PART 1: THE PEARL, CONT.
THE PERFECTION OF CHRIST’S WAY OF SALVATION
Gold, silver, and precious stones are very interesting items to study. In their common uses as jewelry they have very little utility. Ideally, they bring joy by looking upon them and a demonstration of status by showing them off. But they do not perform any great work for their owners in this life and certainly not the life to come. However, the one pearl that the merchant finds is worthy of selling all to gain it, for it does not lack any value and utility. It is not merely for show but it also gives something. To have this pearl is to have benefits from this particular pearl. So to have Christ, to be in Christ, is to have the benefits of Christ. Christ is not separate from his benefits. To have Christ is to have all His benefits. What is it about His benefits that we should so desire?
Like with Christ’s origin and attributes, we find again that Christ’s Word and Benefits are also perfect. Unlike the Old Testament prophets and even the angels and John the Baptist, God’s Word tells us that Jesus Christ is the perfect prophet revealing to us His Word (Heb. 1:2); Jesus Christ is the perfect priest and sacrifice, holy, harmless, and undefiled (Hebrews 7:24 – 8:2); and the perfect King who subdues all enemies and conquers death even with His own death on the cross as evidenced in all of the gospels. The Lord Jesus Christ is perfect in all of His works. And that which flows from Him, even His benefits, they also are perfect.
We could spend significant time and ink considering the perfect inheritance he has given (I Peter 1:4); the perfect redemption He has accomplished for us (Col 1:13-14,22); the riches, value, and treasure of redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7); the perfect benefits flowing from Christ who unites us to Himself in our effectual calling, namely justification, adoption, sanctification and those accompanying benefits, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, Increase of Grace, and Perseverance to the End. These are almost too great to consider together in one paragraph! We may cry out with Paul, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.”
Jesus is the perfect way of salvation and the perfect way to these benefits. They flow from Him. There is no life, no justification, no sanctification, no nothing apart from Him. How much the Lord emphasizes this by referring to Himself even in this way, “I am the door…by me if any man enter in he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.”
The merchants of the Earth sell their many pearls and buy their pearls and have nothing to show for it. They do not chase after the one perfect pearl; they chase after the many fleeting pearls. It is a sad thing and the subject of another study entirely, that the book of Revelation has been so poorly abused by well-meaning men of the past 150 years. Instead of the seeing the riches of the mystery and glory of God who defeats His enemies, of Christ who destroys all evil, of Christ who is reigning even now and will be reigning forever more, many see mystery, confusion, and strange prophecies. But if we put the confusion aside for a few moments, and if we come toward the end of the book, we can see something profound about the merchants of the world.
As the final book of Scripture draws towards a triumphant close, we read of the end of the world in chapter 18. And we find in verse 11 that there are merchants in the world at the hour of judgment, but they are not merchants in the Kingdom of Heaven. As the world is ending, the merchants of the world are weeping and mourning over her destruction. Why? Because no men will buy their merchandise any more. They have gold, silver, precious stones, and verse 12 tells us, they have pearls! All mannerof merchant materials are present: sweet spices, fine linens, foods, precious metals. As these merchants gaze upon the place that made them rich with the things of the world, they will stand afar off saying…
“Alas Alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to naught. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, what city is like unto this great city!…Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made desolate.”
In but one hour, merely a moment in time, the merchants of the world with their worldly, imperfect, destitute pearls will lose all they worked for, all they longed for, the hope of their well-being, the sustenance of their joy, the pleasure of their souls. It will vanish away and they with it. They have a pearl like many other pearls, of very little value, of no true benefit, that performs no great works, nor provides any eternal reward.
But my friends, he who has the one pearl of great price has salvation! He who has Jesus Christ as His Lord and as His Savior, he who has been born again of the Spirit, he who has been given the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and who has tasted and seen that the Lord is good, has everything! He who has Christ has eternal life! He who has Christ Jesus has the Father also. He who has Christ has that which is perfect. He who has Christ has greater wisdom and riches than the wise and wealthy men of this world.
With Christ Jesus who is the one pearl of great price; with Christ who is the way, the truth and the life; with Christ Jesus who said, “I am the door”; is it any wonder that when John sees the vision of heaven in Revelation 21 that he sees the walls, the streets, the foundations of precious metals and rubies and then in 21:21, he sees the twelve gates which are made of…pearl! Even the world is familiar with this concept of the pearly gates of Heaven. Why the one pearl for the door? Well, Christ is the door. Life eternal in the heavenly city is through Him and only through Him. And Christ is the one pearl of great price!
Do you see the sin and misery that is Rome and every other false religion? Jesus Christ is the one perfect pearl. He is sufficient. Rome takes Christ and says, “He is good, but you need more. You need other pearls which you can work for and receive.” The one perfect way of salvation, the only way, the only hope for lost and dying men, and Rome says…not so fast. The work He said is finished, Rome says, it is still being done in the mass and by your works. The once and for all sacrifice is the once started and forever continuing sacrifice of Rome. The only mediator between God and man is more like the first of many mediators between God and man in Rome. The one pearl of great price in Matthew is to Rome the one of many pearls of good price. The perfect pearl of Matthew is the blemished, dull, distorted pearl of Rome. Those in the Kingdom of Heaven know nothing of Rome’s pearls and will not have such bondage, lies, and destruction. Jesus Christ is the one perfect way of salvation!
My friends, have you seen the perfection of this pearl in Matthew 13:46? Have you tasted of the perfection of Jesus Christ today? Will you, like Pharaoh, harden your heart at these sayings? Or will you, like Paul, “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Phil. 3:8).”
If Christ is in you (Col 1:27) you have all things! Press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ, and you shall greet with joy the great day of the Lord, when with your eyes you will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and glory. My friends, by any means possible, attain to the resurrection of the dead. And here is the means – Christ Jesus and Him crucified!
Ben Stahl, Elder