"If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and fit for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (emphasis mine).If we as Christians want to be used by God, we must purge, or cleanse, ourselves from "these". If we don't, we will be a "vessel for dishonor". What is "these" referring to?
Many people want to be used by God, set apart for Him, and useful to Him. Some people pay a lot of money to go to supernatural schools of ministry to learn how to be "used by God". Ironically, many of these schools of ministry are run by false teachers who are teaching unbiblical ideas that may look good, and "these" are exactly what God wants us to purge or cleanse ourselves of in order to be useful to Him!!!
Let's go back to what "these" means. God tells us in scripture that in order to be useful to Him, we must do something: we must "purge ourselves from these".
In order to find out what it is we as Christians are to cleanse ourselves from, let's look at the chapter in context. Earlier in the chapter, in verse 17, the Holy Spirit referred to Hymenaeus and Philetus. These guys were heretics. They were teaching false things. They were not "rightly dividing the word of truth". That's what many teachers do today. These two false teachers were ruining the Christians they were teaching their "babblings" to. The Apostle Paul called these "babblings" or false teachings cancerous. They spread like crazy and hurt many Christians. Their teaching was a twist on the resurrection. They were not teaching the right thing about it. The false teachings they taught tended to prevail at Corinth. Many teachers today teach the wrong thing about Jesus and who he is (his deity, etc). Paul called them out by name.
I started to wonder more about what it means to be a vessel of honor. I see that many people want to do great things or miracles for the Lord, seeking to be a useful vessel for Him. All the while, they are falling into a trap and are living with the pollution of false teachings instead of purging themselves from such teachers/teachings. We are commanded in scripture to "mark and avoid" false teachers (Romans 16:17), yet how often do we see Christians flocking to them or being casual about fellowship with them and reading their books?
I own a Bible commentary from 1935. Here is what it says...
"In the visible Church there would be some hearts of gold incapable of being seduced, but there would also be some of less precious material liable to be led away by the heterodox teachers; if the latter purged themselves from their false teachers by rejecting their doctrine and ministry, they too would become vessels unto honor."
What about you? Are you a vessel unto honor or dishonor? An approved or disapproved worker? God has always approved rejection of heresy and its teachers.