Treasure in Jars of Clay

God placed the treasure of the Gospel within jars of clay – weak, flawed, sinful human beings – “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” If this treasure were dispensed from something that was itself strong and powerful, then as enlightenment was received some of the credit might go to the treasure’s vessel, rather than to the treasure itself. The metaphor in this portion of Scripture depicts the relationship between mankind and the Means of Grace in God’s plan of salvation. The Gospel is the treasure. It is what has value. It is what has power. Man is but the vessel in which the Gospel is carried. And yet, while St. Paul puts man in his proper place he also makes it clear – man does have a role in God’s saving work. It is not bare treasure, but treasure in jars of clay. Man’s role in God’s plan of salvation is not an insignificant one. Indeed, mankind plays so vital a role in God’s plan of salvation that Lutheran theologians have referred to man’s role as the ministerial cause of salvation.

Rev. Jonathan Hein

Jonathan Hein serves at Beautiful Savior Lutheran in Summerville, SC. He serves WELS as the chairman of the Commission on Congregational Counseling and serves his district as the chairman of the South Atlantic District Mission Board.

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