THE TREASURE AND THE EARTHEN VESSEL
Paul’s word in 2 Corinthians 4:7 matches the teaching here. I have often thought that Paul painted a wonderful picture in that chapter. He compared himself to an earthen vessel, one made of clay. He compared the power of resurrection within him to a treasure. This is like the precious ointment in the alabaster box. He knew very well that he himself was just an earthen vessel. But the treasure within him constituted the excellency of power. There is a vast difference between these two things. Paul said that this resurrection power is a treasure and that it is a surpassingly great power. This is truly the word of an honest man; he said it like it was—“the excellency of the power.” Following this he said that he was pressed on every side, but that he was not constricted because of the efficacy of the treasure. In himself he could not find a way out, but with the treasure he was not utterly without a way out. In himself he was persecuted, but with the treasure he was not abandoned. In himself he was cast down, but with the treasure he was not destroyed. As far as he was concerned, he was pressed on every side. But as far as the treasure was concerned, he was not constricted. On the one hand, there is death, but on the other hand, there is life. On the one hand, we have a constant deliverance to death, but on the other hand, we have the producing of life. Death operates on the one hand, and life is manifested on the other hand. Second Corinthians 4 and 5 unfold the center of Paul’s ministry. Here we find the principle of death and resurrection and nothing else. Everything in us is death, and everything in the Lord is resurrection.
AUTHORITY BEING WHERE RESURRECTION IS
If there is any authority in us, this authority comes from God, not from us. We should never be mistaken. We should see clearly that all authority comes from the Lord. We are here on earth merely to maintain His authority; we are not here to maintain our own authority. Authority does not belong to us. Whenever we trust in the Lord, we see authority. Whenever we express the natural life, we become the same as everyone else, and there is no authority in us whatsoever. Only that which issues from resurrection results in authority. Authority is based on resurrection, not on ourselves. No ordinary rod can be placed before God. Only a rod of resurrection can be placed before Him. Furthermore, resurrection is found in the budding rod. It is not a general resurrection but a full resurrection. It is not just a faint expression of the resurrection life but a life that has budded, blossomed, and brought forth fruit. This is resurrection life in maturity. Only one matured in resurrection life can act as God’s deputy authority. The more resurrection life is expressed through us, the more authority we will have.
(Authority and Submission, Chapter 15, by Watchman Nee)