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We Have This Treasure… (2 Cor. 4:6-7)

“Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your Law.” (Ps. 119:18).

“WONDERFUL THING” IN THIS PASSAGE – You and I have a treasure within us of greater value than we can comprehend. We often focus on what we lack: our shortages, our deprivations, our deficiencies.  But so dazzling is the glory of this treasure that, when we focus our eyes on it, we are scarcely aware of our insufficiencies.

In Colossians, Paul calls this “the glorious wealth of this mystery” which was “hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.”  This mysterious treasure is this: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”1 In today’s chapter (2 Corinthians 4), He gives more detail:

“God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)

The God who set ablaze the sun, stars, and galaxies “has shone in our hearts.” The light of His presence has pierced the darkness of our souls. And what do we see with our newly opened eyes? Nothing less than “the face of Jesus Christ” glowing with “God’s glory.” Christianity is not about understanding spiritual truths or obeying moral laws. It is, first and last, about developing an intimate, eternal relationship with the exalted Jesus. That is the treasure within us.

There is, however, a however:

“Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.” (2 Cor. 4:7)

Clay jars – more literally clay containers – were plentiful in every household in the first century. They were the cardboard boxes, paper envelopes, and plastic sacks of the time: cheap, plain, easily damaged, and disposed of at the end of their short useful life. Nothing you would store a treasure in. But such we are – not just our bodies, but our abilities and our personalities – clay jars. Yet God has chosen to store the radiant life of His Son in us.

He has a point in this arrangement: that it would be clear that the “extraordinary power” of changing us from clay jars to treasure chests came “from God and not from us.”

 

“WONDERFUL THING” IN MY LIFE – We spend lots of time and money dressing up our clay jars. We paint them and decorate them so that none of the clay will show. We try to convince ourselves and others how valuable, substantial, and important these containers are.

But God’s just looking for clay jars. It’s not the container but the content He’s interested in. Here’s all He wants us to do: Open the lid, and let Jesus shine out. Let the life of Jesus within you be seen. Live for and with Jesus in plain sight. A clay jar becomes a treasure chest not by embellishing the outside but by revealing the treasure within.


1 Col. 1:26-27.

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