5). The imperative “avoid”
is in the present tense and therefore represents a command to continue
to turn away from false doctrine. All who name the name of Christ are to
“abstain from wickedness” (2Ti 2:19). Paul said those who teach and
promote false doctrine are like vessels of dishonor. The obedient
believer who “cleanses himself from these” is “a vessel for honor,
sanctified, useful to the Master” (2Ti 2:21). “Cleanses” translates
ekkathairo, “to clean thoroughly.” “Timothy is to separate himself from
communion with ‘these,’ the vessels of dishonor spoken of in 2Ti 2:20 ….
the reference here is to the separated life a Christian should live.
Here it has direct application to the obligation of a pastor to refuse
to fellowship in the work of the ministry with another pastor who is a
modernist.” (Kenneth Wuest, The Pastoral Epistles in the Greek New
Testament Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1952, pp.
Christians at Corinth were charged with the solemn responsibility to set
themselves apart from idolatry and idol worshipers (2Co 6:14, 15, 16).
The principle of separation from error of any kind is clear; the command
was unmistakable. “Come out from their midst and be separate, says the
Lord. And do not touch what is unclean” (2Co 6:17). In 2Cor 6:14, 15, 16
Paul referred to several Old Testament passages where the truth of
separation from false teaching was also taught. With 2Cor 6:17 he drew
practical implications from the truth stated in verse 16 that believers
are the temple of the living God.
(Tasker comments that) "The older shrines were separated off from the
world around them so that Christians must be spiritually and morally
withdrawn from the pagan society in which they have to live. Paul’s
appeal to the Corinthians to make this withdrawal is given in words
originally spoken by God to His people through Isaiah when He called
them out of exile. They were to leave in Babylon everything that was
unclean, taking only the sacred vessels of the temple so that they might
continue to be a people whom God could receive, i.e., whom He could look
upon with favor (see Is 52:11)." (R. V. G. Tasker, The Second Epistle of
Paul to the Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,
1974. pp. 99-100.) (Excerpt from Bibliotheca Sacra 142:565 Jan 85 p. 19)
(See the entire article by
Robert P Lightner - A Biblical
Perspective on False Doctrine))
HE WILL BE A VESSEL
FOR HONOR: estai (3SFMI) skeuos eis timen: (2Ti 2:20; 1Pe 1:7)
(skeuos) refers to a hollow vessel for containing things.
Skeuos was used of a wide variety of domestic implements, utensils,
and furnishings, including furniture and tools. Because of the materials
mentioned here of which these items were made, it seems likely that Paul
had in mind serving vessels and perhaps utensils.
Figuratively skeuos refers of a person as the instrument
of someone. Shortly after his Damascus Road conversion, Jesus instructed
Ananias to go to his aid, explaining that
he is a chosen
instrument (skeuos - literally a "vessel of election")
of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of
Paul frequently uses the figure of a
vessel to describe
Christians. The point is clear that God can use only clean vessels in
holy service. For God to be able to use us as vessels, we must be empty,
clean, and available. He will take us and fill us and use us for His
glory. But if we are filled with sin or defiled by disobedience, He will
first have to purge us (see
Heb 12:5-11) and that might not be an enjoyable experience.
Robert Murray McCheyne
wrote the following to a young ministerial student
"I know you
will apply hard to German, but do not forget the culture of the inner
man— I mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his
saber clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care.
Remember you are God’s sword, His instrument—I trust, a chosen vessel
unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the purity and
perfection of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great
talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an
awful weapon in the hand of God."
(time from tío = pay honor, respect) describes the
worth or merit of some object.
Wuest says this cleansed man
an instrument highly prized".
SANCTIFIED: hegiasmenon (RPPNSN): (1Cor 6:11)
hagios = holy) means to set
apart or consecrate for sacred use, to dedicate to service of and to
loyalty to deity (God). In context it means to make a person or thing
(in the OT altars, days, priests, etc were set apart) the opposite of
koinos, which means profane or common.
Hagiazo - 28x in 25v - Matt
6:9; 23:17, 19; Luke 11:2; John 10:36; 17:17, 19; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Rom
15:16; 1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; 7:14; Eph 5:26; 1 Thess 5:23; 1 Tim 4:5; 2 Tim
2:21; Heb 2:11; 9:13; 10:10, 14, 29; 13:12; 1 Pet 3:15; Rev 22:11.
NAS = hallowed(2), keep himself holy(1), sanctified(16),
Cremer says hagiazo means
place in a relation to God answering to His holiness."
The idea is to set apart for God’s
possession and use. Believers are set apart negatively from sin and
positively for God and for His righteousness.
Hiebert adds that...
The primary meaning of sanctify is
"to set apart, to consecrate," but it also carries the thought of the
resultant holiness of character in the consecrated. The note of holiness
was already sounded in 1Th 3:13 and 1Th 4:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. (Hiebert,
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
is in the
perfect tense indicating that the set apart state began at a point in time and continues
in the present. The perfect tense speaks of a past action on his part of
separating himself from such, and his present confirmed practice of
maintaining that separation. Stated another way, hagiazo in the perfect
tense describes a state of permanent separation.
Our initial experience of salvation by faith in Christ's completed work
on the Cross is in itself
a sanctification, representing the initial setting apart
believers to God (Click the
Three Tenses of Salvation). But sanctification is also the
beginning of a life long process of working out our salvation daily in
fear and trembling, knowing that this is only possible because it
Himself at work in us give us the "want to" (because the
old nature inherited from Adam is still latent within our bodies and it
never "wants to" please God but only to please self) to do what pleases
Him at the same time also providing us the power to do His will. (Php
Sanctification is a reality (past
tense salvation = when were justified by faith we were
sanctified or set apart from the world and unto God) and a progressive
tense salvation which is also by faith) looking forward to
the complete redemption of our bodies one day which refers to
Wuest adds that hagiazo
does not mean...
merely “to set apart,” but in the
case of the pagan word, “to set apart for the gods,” and in the case of
the Christian word “to set apart for God.” The worshipper of the pagan
god acquired the character of that pagan god and the religious
ceremonies connected with its worship. The Greek temple at Corinth
housed a large number of harlots who were connected with the worship of
the Greek god. Thus, the set-apartness of the Greek worshipper
was in character licentious, totally depraved, and sinful.
The believer in the Lord Jesus is set
apart for God by the Holy Spirit, out of the First Adam with the
latter’s sin and condemnation, into the Last Adam with the latter’s
righteousness and life (cf 1Cor 15:22,45). Thus, the worshipper of the
God of the Bible partakes of the character of the God for Whom he is set
apart. This is positional
sanctification, an act
of God performed at the moment a sinner puts his faith in the Lord Jesus
(1Cor 1:2). The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which
He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin
from his life and producing His fruit (cf Ga 5:22,23-notes v22; 23),
a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life, is
sanctification (1Th 5:23-ntoe).
When our Lord sanctifies Himself, He sets Himself apart for God as the
Sacrifice for sin (John 17:19; Heb 10:7-note).
When man sanctifies God, “the word
denotes that manner of treatment on the part of man which corresponds
with the holiness of God, and which springs from faith, trust, and fear”
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Just as the
vessels in the Jewish tabernacle and temple were set apart from all
use and were consecrated and dedicated solely to Jehovah and to His service, so
as holy vessels are set apart for His Him to use as He wills.
we think about our part ("fleeing youthful lusts...pursuing
righteousness") in this process of sanctification, imagine using a
dish in your house for transporting vile wastes and then turning around
and using the same dish to serve food
to an honored guest. You say "I'd never do that". But isn't that what we
all do when we make the conscious choice at a particular moment (Ja
1:13, 1:14, 1:15-see
to defile ourselves and fulfill the ever present "youthful lusts",
whatever those lusts might mean for each of us individually? "Do not
negative = stop letting yourself be deceived -
will do this, your old
will do this, the devil will
do this!), my beloved brethren" (Ja
note ) An honorable vessel is
to be kept pure if it is to continue to be used.
To paraphrase the great
Puritan theologian John Owen we must "kill sin" lest it "kill us". How
are you doing? (see John Piper's sermons including
to Kill Sin or listen to the
How to Kill Sin, Part 2b)
Dead People do Battle with Sin)
the Unbelief of Lust ) (Kill
Anger Before It Kills You or Your Marriage)
Pleasure of God in Obedience
Don't become discouraged for
not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against
sin. (He 12:4-note)
have transgressed, confess and turn from that sin in full assurance that
"blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!"
Spurgeon's note) You (nor
I) have not "arrived" yet and you (and I) need to daily gird your mind
for action (1Pe 1:13,14, 15, 16 , 17 -see notes
and present yourself to God as His holy vessel (Ro 12:1-note,
Holiness by J. C. Ryle), even
when you don't "feel very holy". (see also
You must remember that your body is
a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and
that you are not your own for you have been bought with a price
(1Cor 6:19-20) that price being the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and
spotless, the blood of Christ (see note
1 Peter 1:19)
and now as an alien and stranger in this present evil world system that
passionately hates holiness and tragically loves wickedness (1Pe 2:11-note,
see Piper on
How Aliens Keep The Identity of Their Homeland),
your purpose is to "glorify God in your body" (1Co 6:19, 20-Click John Piper
Steven Cole notes that
is used three ways in the Bible.
There is positional sanctification. Through the death of Christ,
believers have been sanctified once for all (1Co 1:30; 6:11; see note
where sanctified =
There is also progressive sanctification. As we grow in Christ,
we are progressively conformed to His image (2Co 3:18; 7:1 - see note
1Th 4:3, 4, 5, 6, 7-notes
Finally, when we see Jesus, we will be like Him, which is ultimate
sanctification (1 John 3:1, 2, 3).
In our text, Paul is talking about
the process of progressive sanctification. We must be growing in
the process of being separate from all doctrinal and moral evil, set
apart as clean vessels for the Lord’s use. (2
Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)
(Bolding and links added)
Is separation to the service of God
-Psalms 4:3; 2 Corinthians 6:17
God -Ezekiel 37:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Jude 1:1
Christ -Hebrews 2:11; 13:12
The Holy Spirit -Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11
In Christ -1 Corinthians 1:2
Through the atonement of Christ -Hebrews 10:10; 13:12
Through the word of God -John 17:17,19; Ephesians 5:26
Christ made, of God, to us -1 Corinthians 1:30
Saints elected to salvation through -2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2
All saints are in a state of -Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Corinthians 6:11
The Church made glorious by -Ephesians 5:26,27
SHOULD LEAD TO
Mortification of sin -1 Thessalonians 4:3,4
Holiness -Romans 6:22; Ephesians 5:7-9
Offering up of saints acceptable through -Romans 15:16
Saints fitted for the service of God by -2 Timothy 2:21
God wills all saints to have -1 Thessalonians 4:3
Set apart to God’s service by -Jeremiah 1:5
Should pray that their people may enjoy complete -1 Thessalonians 5:23
Should exhort their people to walk in -1 Thessalonians 4:1,3
None can inherit the kingdom of God without -1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, 11
Typified -Genesis 2:3; Ex 13:2; 19:14; 40:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15; Lv
27:14, 15, 16
USEFUL TO THE
MASTER: kai euchreston to despote:
from eú = well + chráomai = furnish
what is needful) means easy to make use of, serviceable. Pertains to
being helpful or beneficial, very profitable. This word
contrasts with useless in
2Ti 2:14. (see
note). Used once in
Septuagint (Pr 31:13) and 3 times in the NT (2Ti 2:21; 4:11; Philemon
In short, the Greek word euchrestos
conveys the sense of that which is easy to make use of.
apostle wanted Timothy to be useful to Jesus Christ, the Master, just as
Mark proved "useful (euchrestos) to (him)
for service" in his apostolic work (see note
2 Timothy 4:11).
One of the
deepest desires of Paul’s own heart was to be useful to the Master as he
explained in his first letter to the Corinthians writing
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one
receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who
competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do
it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I
run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not
beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest
possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be
disqualified. (see notes
The thought that he should ever be
disqualified as a runner ("vessel") was abhorrent to him.
A useful human vessel of honor does
not get involved in the popular things of the world, even the “religious
world” but instead makes choices to remain holy (not aloof or better
than others), separating from
everything that would defile him.
Guzik cautions us that...
We must never think that some
Christians are “better” than others, or that some have passed into a
place where they are “super-spiritual.” However, we must realize that
some Christians are more “usable” to God than others - because they have
cleansed themselves, and made themselves more usable to God. 2Timothy 2)
means one who possesses undisputed ownership and absolute, unrestricted
authority, so that the Greeks refused the title to any but the gods.
Despotes is one who has legal control and authority over
persons, such as subjects or slaves and was used especially as the ruler
over a household.
Despotes - 10x in 10v -
Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 1 Tim 6:1f; 2 Tim 2:21; Titus 2:9; 1 Pet 2:18; 2
Pet 2:1; Jude 1:4; Rev 6:10. NAS = Lord(3), Master(3), masters(4).
Steven Cole explains that
emphasizes Christ’s absolute
lordship. Paul’s point here is that dirty vessels are not useful to the
Master, except for purposes that you don’t want to think about.
Have you ever been in a restaurant and discovered a previous customer’s
dirty egg crusted on your fork or plate? You would rightly demand a
clean fork or plate. The dirty one is not useful. In the same way, if
our minds embrace false teaching and our lives are tainted by sin, we
are not useful to our Master. (2
Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)
What an honor it is to be useful to
our Master! Our Lord Jesus has has undisputed ownership and uncontrolled
power over us. He
gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from
every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own
possession, zealous for good deeds.
We are to be His bondservants, accepting that we have no rights but His rights
and no will but the Master's. Obviously this is the "ideal" situation,
but it should that for which we labor and strife as we "discipline
(ourselves) for godliness", where discipline is in the
indicating a continual need for this discipline. (1Ti 4:7, 8, 9,
PREPARED FOR EVERY GOOD
WORK: hetoimasmenon (RPPNSN) eis pan ergon agathon:
(hetoimazo from heteos = fitness - see study of related
means to make ready, specifically to make ready beforehand for some
purpose, use, or activity.
Those entities that can be made
ready or put in a state of readiness include
(1) Things - The King's way,
Mt 3:3, Mk 1:3, Lk 3:4, quoting Is 40:3; Lk 1:76, cp Re 16:12, a meal =
Ge 43:16, Mt 22:4, Lk 17:8, [a specific special meal, the Passover = Mt
26:19, Mk 14:16, Lk 22:13, similarly used in a religious
sense in 2Chr 35:4, 6, 1:4, 29:19, 31:11, 35:16 1Chr 15:1, 9:32],
Jesus' burial = Lk 23:56, 24:1; lodging in this life = Philemon 1:22 and
that to come = Jn 14:2, 3!; in Lxx of place for the Ark = 1Chr 15:1;
"locusts" = Re 9:7; a seat by Jesus in the future = Mk 10:40.
(2) People - Soldiers = Acts
23:23; The Bride of Christ, the Church = Rev 19:7; A city, the New
Jerusalem (compared to a "bride") = Rev 21:2; Seven Trumpets = Re 8:6;
Four destroying angels at the sound of the 6th Trumpet = Rev 9:15; in
Lxx of a people = 2Ki 7:24 and in NT John Baptist's mission to a people
prepared for the Lord = Lk 1:17; in Lxx God addressing His chosen people
[most interpret the angel here as the
Angel of the LORD],
guiding them to a place ["the Promised Land" in Canaan] = Ex 23:20 [in a
similar way this same "Angel" performs a similar function for NT
believers = Jn 14:2, 3!];
Our English word prepare
(from pre/prae = before + parare = to procure, to make
ready) includes ideas such as to fit, adapt or qualify for a
particular purpose, end, use, service or state, by any means whatever
(eg, men and women are prepared to be disciples by being properly
discipled! Webster's 1828 = "holiness of heart is necessary to
prepare men for the enjoyment of happiness with holy beings."), to
put in a proper state of mind (eg, a heart prepared to hear from the
Lord in one's "quiet time"), to work out the details, to plan or make
ready in advance usually for a particular use or disposition (eg,
prepare the roads for a King's arrival, prepare strategy for a fund
raising campaign, to prepare a meal, to prepare the table for
entertaining company, to prepare to go, etc), to put together (eg,
prepare a prescription), to put in written form (eg, prepare a sermon or
doctoral thesis), to make ready for use or consideration, make or
get ready to do or deal with something (eg, prepared to preach or teach
this coming Sunday), to be prepared to do something, to be willing (and
able) to do something, to equip or outfit as for an expedition (cp 2Ti
Here in 2Timonthy chapter 2
hetoimazo includes the idea of willingness and eagerness as well as
of readiness. It means “prepared” in the sense of being
The following is a summary of
hetoimazo modified from Thayer...
“to make ready, prepare”: absolutely,
“to make the necessary preparations, get everything ready,” Lk 12:47; of
preparing a feast, Lk 22:9,12 (Ge 43:15; 1Chr 12:39);
of preparing a lodging, Lk 9:52; a
supper, Mk 14:15; Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12;
a figurative expression drawn from
the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons
to level the roads and make them passable),
to prepare the minds of men to give
the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessings: Mt 3:3; Mk 1:3;
Luke 3:4 (from Isa 40:3); Lk 1:76; Rev 16:12; Lk 1:17; Rev 19:7;Rev 8:6;
beautifully adorned, Rev 21:2
prepared i.e. fit for accomplishing
anything, 2Ti 2:21; Rev 9:7;
prepared i.e. kept in readiness,
etc., for the hour and day namely, predetermined, Rev 9:15.
In a peculiar sense God is said
prepared for men, i.e. to have caused good or ill to befall them, almost
equivalent to “to have ordained”; of blessings:, Lk 2:31; Rev
12:6; Mt 25:34; Mk 10:40; 1Cor 2:9; He 11:16; of punishment:, Mt
Hetoimazo - 40x in 40v -
Mt 3:3; 20:23; 22:4; 25:34, 41; 26:17, 19; Mk 1:3; 10:40; 14:12,
15f; Luke 1:17, 76; 2:31; 3:4; 9:52; 12:20, 47; 17:8; 22:8f, 12f; 23:56;
24:1; Jn 14:2f; Acts 23:23; 1Co 2:9; 2Ti 2:21; Philemon 1:22; Heb
11:16; Rev 8:6; 9:7, 15; 12:6; 16:12; 19:7; 21:2.
NAS = get
ready(1), get...ready(1), made ready(1), made...ready(1), make
arrangements(1), make ready(4), prepare(11), prepared(20).
Matthew 3:3 For this is the one
referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING
IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE
a command to do this now. It is urgent!) THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS
Matthew 20:23 He said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My
right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for
whom it has been prepared by My Father."
Matthew 22:4 "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who
have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen
and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready;
come to the wedding feast."'
Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you
who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world...41 "Then He will also say to
those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire
which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
Matthew 26:17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples
came to Jesus and asked, "Where do You want us to prepare for You
to eat the Passover?"...19 The disciples did as Jesus had directed them;
and they prepared the Passover.
Mark 1:3 THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE
a command to do this now. It is urgent!) THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS
Mark 10:40 "But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to
give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
Mark 14:12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb
was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us
to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?"...15 "And
he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready;
prepare for us there." 16 The disciples went out and came to the
city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared
Luke 1:17 "It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit
and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE
CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to
make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Luke 1:76 "And you, child, will be
called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD
TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;
Luke 2:31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
Luke 3:4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the
prophet, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE
a command to do this now. It is urgent!) THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS
Luke 9:52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and
entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.
Luke 12:20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is
required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'...47
"And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get
ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,
Luke 17:8 "But will he not say to him, 'Prepare (aorist
a command to do this now.) something for me to eat, and properly clothe
yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat
and drink '?
Luke 22:8 And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and
a command to do this now.) the Passover for us, so that we may eat it."
9 They said to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare it?"...12
"And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there."
13 And they left and found everything just as He had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
Luke 23:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.
And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to
the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
John 14:2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not
so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3 "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again
and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Acts 23:23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, "Get two
hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed
to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen."
1 Corinthians 2:9 but just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT
SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."
2 Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things,
he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master,
prepared for every good work.
Philemon 1:22 At the same time also prepare me a lodging, for I
hope that through your prayers I will be given to you.
Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a
heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for
He has prepared a city for them.
Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared
themselves to sound them.
Revelation 9:7 The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared
for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and
their faces were like the faces of men.
Revelation 9:15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for
the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would
kill a third of mankind.
Revelation 12:6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a
place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for
one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Revelation 16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river,
the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be
prepared for the kings from the east.
Revelation 19:7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made
Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out
of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her
Hetoimazo - 127x in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ge 24:14, 31, 44; 43:16, 25; Ex
15:17; 16:5; 23:20; Nu 23:1, 4, 29; Josh 1:11; 9:4; 1Sa 2:3; 7:3; 13:13;
20:31; 23:22; 2Sa 5:12; 7:12, 24; 1 Kgs 2:12, 24; 5:18; 2 Kgs 12:11; 1
Chr 9:32; 12:39; 14:2; 15:1, 3, 12; 17:11; 22:3, 5, 14; 28:2; 29:2f, 16;
2Chr 1:4; 2:7, 9; 3:1; 8:16; 12:1; 26:14; 27:6; 29:19, 36; 31:11; 35:4,
6, 12, 14ff; Ezra 3:3; Esth 1:1; 5:14; 6:4, 14; 7:9f; Job 12:5; 15:28;
18:12; 27:16; 28:27; 38:25, 41; 41:10; Ps 7:12, 13; 9:7; 11:2; 21:12;
23:5; 24:2; 57:6; 65:6, 9; 68:10; 78:19, 20; 89:2, 4; 99:4; 103:19;
119:60; 132:17; 147:8; Pr 3:19; 6:8; 8:27, 35; 9:2; 16:12; 19:29; 21:31;
23:12; 24:27; 30:25; Isa 14:21; 21:5; 30:33; 40:3; 44:7; 54:11; 65:11;
Jer 46:14; 51:12, 15; Ezek 4:3, 7; 20:6; 38:7f; Da 4:26; 12:11; Amos
4:12; Mic 7:3; Nah 2:5; 3:8; Hab 2:12; Zeph 1:7; 3:7; Zech 5:11. Here
are a few uses to give you a sense of how hetoimazo is used in the
Septuagint (see the NIDNTT discussion for more detail)...
Exodus 23:20 "Behold, I am going to
send an angel [most interpret the angel here as the
Angel of the LORD]
before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place
which I have prepared.
Joshua 1:11 "Pass through the midst
of the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare provisions
for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to
go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to
1 Samuel 13:13 Samuel said to Saul,
"You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD
your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have
established your kingdom over Israel forever.
2 Samuel 5:12 And David realized that
the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that
He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.
2 Samuel 7:12 "When your days are
complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your
descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will
establish his kingdom.
1 Kings 2:12 And Solomon sat on the
throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.
2 Chronicles 3:1 Then Solomon began
to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the
LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had
prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
Psalm 7:12 If a man does not repent,
He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready
Psalm 9:7 But the LORD abides
forever; He has established His throne for judgment,
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table
before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with
oil; My cup overflows.
Psalm 24:2 For He has founded it upon
the seas And established it upon the rivers.
Psalm 57:6 They have prepared
a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They dug a pit before me;
They themselves have fallen into the midst of it. Selah.
Psalm 65:6 Who establishes the
mountains by His strength, Being girded with might;
Psalm 89:2 For I have said,
"Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will
establish Your faithfulness."
Psalm 89:4 I will establish
your seed (God speaking to David alluding to His unconditional covenant
promise ultimately fulfilled in Messiah from the line of David) forever
And build up your throne to all generations." Selah.
Psalm 103:19 The LORD has
established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules
Proverbs 3:19 The LORD by wisdom
founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.
Proverbs 8:27 "When He established
the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the
Proverbs 21:31 The horse is
prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.
Isaiah 40:3 A voice is calling,
"Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth
in the desert a highway for our God.
Zephaniah 1:7 Be silent before the
Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, For the LORD has prepared a
sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests.
NIDNTT writes that in the
Septuagint hetoimazo is used with a religious sense (see
and also ...
the words are used for the
all-embracing divine activity of creation, preparation, and
establishing. (a) God has established the heavens (Pr 3:19; 8:27)
and founded the earth (Jer. 28:15 LXX), founded the earth upon the
rivers (Ps. 24:2), and established the mountains (Ps. 65:6). He prepares
rain (Ps 147:8; cf. Job 38:25)...He provides food for his creatures (Ps
65:9; 78:20; Job 38:41), and concerns himself with their destiny (Ge
24:14, 44). (b) God’s creation and providence extends also to His acts
of salvation in history. He has established Israel to be His people
forever (2Sa 7:24), and sworn that He will bring them into a land
appointed for them (Ex 23:20; Ezek 20:6). Therefore, He creates food for
them (Ps 78:19, 20), and despite their recurring unbelief and all their
enemies, leads them into the sanctuary that His own hands have prepared
(Ex 15:17). Moreover, He sets up the kings of Israel and establishes
their rule. If Saul had been obedient, the Lord would have established
His kingdom forever (1Sa 13:13), whereas David, who is appointed by Him,
is given the promise, “I will establish your descendants for ever” (Ps.
89:4; cf. 2Sa 7:12; 1Chr 14:2; 17:11; 1Ki 2:24). (c) God does all this
because His faithfulness is established in the heavens (Ps. 89:2). There
He has set up His throne from the beginning (Ps 103:19)...He has
established it for judgment (Ps 9:7), and for the judgment day He has
prepared a sacrifice (Zeph 1:7; cf. Isa 30:33; 14:21). 3. The
all-embracing work of God in creating and providing for His people does,
however, demand self-preparation and readiness on man’s part....In the
prophets Israel is challenged: “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12; cf
2Chr 27:6). This involves also the preparation of the heart: Pr 23:12).
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
for every good work specifies how useful the vessel is to the
Master in that it is fit for every type of service. Such a "vessel"
willing and able!
Does that describe your daily
walk with Christ? It should for otherwise how will you be prepared to
even recognize those "good works" which God prepared beforehand that you
should walk in them
(cp Ep 2:10-note)?
Prepared in 2Timothy 2:21 is in
means that this man (or woman) has been made
ready (at some point of time in the past) and remains in a condition of readiness.
Such a person has been put in
readiness (like the Minute Men
militia - mostly farmers, these men were ready to engage in active
combat of the enemy in a "minute's" notice!
Are you one of God's
prepared "Minute Men''?) This man
or woman is one who will be ready at all times
to be used in whatever way the Master might dictate. And remember that
inherent in this readiness is the idea
of willingness and eagerness, the antithesis of grumbling! Do you
grumble when the Master calls you to action?
Here the use of the
could point back to our salvation at which time we received all of Jesus that we will
ever receive...we were made complete in Him (Col 2:10-note) and
were given the empowering
presence of His Spirit (Ro 8:9-note,
1Co 12:13). It is also possible the perfect tense in this passage could point back to the moment when
we made the choice to cleanse ourselves (cp similar idea in "presenting"
one's body to God as a living and holy sacrifice [Ro 12:1-note],
for "sacrifices" were required to be clean in order to be acceptable and
pleasing to a thrice holy God!)
The word of God makes the ''vessel adequate".
How? Teaching, Reproof, Correction,
and Training in Righteousness (2Ti 3:16, 17-note) are all a form of
"cleansing". We are set
apart or sanctified by truth (the first time [past tense salvation-see
Three Tenses of Salvation] and then
every day for the rest of our life on earth [present tense salvation =
"progressive sanctification"]). In fact this sanctification (past and
present) was prayed for by our Lord in His high priestly prayer just
before He went to the Cross...
imperative = a prayer
asking for this to be accomplished effectively! A prayer for disciples to
be set apart from the profane and common and unto the pure and holy) them in the
truth" (Jn 17:17)
Comment: Holiness (cp growth in
the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 2Pe 3:18-note) comes
about or is effected ("energized" if you will) by the steady
intake of the the "bread of life" (Mt 4:4), the Word of Truth. The
corollary principle is vitally important for the modern church to recall
and reclaim...If there is
(or limited ~ "One Minute Bible" type) intake of God's Truth and
accompanying Spirit enabled obedience to that Truth, there can be
no growth in grace
and holiness, no growth in Christ-likeness. This principle is reiterated
by Peter in 1Pe 2:2-note,
but do not overlook the preceding context, 1Peter 2:1-note.
One has to discard Peter's "laundry list" of "dirty spiritual
clothes", if one is to have a healthy appetite for the Word of Truth. The
corollary is if you or someone you know says "I just don't seem to want to
get into the Word anymore. It seems dull to me.", then 1Peter 2:1-note
provides an excellent "check list" with which a believer can perform
"personal inventory". If we have malice, etc, then it behooves us to
confess our sin to God and seek His gift of repentance (cp Ro 2:4-note),
so that our "appetite" for His holy Word might be restored and we might
again long for it like we did when we were first saved, like a newborn
baby does for pure milk!
Beloved, you can "mark it down" as an immutable principle - There is
simply no other way to grow in respect to salvation. No shortcuts to
holiness and becoming a vessel set apart by the Master for every good
The parallel idea is seen in
where Paul describes the cleansing role of the Word on the Church:
He (Jesus) might
sanctify her having
cleansed (katharizo) her by
water with the
As we behold "the glory of the Lord" in His
Spirit illuminated Word of Truth and Life, we are
tense = speaks of a
lifelong process ~ progressive sanctification) into His likeness with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit. (NIV translation
Word of God is
used by the Spirit of God to set us apart and conform us to the image of
our Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 8:29-note).
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what
we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him,
because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope
fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1Jn
Remember that what is pure and set apart for special use
can easily get contaminated and be rendered unusable through contact with the corrupt and profane. Paul was
concerned that Timothy, his choice disciple, keep himself in a usable
condition for the Lord and separated from evil. (see 1Cor 15:33, 2Th
3:5, 6, 7, 8ff].
Good work (Click
here for in depth analysis of
Good Deeds) are an important theme
throughout the Pastoral Epistles
Steven Cole sums up this
verse writing that...
Prepared has the idea of being
willing and ready. The cleansed vessel is waiting for the Master to pull
it off the shelf and put it to honorable use. Dirty vessels are not
ready to be used.
Have you ever been angry when suddenly you have an opportunity to bear
witness for Christ? You weren’t prepared, were you? Or have you
ever been grumbling about something when you encountered a brother or
sister who needed a word of encouragement? You probably didn’t even
notice the need, let alone respond appropriately. But if you are
cleansed, you’re ready to serve the Lord in any good work that He sets
before you. Thus Paul’s point (2Ti 2:20, 21) is that God uses cleansed
people. (Bolding added)
Every good work - That is every "God work", every work initiated by
and energized by His Spirit (then we can take no credit for the work and
have no reason for pride but only reason for praise and
Barnes writes that
A Christian should be always ready to
do good as far as he is able. He should not need to be urged, or
coaxed, or persuaded, but should be so ready always to do good that he
will count it a privilege to have the opportunity to do it.
reminds us that
Spiritual privileges do not make void
or weaken, but confirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings
are not enough without good works.