Treasure in Earthen Vessels

II Corinthians 4:7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

What does “Treasure in Earthen Vessels” mean from this verse?  Does it mean our bodies?  Is it our personalities?  Is it our minds?  Our hearts?  We’ll find out.


For further research, please see the chart in this post entitled “Formed, Made, and Created

In the beginning, God formed, made, and created mankind.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground……

Genesis 3:19 – In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

In the book of Genesis, God put FORMED man based on already available carbon-based resources on earth. This is also why our bodies return to the earth after we die.

The human body is much like a “CLAY POT” – made from elements of the dust and a vessel able to hold valuable contents.  The clay pot is a great illustration of the human body for this reason.  We will look more at this later in the teaching.

treasure in earthen vessels

Let’s read the rest of Genesis 2:7

Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

God MADE Man a “living soul” with breath life.  Before this time he was not a living soul, but just a formed body.  It is likely that this “formed” and “made” process with body and soul happened quickly, or even immediately but the Bible does not say.

The life of the flesh is on the blood – Our breathing air gives our blood it’s life.  Our soul life begins with our first breath and ends with our last one.

God then Created spirit in man:

The Bible states that God is Spirit.  This is important to know as we look at the creation of spirit within man:

John 4:24God is a Spirit [should read “God is Spirit” or “God is the Spirit” as he is omnipotent and not to be compared to the lesser spirits] and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. 

If God is Spirit, then the creation within man must also be spirit.  This is what Genesis 1:27 is referring to:

Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, [Holy Spirit] in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

God can only give that which he is, Holy Spirit.  When God completed the “formed, made, created” process by empowering Adam with this spiritual state, man was now complete.  There was nothing lacking at all.  [except for a wife, which God provided in Genesis 2:21-24]

-God CREATED Man when He gave him holy spirit within.

So what is the treasure in earthen vessels?

A man or woman is not COMPLETE until they are born again.

1 Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The “Treasure” is the gift of holy spirit!

Ephesians 3:16 – That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.

The INNER MAN is that treasure, which is incorruptible seed and eternal life!

Ephesians 4:24 – And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

We put on the new (spiritual) man, confess our victory in God and His Word!

Colossians 1:25-27 – Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation [administration] of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The mystery which was hid from the ages (and which was revealed on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2) was that once a person becomes born again it is “Christ in YOU” the hope of glory!

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 – For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

God said “let there be light” in Genesis and there was light!  This is our God that has given us this treasure within!

Romans 10:4 – For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

-Exodus 34:27-35 Contrasts the Law of Moses to the Grace Administration in which we now live.  The law administration ended with Jesus Christ, and the Grace administration began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) where Holy Spirit was first given by God.

The Law administration no longer applies to us in the current Grace administration.  The baptism of John has been superseded by the baptism of holy spirit in Romans 10:9-10.

Acts 2:1-4 – And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, [holy spirit] and began to speak with other tongues, as The Spirit [God] gave them utterance.

They were born again and spake in tongues for the first time.  What a wonderful day!

-2 Corinthians 4:1 says that we are able ministers of this New Testament knowledge and power!

-Matthew 5:14 says we are the light of the world!   We are to let our light shine before men!

II Corinthians 4:7 – But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Our treasure is that holy spirit within our “earthen vessels” and our power is from God!

He has made us able ministers of this Grace administration!

God Bless You!

From a  July 2007 Teaching
[brackets indicate my comments]
Image Courtesy OSU Commons