“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:20-21).
The great house here is the Church, and the vessels involved are ministers. Faithful ministers are vessels of gold and silver, and the false teachers (in the Church) are the chamber pots and kitchen pails with potato parings in them. One vessel is on the mantelpiece and it belongs there. Another is in the mudroom. Every great house has receptacles for refuse. A man set aside and ordained for ministry ought to want to be an honorable vessel and not a dishonorable one. One way for a man to “cleanse himself” is to repent of false doctrine, and Hymenaeus and Philetus mentioned in the previous verses needed to do. Another way for a man to cleanse himself is for an orthodox minister to cleanse himself of the carping sin of envy. There were men in Paul’s life who preached the true gospel, but they did it with malevolent motives, wanting to increase Paul’s troubles (Phil. 1:15). The minister cleanses himself from that which is dishonorable, and this means that he becomes useful to the master of the house (who is obviously the Lord), and he is ready for every good work. His holiness makes him useful. In recent years it has become popular to think that holiness in ministers is a kind of crippling disease, something that keeps them from being able to relate to the world with adequate coolness. But the phrase is “set apart as holy,” not “set apart as cool.”