By George Feldman
In I Corinthians 3 we have the picture of different kinds of houses built on the one foundation. Builders used such materials as gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay and stubble. All these refer to man's works, of what kind they are. And a day of testing is to come. Some workmen will be approved, some disapproved.
Now here in 2 Timothy 2:20 we are to look inside the house that was built. This is a great house, so It must e one of the better ones, one that was approved. And in this house are found vessels. They are of gold, silver, wood and earth. Some are to honor, and some to dishonor. Note the comparison with approved and disapproved above.
In the great house are vessels that are used by the servants, just common vessels. And there are vessels that are used by the master, gold and silver vessels. The implication in the figure is that a vessel may purge itself so that it may be meet for the master's use.
The context has a great deal to do with the meaning of this parable, if it may be called one. In verse 19 is mentioned a foundation (as we have in I Cor. 3). And there is a sea] mentioned. On the one side of this seal is the declaration that the Lord knew them that were His (see Num. 16:5). On the other side, let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity (compare this with Isa. 52:1 1). Also in the context is the fact that some have erred in the matter of resurrection.
So if one purges himself from these things, he may be a vessel meet for the master's use.
The word vessel is used a few times in reference to the human body or the person. Paul was a chosen vessel (Acts 9:15). There are also vessels of wrath, or fitted for wrath (Rom. 9:22).
At a second glance, we might guess that it could be possible that a golden vessel might beto dishonor, and it might be that a wooden vessel could be to honor. It is not the material that counts, but the purging, the cleaning. Then the man is ready for every good work, or as in another place, thoroughly furnished.
So then the lesson we get from these is that care should be taken to build upon the right foundation, the materials carefully selected and fitted, and the vessels inside purged for the master's use.