What does that “jars of clay” verse mean?

No, not the band.  Paul writes to the Corinthians,

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. – 2 Corinthians 4:7

This treasure that he’s talking about is the gospel of Jesus, that all men are sinners and deserve God’s eternal punishment, but Jesus took that punishment on Himself on the cross, purchasing salvation for anyone who believes.  That indeed is a treasure, the best treasure anyone could have. 

This treasure, says Paul, we have in jars of clay.  Here, he likens Christians, including the Apostles, to clay jars, your common household vessel.  It wasn’t an unusual practice for someone to keep their valuables in such jars.  But the jars themselves were common, fragile, weak, worthless compared to what they contained.  Such were Paul, the rest of the Apostles, and every Christian. 

When we preach the gospel, it is showing forth the treasure that we have in us.  It’s not about showing off the jar of the clay.  It’s all about the beauty of the gospel.  

And that takes some pressure off of us, as well.  Why?  Well, according to this verse, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  It was God’s design that His powerful gospel would be communicated through common jars like us.  

Therefore, we don’t need to resort to disgraceful, underhanded ways, or practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word (v2).  We don’t need to make the gospel more clever or palatable.  It’s a foolish gospel preached from common people, and when people are saved by it, all glory goes to Christ the King.  So, be happy being common.  The power belongs to God. 


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