Treasure in Earthen Vessel

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With this piece, I join the blogosphere. There are now more websites than people on earth. For yet another one, an explanation is due. It is hoped that this blog will be a commentary on a wide spectrum of issues. But it will be defined by clear-cut boundaries.

First, I will primarily draw my thoughts from the Scriptures.The conviction that, I hope, will define every piece of this blog is Sola Scriptura – that the Scriptures are the Word of God, and the only Word of God now. Not dreams or visions; not popular opinions or dramatic experiences; and certainly, I reject vox populi, vox Dei. I avow with full confidence the Confession:

The holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience. The scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God. 1

A substantial part of my commentary will therefore be exegetical and expository. This is the essential task of the virtue of honesty to the text of the Word of God. I will not twist the text just to have a charming aphorism. The text, as the author intended it to mean, shall always be supreme. But because I believe in the perennial freshness of the Word of God, the meaning of the text in its time will always have a meaning that is timeless and an application that will be timely. I am committed to engage the text in its historical meaning, as well as engage the readers in their relevant context.

Secondarily, I will draw from the rich reservoir of history.Specially so of Christian history. It is enriched by councils and confessions; controversies and disputes; Christian men and women in their profound wisdom and egregious follies; Reformers and heretics; persecution and martyrdom; visionaries and missionaries. To ignore these is to be impoverished in thought. Indeed, if we are sensitive to the lesson of providence, we can see in history the pattern of the gospel. As Michael Horton puts it:

The Christian who is alert to God’s clues in history knows that the pattern is always bad news followed by good news. The Gospel always has the last word over sin, death, and temptation – whether it be the believer’s individually or the church’s generally. It was, after all, into a world fallen as a result of the will to power that our race heard the surprising announcement of saving grace: The seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. He who beguiled the royal couple into seeking their own autonomy would himself be destroyed. And just as the world was looking upon the disfigured body of the crucified Messiah in disgust and mockery, God was acting for the salvation of his enemies.

Finally, I can only draw from my own thoughts and experience– and it will always be with limitation and infirmity. This is not to detract from the greatness of the message; but to admit the frailty of the messenger. Apostle Paul puts it best: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (2 Cor 4:7). Having referred to the unsurpassed New Covenant glory in the previous section, Paul is humbled by his calling as one of its ministers (2 Cor 3:6). He combines these two thoughts – calling the New Covenant message as treasure, though he as its messenger is but an earthen vessel. 2

The same consciousness will pervade every commentary in this space. I will seek to spell out the treasure of the truth of the New Covenant. It will sometimes sound positively assertive without being arrogant; confident without being contemptuous; challenging but not defying. But because the treasure is in earthen vessel, it will always be subject to correction and criticism, and open to dialogue and exchange – for that is the way to growth and maturation.

Every piece in this blog will consciously seek after the truth of the Scripture. It may not sit well with the current version of political correctness and orthodoxy. In this, it is merely extending the mission of the church on earth – a mission depicted by Paul as to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:5). C.S. Lewis makes an excellent analogy in his Mere Christianity:

Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. 3


  1. Westminster Larger Catechism # 3-4
  2. Michael Horton, We Believe: Recovering the Essentials of the Apostles’ Creed (Word Publishing): 4
  3. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; cited from A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from his Classic Works: 78

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