"Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:20-22)When we get "saved" was become alive in the spirit, loved by the Father, translated into the Kingdom of Light, and filled with His gifts and callings according to His own purpose and selection. So why do some Christians prove themselves to be more fruitful in their new life in Christ while others seem to resemble the fruitless fig tree which Jesus happened upon as he was entering Jerusalem that one fateful day? Why do some people seem to grow in their faith unto maturity while others remain in perpetual childhood, never growing up?
Paul likens the Kingdom of God to a large house. Just as there are many different kinds of vessels, each for their own use, and many different kinds of domestics, each with their own job to perform, so there are many differing members in the Kingdom of God, each fit for their own use. However, while the purpose of a vessel is often determined by its making and design, our usefulness in the household of God is greatly determined by our own participation in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Paul tells us to, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13) Which tells us that there is still yet a part of our salvation that has yet to be completed, a part that requires our participation.. As believers, we have a salvation that is past. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) There is also a salvation that is yet to come. "And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:23) However, there is a present salvation of which we are an active part. "Obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:9) Our salvation is in three parts: the past salvation of our spirit, the future salvation of our bodies, and the present salvation of our souls.
It is into this present salvation of our souls that Peter says we must grow and mature. "Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord." (1 Peter 2:1-3) However, this is not a salvation of knowledge but rather a salvation of obedience and imitation. "Flee youthful lusts" is our charge and the way of salvation for our souls. "Pursue righteousness" is to be the new course of our life; the positive result of our repentance from our sin and our old way of living. And finally, "Therefore" is our promise; the promise of Christlikeness.
Some, content with their former salvation, will remain idle while they await the final salvation of their bodies. However, others will take to heart Peter's admonition to "grow in respect to salvation." that the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit might have full reign in their souls and that they may be conformed to the image of the one who saved them. Now is the time for action, now is the time for obedience, and now is the time to partner with God in the salvation our souls.