“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21)
There are several metaphors used by the New Testament writers to help us understand aspects of God’s Kingdom. “Fowls” make a home in the mustard seed “tree” (Matthew 13:31-32). “Tares” grow up with the “wheat” (Matthew 13:25). A “house” represents the church of God (1 Timothy 3:15), in which are both honorable and dishonorable “vessels” (2 Timothy 2:20).
The first step in becoming an honorable vessel is to “purge” oneself from that which is dishonorable. The Greek term ekkathairo and its derivatives all are connected to active cleansing from falsehoods and defilements, as well as separation from those who tolerate ungodliness. “Purge out therefore the old leaven,” Paul insists, “that ye may be a new lump” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Those who are the twice-born are to “possess” their “vessel” in honor (1 Thessalonians 4:4). Some, like Paul, are “chosen vessels” (Acts 9:15).
All who would seek “honorable” service must be sanctified (set apart) for the Master’s use. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). An honorable vessel must be prepared (ready) for good works.
Honorable and effective service in the house of God requires that such vessels must be willing to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15). There is no greater honor than being counted “sanctified, and meet for the master’s use.” HMM III
Vessels of Honor